Visiting my sister last month, we went to the recently opened International Bomber Command Centre near Lincoln. It has been built 'to acknowledge the efforts, sacrifices and commitment of the men and women, from 62 different nations, who came together in Bomber Command during World War II'. Lincolnshire was home to 27 airfields from which bombing missions were flown, and there were many other stations in the east of England too.
The centre holds interactive educational displays, extensive records, artefacts and the personal testimonies of veterans and is a resource where people can research their family history through the Command records, online or in person. The memorial came about largely through the efforts of one man: a former Lord Lieutenant of Lincolnshire, Tony Worth CVO. It aims to serve as a point of recognition, remembrance and reconciliation for those who served, supported or suffered during the bombing campaigns of WWII.
It is sensitively done, recognising both the sacrifices of those involved and the damage and suffering caused by the bombardment of cities like Dresden.
There are ten acres of landscaped grounds, holding two areas planted as peace gardens. The planting is immature as yet, but it will look good when it has all grown a bit.
The International Peace Garden holds plants from five continents and recognises the contribution of people from 62 nations who served in or supported the Command.
The Lincolnshire Peace Garden has 27 lime trees, one for each of the Lincolnshire airfields. They are planted to simulate the geographical location of each airfield in relation to the others and each has a plaque with the name of the station, the squadrons that flew from there and the number of lives lost.
The memorial panel (top photo) is made of aluminium recovered from a Halifax bomber aircraft.