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Bomber command memorial

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  • CambsNewbieCambsNewbie Posts: 564
    Yes, Dresden was terrible but as Frank has said, it was total war, the like of which I certainly can't imagine.

    And although two wrongs and all that but for anyone interested google Luftwaffe in the Spanish Civil War and the bombing of Rotterdam in 1940. The Dutch were effectively beaten and negotiating their surrender when the Luftwaffe launched raids on the city. No wonder the Dutch hate the Germans.

    The memorial was long long overdue in my opinion. It's disgusting the way these men were treated because what they were ordered to do became morally uncomfortable for us.
  • Tim FarrTim Farr Posts: 665
    There is another sculpture celebrating the bravery and sacrifice of men in Bomber Command; it's at the wartime airfield RAF Lissett a few miles south of Bridlington. Well worth a visit. Google for more info.

    Many years ago I read 'The Greatest People in the World and Other Stories' by 'Flying-Officer X' (nomme de plume of well known author H.E. Bates). First published in 1942, it's stunning - the raw courage and tragedy that was the airwar is brilliantly conveyed.
    T Farr
  • DesB3rdDesB3rd Posts: 285
    Our moral position regarding civilians in total war is a little inconsistent. We have no qualms about destroying the conscript in uniform as long as he continues to fight, yet we wring our hands about the conscript in overalls who continues in work that makes no less ultimate contribution to our enemy’s war making. Both may be ultimately as unwilling, both may be easily replaceable; both might be women or under-age.

    The 19thC convention drafters (upon who we base our war-making rules & morality) had an easy task; they couldn’t foresee a technology that would place civilians able to contribute to a war effort in the firing line; for them if a civilian was in danger then he was under occupation & thus his productive capacity already neutralised.They do seem to have been very much at ease with blockade however; no one bats an eyelid r.e. the ~million central Europeans who died of malnutrition 1916-19, largely trhough Anglo-French naval efforts.
  • I was privileged to be at the ceremony on Thursday with my 91 year old Dad. He flew in Lancasters and Stirlings and was a navigator in the Pathfinders squadron and was one of the lucky ones who came back : though he nearly didn't having been shot up on a mission to drop supplies to the French resistance over Lyon. His bomb aimer held his left arm up in the air for hours on their flight back to stop him bleeding to death. It was 3 or 4 days before the D-Day assault which he still regrets he missed.

    The ceremony itself was superb. Moving, funny, sad, life affirming and healing all at the same time. And as my Dad said to me the memorial was for the families of the brave souls who didn't make it home. He was 21 when he joined up : his mother and baby brother were killed in the Luftwaffe air raids on London so his was a very personal commitment.

    He understood more than anyone the terror they were wreaking beneath them but he was absolutely sure that had they not succeeded in their objectives there would have been German tanks flooding across southern Britain, concentration and extermination camps across the country and the freedoms we take for granted today might never have existed.
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  • el_presidenteel_presidente Posts: 1,963
    I'm pretty sure it wouldn't be a tactic persued by a modern airforce today,there's no need with the technology at our disposal.


    Quite right, now we have unmanned drones to murder the innocent civilians
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  • Cleat EastwoodCleat Eastwood Posts: 7,510
    I was privileged to be at the ceremony on Thursday with my 91 year old Dad. He flew in Lancasters and Stirlings and was a navigator in the Pathfinders squadron and was one of the lucky ones who came back : though he nearly didn't having been shot up on a mission to drop supplies to the French resistance over Lyon. His bomb aimer held his left arm up in the air for hours on their flight back to stop him bleeding to death. It was 3 or 4 days before the D-Day assault which he still regrets he missed.

    The ceremony itself was superb. Moving, funny, sad, life affirming and healing all at the same time. And as my Dad said to me the memorial was for the families of the brave souls who didn't make it home. He was 21 when he joined up : his mother and baby brother were killed in the Luftwaffe air raids on London so his was a very personal commitment.

    He understood more than anyone the terror they were wreaking beneath them but he was absolutely sure that had they not succeeded in their objectives there would have been German tanks flooding across southern Britain, concentration and extermination camps across the country and the freedoms we take for granted today might never have existed.

    91 - thats amazing - i hope you've written some of his experiences down. Its amazing to think how young those guys were.
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  • CambsNewbieCambsNewbie Posts: 564
    Went to Duxford yesterday to go to the Imperial War Museum there. Despite having lived within 45 mins of it for years somehow never managed to get there. Reading this and seeing the Bomber Command memorial made me get off my censored .

    I've always been interested in aircraft and WW2 but seeing the aircraft men in their late teens and early 20s went to war in and died in was both amazing and moving.

    Approaching the American display there is a number of glass panels with aircraft silhouettes engraved on them. Oh that's nice you think. Then you realised each silhouette represents an aircraft shot down or missing. Then you realise each bomber silhouette represents 10 men.. A very simple but moving way of showing the cost of war. Nearly 7,000 silhouettes...

    A great day out in many ways...
  • Frank the tankFrank the tank Posts: 6,806
    I'm pretty sure it wouldn't be a tactic persued by a modern airforce today,there's no need with the technology at our disposal.


    Quite right, now we have unmanned drones to murder the innocent civilians

    Alas, civilians do get killed in war, it's just nowadays hopefully the numbers can be kept to a minimum. Unless of course you're going down the Assad route.
    Tail end Charlie

    The above post may contain traces of sarcasm or/and bullsh*t.
  • jedsterjedster Posts: 2,004
    55000 men of bomber command died - 55 flippin thousand - think on that. Damn right bomber command deserves a memorial.

    That said, I don't think that means that, with hindsight, the last bombing campaigns of WW2 were right. Seems like the consensus among military historians is now that it did little to end the war sooner but cost thousands of air crews lives and of course many more civilians.

    While I don't doubt that Bomber Harris believed that he was shortening the war, there clearly was an element of retribution too, e.g., some famous quotes:

    "The Nazis entered this war under the rather childish delusion that they were going to bomb everyone else, and nobody was going to bomb them. At Rotterdam, London, Warsaw, and half a hundred other places, they put their rather naive theory into operation. They sowed the wind, and now they are going to reap the whirlwind."

    The sentiment is easy to understand but seems as much about retribution as military strategy.

    Also:

    In February 1945, Harris wrote "I do not personally regard the whole of the remaining cities of Germany as worth the bones of one British Grenadier"

    That's a pretty extreme point of view, it implies that it is OK to kill a millian German citizens to save one British life. It doesn't, morally, feel very different from, say, wiping out a village because some of your troops were ambushed (tactics used by the Germans in various places).

    I'd go back to my opening and reiterate that just because I want to honour the men who served doesn't mean I have to accept that the whole bombing campaign was necessary or justified.

    J
  • BelgianBeerGeekBelgianBeerGeek Posts: 5,230
    Jedster, hindsight is a wonderful thing. Historians can make judgements from the comfort of their armchairs.
    Strategic bombing was an acceptable form of taking the war to the enemy in the 30/40's on all sides. Still is, if you think about it, but now we threaten others (sorry,defend ourselves) with ICBMs.
    The Soviet Union engaged in very little strategic bombing, but committed masses of troops to land engagements. It is unlikely we would ever have amassed an army that big, or that willing to take the enormous casualties, to do that. And after Dunkirk we were largely on our own with a land offensive some time away. Hence the bombing campaigns. It was for some time our only way to defy the Nazis.
    The memorial is long overdue. Those guys showed astonishing bravery.
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  • jedsterjedster Posts: 2,004
    "hindsight is a wonderful thing"

    Oh, very true but there were plenty of people who questioned the strategy at the time too. Even Churchill was sceptical in the clsoing months of the war and regretted it after.

    "Still is, if you think about it, but now we threaten others (sorry,defend ourselves) with ICBMs."
    Huge difference between threat and action. There's a good argument for saying that ICBMs have prevented us from revisiting the horror of carpet bombing in Europe...

    "The memorial is long overdue. Those guys showed astonishing bravery."
    Agreed. As I said at the start and end of my post.
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