VIDEO: Crowds flock for Bomber Command veterans

Ten veterans of the RAF’s Bomber Command became celebrities on Saturday when people queued for their signatures.

Monday, 8th April 2013, 12:17 pm
Bomber Command veterans sign ing at Wings Museum, Balcombe
Bomber Command veterans sign ing at Wings Museum, Balcombe

The group appeared at the Wings Museum in Brantridge Lane, Balcombe, raising hundreds of pounds towards the upkeep of the Bomber Command Memorial in Green Park.

The veterans, all of whom are now in their late 80s and 90s, flew bombing missions over Germany during World War Two when survival expectation reached an all time low of just two weeks at the height of the conflict.

In total 55,573 Bomber Command crew members died during the conflict although the memorial to them was only unveiled last year after huge public efforts to raise the money to pay for it.

Bomber Command veterans sign ing at Wings Museum, Balcombe

The Wings Museum invited the men to appear on Saturday to help them in their ongoing efforts to continue to raise funds, now in order maintain the memorial.

The men, all from the Mid Sussex area, included three DFCs (Distinguished Fying Cross), an MBE, a CBE and an Air Commodore.

Wings Museum curator Kevin Hunt said: “We are extremely please for the veterans and for the museum that so many people have turned out today. Some have come from a long way away, which is a tribute to these very brave men.”

The fliers included W/O David Fellowes, an air gunner; F/O Bunny Mason, an air gunner; Ft Lt Hal Gardner, a navigator; Ft Lt George Dunn, DFC, a pilot; Ft Lt Joe Lancaster, DFC, a pilot; W/O Roy Akehurst, an air gunner; Squ Ldr Bill Lucas, DFC, a pilot; Fly. Off John de Hoop, a wireless operator and air gunner; Air Commodore John Langston CBE, a navigator; and W Cdr John Ball MBE and DFC, a bomb aimer.

A crash site of an A-20C of the USAAF, reconstructed at the Wings Museum in Balcombe

More can be found about the Bomber Command Memorial at RAF benevolent Fund and about the Wings Museum at Wings Museum