In memoriam - 22 June 1943 - three of the 55,000
Only my father - first left in the photo above, survived WWII. The other members of his regular crew, including three others not pictured here were shot down and killed the night after my father was shot down having answered a call for a bomb aimer for another crew on an earlier mission.
My father wore this proudly on his uniform
I have been watching the unveiling of the Bomber Command Memorial in Green Park, London live on Sky news and BBC News Channel but sadly BBC ONE chose to show repeats of Cash in The Attic, although it will broadcast a recording later this afternoon at 5pm on BBC TWO. By the way, the Sky News coverage was far better - especially the way it ended with a brilliant aerial view encompassing Buckingham Palace, Green Park and the Memorial to its right and a glimpse of the RAF Club in Piccadilly which HM the Queen had entered for lunch. All this to the rousing music of the RAF March, with the commentator's concluding words paying a respectful tribute. BBC just cut straight from a crowd scene back to the newsroom.
The rows of elderly veteran air-crew were moving to look at. Hard to remember that they were once those brave young men who faced only a 50/50 chance of survival every time they went out into those dark skies. Like these veterans, many were from Commonwealth countries, in my father's crew of seven flying a Halifax, there was had an Australian ( he was the captain), and a Canadian.
I am sad that my father, who died 20 years ago was not here to see this tribute - but sadder still that my mother didn't quite make it having passed away aged 92 years just three months ago. She had followed the appeal in The Daily Telegraph and among her things we found cuttings of newspaper reports about the building of the memorial since the original concept.
If you want to read more of my father's story - see my 2009 blog post about it here.
I know that at least two of my followers' fathers also served in RAF Bomber Command in WWII - I wonder if you also watched the Memorial unveiling ceremony and what you felt about it - and the Memorial itself?
(PS - apologies for the strange 'white out' backgrounds on some of the text. I don't know what I'm doing wrong and can't work out how to correct it - any tips gratefully received.)