July 17, 2020 4.59 pm This story is over 46 months old

Lincolnshire MP slams RAF over dog’s gravestone change

The MP has written to RAF Scampton’s station commander

A Lincolnshire MP said he is “very fearful of our ability today to erase or rewrite history” after a dog’s name, which is a racial slur, was removed from a gravestone at RAF Scampton.

The gravestone paid tribute to a black Labrador dog mascot of the RAF’s 617 squadron called Ni**er.

The removal and replacement of the plaque was done by Drapers Memorials this week and caused huge uproar, with many believing it is a big part of history that needs reinstated.

Thousands of people signed a petition calling for the dog’s name to be put back onto the gravestone. At the time of publication, the petition now has over 5,800 signatures.

Gainsborough’s Conservative MP Sir Edward Leigh has now had his say on the matter and believes the past needs to be “explained, taught about and learned from – not written”.

Gainsborough MP Sir Edward Leigh

The MP, whose constituency includes Scampton, wrote to the RAF station commander, and according to The Guardian his correspondence  said: “Undoubtedly we are both more sensitive and more sensible today when it comes to the delicateness of racialist and derogatory terminology which had been used with unfortunate informality in the past.

“It is perfectly understandable that this is a tricky matter to which there are no simple or easy solutions. I am, however, very fearful of our ability today to erase or rewrite history.

“The past needs to be explained, taught about and learned from – not rewritten. Wing Commander Gibson’s dog was much loved by the Dambusters and was killed while he was on a raid risking his life to defend our country.”

An RAF spokesperson said on Thursday: “As part of an ongoing review of its historical assets, the RAF have replaced the gravestone of Guy Gibson’s dog at RAF Scampton. The new gravestone tells the story of Guy Gibson’s dog, but the name has been removed.”

The current gravestone will be stored in a safe location while any next steps are considered.

The controversy doesn’t end there as it is also reported that films about the Dambuster have either edited out the dog’s name or given him the name Trigger instead.