Bomber Command Memorial

At the beginning of World War II, British Bomber Command was part of the Royal Air Force and consisted of less than 500 mostly obsolete bombers. The main task of Bomber Command was to accomplish long distance bombings to destroy military targets, intersections and the weapon industry situated mainly in Germany.
 
In 1942, lieutenant general Sir Arthur Harris was appointed commander of Bomber Command. Under his command Bomber Command developed into a powerful organisation and paved the way to victory for the allies. Eventually, the organisation consisted of 125,000 volunteers.
 
The price they had to pay for victory was enormous: 55,573 of the crew members lost their lives, more than 8,000 were injured and almost 10,000 became prisoners of war.
 
Although most of the work force was British, there were also volunteers from Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The Dutch were also part of Bomber Command with Erik Hazelhoff Roelfzema, the ‘Soldier of Orange’, as the most famous one. 
 
Apart from the fact that Dutch volunteers were taking part in operations, citizens were also involved in the flights. The bombing flights often passed through Dutch airspace. Sometimes more than a hundred aircraft passed through the skies at the same time, which did not go unnoticed by the Dutch. When crews had to bail out of damaged aircraft above Dutch territory, most of them were intercepted by the resistance and, if possible, repatriated.
 
Some famous facts about the Bomber Command are the attacks on dams in the region of the Ruhr by the ‘Dam Busters’ and operation ‘Manna’, when food was dropped in the Netherlands. From February until April 1945, the Netherlands were suffering from hunger and help was scarce. In April of that year, the bombers of Bomber Command dropped more than 6,000 tonnes food above the Netherlands.
 
Until today, there was no central monument to commemorate the loss of the many members of Bomber Command that paid the ultimate price for our freedom. The British Heritage Foundation, with Robin Gibb from the BeeGees as their president, the Telegraph Media Group and the British Air Force want to restore this by building a Bomber Command Monument in the heart of London. With this monument, the Dutch volunteers of the Bomber Command will also be honored. The unveiling of the monument by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will take place on June 28 2012.