August 21, 2014 5.10 pm This story is over 116 months old

Lincoln Bomber Command memorial turf cutting marked by iconic flypast

Turf cutting: A flypast from the Lancasters and Vulcan helped mark the first stage of building the International Bomber Command Centre in Lincoln.

To mark the start of work on the International Bomber Command Centre, a turf cutting ceremony was held, coinciding with the historic Vulcan and Lancaster flyover.

The £3 million project will commemorate those flying from one of the county’s 27 Bomber Command stations to fight in World War II, many never to return.

As he welcomed those attending the ceremony, the Chairman of the Lincolnshire Bomber Command Memorial Trust, Lord Lieutenant Tony Worth, said: “This is the end of the beginning. A tribute to those who died, and a telling of the stories of those who survived.

“This project has been a long time coming. We as a nation have not told the story of those who died and suffered during the bomb campaign.”

Veterans including George Johnson, the last remaining Dambuster, attended the ceremony along with many other past and present military personnel and their families.

Betty Bascombe, the widow of Flight Lieutenant Ron Jones who died during bomber command, said: “I think it’s a wonderful honour, it’s beautiful.

“They won’t be forgotten now. We’ll disappear but that will be there always, which is lovely.

“I’ve been to the one in London that is beautiful too, but this will be lovely I hope I manage to see this, I’ll have to make a date for it.”

The memorial will also include an educational centre that will explain and put into context the actions of those in bomber command.

Lord Lieutenant Worth said: “The London memorial is a memorial to the 55,573 aircrew who died but apart from that it doesn’t tell you any about the whole of bomber command and what bomber command did.

“What we’re going to have here is not only a memorial to those who lost their lives flying out of Lincolnshire but we shall also have an interpretation centre which will be called the Chadwick Centre.”

The new Memorial Spire will not have names on it, but on walls around it.

The new Memorial Spire will not have names on it, but on walls around it.

As previously reported plans have been approved for a 31 metre spire with surrounding walls listing the 25,611 names of those who served to be erected as part of the memorial.

Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach said: “Any memorial has to have some sort of impact so the vertical extent of the spire is important not to just to the project but also to the memory of the people who died.

“It also acts as a beacon and as a signpost to the memorial centre underneath which will be unique, it is a special place. It will be a place of reflection, of telling the story, of the context, of the international reach of the effort of Lincolnshire and also offers an additional string for the Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage.”

The spire is set to be built by May next year, the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. Building the rest of the memorial will then continue as funds are raised.

It is expected to attract 50,000 visitors in its first year from next summer, increasing to more than 80,000 visitors a year.

To find out how to donate visit the Lincolnshire Bomber Command Memorial website where there are details of how to donate online, by text or by post.