July 20, 2020 11.03 am This story is over 40 months old

Over 21k want racial slur dog’s name back on gravestone

Guy Gibson’s dog’s memorial at RAF Scampton controversy continues

Over 21,000 have signed a petition to try and get Guy Gibson’s dog’s name, which is a racial slur, put back onto a gravestone at RAF Scampton.

Local firm Drapers Memorials were hired to remove and replace the plaque on the gravestone, which paid tribute to a black Labrador dog mascot of the RAF’s 617 squadron called Ni**er.

It caused a lot of outrage with many people saying it is a big part of history that needs reinstated.

Sarah Hobday, whose great uncle was a Dambuster (Sydney Hobday) and part of the crew that breached the Edersee Dam, started a petition which continues to grow in signatures.

By Friday morning just over 3,000 people had signed the petition, but at the time of publication on Monday that number has risen significantly to 21,743 signatures as the topic continues to cause controversy.

The dog was owned by wing commander Guy Gibson, before it died in 1943 while Gibson was fighting in the Second World War.

Sarah told The Lincolnite: “It was a dog and that was his name. It is a part of history and a famous part of history too and it was his gravestone of where the dog was ran over. If a human being had that on its headstone would it be removed and be somewhere else?”

She added: “History is history, let it lie and let others enjoy the past and what great, or maybe not great, these people have done but we don’t live backwards we live forward.”

The dog’s grave is outside a hangar at RAF Scampton near Lincoln.

RAF Scampton said that a review of its historical assets is ongoing, with a focus on “not giving prominence to an offensive term that goes against the ethos of the modern Royal Air Force.”

An RAF spokesperson said: “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.