On 18th July, about 47 members paid a visit to the new International Bomber Command Centre, on a hilltop overlooking the city of Lincoln, and with views of the Cathedral which had been a landmark during WWll for bombers returning from raids over Germany, to the many Lincolnshire airfields.
We were split into two groups and assigned a guide who took us all around the grounds that form a Memorial Park, planted with a tree to commemorate every Lincolnshire airfield at which bomber squadrons had been based, and dominated by the ‘spire’ (the height is that of a Lancaster wingspan), together with the steel memorial plaques naming almost 58,000 airmen from the UK, Commonwealth, the Americas and other countries, who died on active service with this branch of the RAF. At 31.09 metres high, this is the tallest war memorial in the UK. A Ribbon of remembrance is also being laid along the walk to the spire.
A Dakota from the Battle of Britain flight circled us three times to add to the sense of occasion, it was almost as though Brian Ward had arranged it.
The Chadwick Centre exhibition building – the roof is curved along the lines of a Lancaster wing – houses an interactive museum showing poignant stories of what the war entailed for the men and women who joined Bomber Command, and how it functioned; the Home Front is also remembered. A large café in the building was frequented by all members to take refreshments and lunches.
When we came out to rejoin the coach, the local Austin Car Enthusiasts club were having a meet in the drive of the IBCC, some were in remarkable condition, there were a number of Austin Sevens in various formats and other Austins too.
After lunch we moved on to the local Wickenby Airfield, which had been home to 12 and 626 squadrons, and which is now home to a small, volunteer run Memorial Collection in the old control tower, as well as being still an active airfield. Our group of members also welcomed members of Market Rasen Retired Forces Veterans Association.
Many Thanks to Brian for a special outing.