Bomber Command Memorial
New Zealand Bomber Command Memorial Dedication and Unveiling Ceremony, 1st March 2009, Hall of Memories, Auckland War Memorial Museum. CAF AVM Lintott. (AK09-0093-019)
Some 200 veterans of the RAF’s World War II Bomber Command were joined by almost as many relatives, friends and onlookers to see the New Zealand Bomber Command Association’s memorial to fallen comrades unveiled in the Auckland War Memorial Museum in early March.
The $100,000 memorial designed by Weta Workshop, a freestanding bronze sculpture of a Lancaster crew with a Lancaster coming out of the marble background, was unveiled jointly by the Chief of Air Force, AVM Graham Lintott, and the driving force behind the project, the 85-year-old president of the Bomber Command Association, WGCDR (Rtd.) Bill Simpson, QSO, DFC.
In a short but moving dedication service, the opening prayers and the final blessing were given by the Air Force Chaplain, SQNLDR Anthony Hawes, with a reading being given by a veteran-turned-religious, Rev Brother Jack Ward, a former 75 Squadron navigator.
WGCDR Simpson and his association vice-president, SQNLDR ‘Bunny’ Burrows, welcomed everybody with the Mayor of Auckland, John Banks QSM, saying how appropriate it was that such a memorial should be housed in a museum that was itself a war memorial.
AVM Lintott spoke of the huge contribution New Zealand had made to Bomber Command and the sacrifice – some 6000 had served and of these almost 2000 had given their lives, by far the highest proportion of any country in the Commonwealth. And it should also be remembered that overall Bomber Command had lost more than 55,000 aircrew and that the average age of those men had been just 22. It was fitting that they should be remembered and honoured.
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