Remembering the men of Bomber Command

Bomber Command Memorial is unveiled at Beachy Head.
Bomber Command Memorial is unveiled at Beachy Head.

A MEMORIAL to remember the thousands of men who died serving with Bomber Command during the Second World War was officially unveiled at Beachy Head on Sunday, July 8.

Some 110,000 men served with Bomber Command and 55,573 airmen died in the conflict. The magnificent cliffs of Beachy Head was their last sight of England before they flew to attack Germany.

Joe Williams was one of the survivors and he has worked hard with the support of the Bomber Commander Tribute Beachy Head Committee to get the memorial installed.

The Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex, Peter Field, unveiled the fine granite memorial, following an introductory speech by Joe Williams. Some 300 people gathered to observe the event.

A dedication service was carried out by The Reverend Canon Martin Onions. A wreath was laid by Air Marshall Philip Sturley, CB, MBE, RAF Ret. followed by the sounding of the Last Post by Alan Cooper, a Bomber Command historian.

After a period of silence the Reveille was sounded, followed by a blessing, made by Canon Onions. Also present were Stephen Lloyd, MP for Eastbourne and Willingdon and The Leader of Eastbourne Council, Cllr David Tutt.

During the ceremony the standards of local RAF Associations and Air Training Corps squadrons were displayed. Further members of the Air Training Corps squadrons also paraded in attendance.

Following the service, and for the rest of the afternoon, members of the public laid personal tributes.

Nic Lewis, committee member, said: “It is clear that this memorial will be a very popular place for those who wish to remember the boys of Bomber Command to come and show respects. It will also be a focal point for the casual walkers on the South Downs way.

“This is the only ‘operationally relevant’ memorial to Bomber Command in the UK. We are proud to have it placed on Beachy Head.”