Prime Minister David Cameron, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Bee Gees singer-songwriter Robin Gibb have formed an unlikely alliance in a bid to raise £4.9 million for a permanent memorial to a fearless squad of World War II bomber crews.
The RAF Museum in Hendon needs an extra £1.9 million to pay for a time capsule placed in a tunnel under the country’s largest permanent memorial in London’s Green Park, containing the name, rank and serial number of the 55,573 members of the Command as well as personal messages from political and Commonwealth leaders. £3 million has already been raised.
Bomber Command deaths accounted for ten per cent of Allied war casualties during six years of operations during World War Two.
Their ranks included pilots from Poland, Holland, France and the US alongside British and Commonwealth airmen. Their average age was just 22.
Donators who give a minimum of £20 will be allowed personal messages and photographs inside the capsule.
“It is time the nation finally showed its gratitude by building a permanent memorial to the brave men from Bomber Command,” said Cameron, endorsing the “important” and “truly humbling” campaign.
“Their deeds have not been recognised in the way the heroes from the Battle of Britain have been, but their sacrifices were just as great."
Bee Gees singer Gibb has spent years championing the appeal.
“I had a vision of this monument becoming a reality and now I want to see it unveiled,” he declared, echoing Winston Churchill’s 1940 assertion that “the fighters are our salvation but the bombers alone provide the means of victory.”
“These guys are heroes – they saved the world and they deserve the best,” he added. “The whole world, including Germany, is free today because of Bomber Command’s sacrifice.”
Sir Michael Beetham, the President of the Bomber Command Association and Marshal of the RAF, urged the public to contribute.
“We believe that this time capsule will give people a brilliant opportunity to become part of the memorial forever,” he said.
“They can leave personal messages and photographs demonstrating their commitment to the brave men of Bomber Command and the sacrifice they made.”
Visit http://www.bombercommand.com/timecapsule to donate.