May 17, 2023 5.00 pm This story is over 10 months old

Lincolnshire County Council officers object to moving grave of Guy Gibson’s dog

Preserving the heritage of RAF Scampton

By Local Democracy Reporter

Lincolnshire County Council’s Archaeology department has objected to plans to move the grave of Guy Gibson’s dog from RAF Scampton.

Last week, the RAF submitted an application to West Lindsey District Council seeking permission to move the beloved black Labrador’s grave to the current location of the 617 Squadron in Norfolk.

The dog served as the mascot for the Dambusters and was buried outside Hangar 2 at the request of his owner.

The proposed relocation has sparked controversy since becoming public knowledge, with Scampton Councillor Roger Patterson (Conservative) describing it as “a kick in the teeth for the community”.

In its application, the force stated concerns about preserving the dog’s place of rest following uncertainty surrounding the housing of asylum seekers at RAF Scampton.

However, Lincolnshire County Council has recommended that the local authority reject the application, expressing concerns about the potential impact on the site’s heritage.

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

In a report, a representative from the county council wrote: “The proposed development involves the exhumation of the suspected zooarchaeological remains of a Labrador dog that belonged to Wing Commander Guy Gibson, and which acted as the mascot for 617 Squadron who led the Dambusters Raid whilst stationed at RAF Scampton in 1943.

“It also proposes the removal of the dog’s memorial plaque together with other commemorative items and the associated iron railings that surround it and their removal from the site.

“Together, these items and any buried remains are a heritage asset and a memorial in the terminology of the Government’s National Planning Policy Framework.

“Piecemeal developments such as this proposal, which remove and erode aspects of character and heritage of RAF Scampton without consideration of the preservation or future use of the site as a whole could lead to erosion and eventual loss of RAF Scampton’s heritage significance, which is of national and international importance.”

Almost 90 comments on the application have been submitted the council, almost entirely negative.

Amy Kirkby wrote: “Our history should stay at Scampton and not be moved. This is where he served and so he should stay here.

However others said the grave should go where it would be best cared for.

Rita Bateson said: “It’s sad but the grave will be well protected at RAF Marham. 617 Squadron will care and cherish his memory.”

The application is open for public comments, and will be determined by West Lindsey District Council at a later date.

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