Lincolnshire Bomber Command Memorial Damaged by Vandals

The International Bomber Command Centre in Lincolnshire, England, tells the story of more than 55,000 men who were killed in World War II. The 102-foot memorial spire on the Bomber Command campus was damaged by trespassers last week. Despite the damage being minimal, it was an act of tremendous disrespect for the servicemen who gave their lives and caused upset to their families.

Officials think that vandals used breeze blocks from the site, which is still under construction, to aid in their attempt to climb up the inside of the memorial.

According to Nicky Barr, the director of the centre, it appears the responsible party cut a hole in the perimeter fence and that the scuff marks found inside of the memorial were probably caused by the falling blocks.

Barr said, “It is hugely disappointing that a memorial this country has worked so hard for, that honors the dead of Bomber Command, has been subjected to this kind of abject vandalism.” The spire has only been up for about a year, she added. “We are so proud of this spire and the way people refer to it as ‘our memorial’.” It is the tremendous effort put out by whichever people took part in this act that shows the most disrespect.

Whoever attempted to climb into the memorial also put them at genuine risk of being injured. Anyone who falls from that height onto the paving below would be in serious trouble. The person or persons could have been stranded on the memorial and badly hurt from the fall.

The spire was unveiled to the public back in October. During the ceremony, there were about 300 proud Bomber Command veterans in attendance along with dignitaries.

Bomber Command directed the RAF during the war and organized the bombing raids of occupied Europe and especially Germany. In particular, it guided the RAF bombing campaign 1942-1945, which heavily bombed German cities. These raids were designed to  destroy the Nazi war machine and usually targeted industrial centres, but there were also many civilian casualties during these raids and this has made Bomber Command very controversial.

The memorial seeks to commemorate all those who dies during the war. It is estimated that some 44% of all bomber command crews died during the conflict. That is in total about 55,000 men, in all its operations and included ground crews and support staff.  A further almost 10,000 were taken as POW after being shot down.


Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE