Late last week, Veterans Affairs Minister Steven Blaney announced that the Government of Canada is contributing $100,000 toward the creation of a new Bomber Command Memorial in London, United Kingdom.
The memorial, to be unveiled in London’s Green Park in June, will honour all members of the Bomber Command, who came from several from Allied countries, and those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
“It is our sacred duty to remember and honour the brave men and women who served our country so selflessly,” said Minister Blaney. “Once completed, the Bomber Command Memorial will serve as a permanent reminder of the sacrifices made by the brave men and women who served our country during the Second World War.”
“Our Government is proud to honour our Veterans who fought for peace, freedom and democracy around the world, and today we salute the 50,000 Canadian servicemen and women who served in Bomber Command operations during the Second World War,” said Laurie Hawn, MP for Edmonton Centre, who participated in April 5th announcement. “Let us remember in particular the more than 10,000 Canadians who paid the ultimate price in defending the skies over Europe.”
Minister Blaney also said that the government will support Bomber Command veterans in travelling to London for the official unveiling of the Memorial. While there, the Canadian veterans will reunite with their comrades from Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Veterans Affairs Canada will help offset costs related to accommodations and ground transportation, while the Department of National Defence will provide for air travel.
“The Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces are dedicated to honouring the 55,573 fallen British and Allied forces of the Bomber Command,” said Defence Minister Peter MacKay. “This new Bomber Command Memorial will serve as a tangible and long-lasting tribute to the service, courage and ultimate sacrifice of those who served so valiantly during the Second World War.”
An estimated 44 per cent of those who flew in Bomber Command during the Second World War lost their lives. Additionally, of the approximately 125,000 who served, almost 10,000 became prisoners of war. Canada’s commitment to Bomber Command was 15 squadrons, with the No. 6 (RCAF) Group flying more than 40,000 missions.
During the Second World War, while the Royal Air Force Fighter Command defended the United Kingdom against aerial attacks, it was the role of Bomber Command to attack the enemy’s military strength by bombing key targets in an attempt to weaken its military and industrial capabilities.
For more information on Canada’s role in Bomber Command, visit http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/department/press/viewbackgrounder/14.