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Tue. Aug 21st, 2018

A Centre for Bomber Command

As an historian, it is rare that I write in the first person. However, after attending the ceremony for the opening of the International Bomber Command Centre (IBCC) in Lincolnshire, England, in April 2018, I can think of no better way to relate that experience, since it was indeed a moving and personal event.

I should also point out that I have a bias: My father was an air gunner in Bomber Command during the Second World War, so even before the ceremony started, it had special meaning for me. That said, my position as the RCAF’s chief historian has given me the privilege and honour to partake in many ceremonies of this nature, but there were a few aspects of my IBCC experience that, aside from my family linkage, made it one of the most remarkable that I have attended.

Before describing these experiences, however, it is first necessary to provide context.

The IBCC has defined itself as “a world-class facility to serve as a point for recognition, remembrance and reconciliation for Bomber Command. Providing the most comprehensive record of the Command in the world, the IBCC ensures that generations to come can learn of their vital role in protecting the freedom we enjoy today”.

The IBCC took more than eight years to be developed, and it was built at a cost of approximately 10 million British pounds. It consists of a memorial spire, gardens, and the Chadwick Centre, which helps interpret the history of Bomber Command. The monument itself, which stands at 31 metres high, is now the tallest war memorial in Great Britain and, in partnership with the University of Lincoln, the Centre boasts a digital archive of some 190,000 documents, photos and letters.

The opening ceremony was held in Lincoln in the United Kingdom on April 12, 2018, and attended by an estimated 4,000 people. It was designed to celebrate the opening of the IBCC with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, but it was also a commemoration of the almost one million individuals who served and supported Bomber Command. Equally important were the 300 veterans who attended the ceremonies.

The Maple Leaf complete article

 

Un centre consacré au Bomber Command

Par M. Richard Mayne

En tant qu’historien, il est rare que j’écrive à la première personne. Cependant, après avoir assisté à la cérémonie d’ouverture de l’International Bomber Command Centre (IBCC) dans le Lincolnshire, en Angleterre, en avril 2018, je ne vois pas de meilleure façon de raconter l’expérience que j’ai vécue, car il s’agissait d’un événement personnel et émouvant.

Je dois également souligner que j’ai un parti pris : mon père était mitrailleur de bord dans le Bomber Command pendant la Seconde Guerre mondiale, de sorte que même avant qu’elle ne s’amorce, la cérémonie revêtait déjà une signification spéciale pour moi. Cela dit, mon poste d’historien principal de l’ARC m’a conféré le privilège et l’honneur de participer à de nombreuses cérémonies de cette nature, mais il y a quelques aspects de l’expérience que j’ai vécue à l’IBCC qui, à part mes liens familiaux, en ont fait l’une des plus remarquables auxquelles j’aie assisté.

Toutefois, avant de décrire cette expérience, il faut établir le contexte.

L’IBCC se définit comme « une installation de premier ordre qui sert de point de reconnaissance, de commémoration et de réconciliation pour le Bomber Command. Présentant le compte rendu historique le plus approfondi au sujet du commandement, l’IBCC vise à faire en sorte que les générations à venir puissent apprendre le rôle vital du Bomber Command dans la protection de la liberté dont nous jouissons aujourd’hui. »

La mise au point de l’IBCC a pris plus de huit ans et sa construction a coûté environ 10 millions de livres sterling. Il se compose d’une flèche commémorative, de jardins et du Chadwick Centre, qui facilite l’interprétation de l’histoire du Bomber Command. Le monument lui-même, d’une hauteur de 31 mètres, est aujourd’hui le plus grand monument de guerre de Grande-Bretagne et, en partenariat avec l’Université de Lincoln, l’IBCC revendique des archives numériques réunissant quelque 190 000 documents, photos et lettres.

La cérémonie d’ouverture s’est tenue à Lincoln, au Royaume-Uni, le 12 avril 2018, en présence d’environ 4 000 personnes. On devait y commémorer l’ouverture de l’IBCC par une cérémonie d’inauguration. Il s’agissait toutefois également de commémorer près d’un million de personnes qui ont servi et soutenu le Bomber Command. Les 300 anciens combattants qui ont assisté aux cérémonies étaient tout aussi importants.

Article complet de La feuille d’érable

 

The International Bomber Command Centre (IBCC) is a world-class facility to serve as a point for recognition, remembrance and reconciliation for Bomber Command. Providing the most comprehensive record of the Command in the world. The IBCC provides a world-class facility acknowledging the efforts, sacrifices and commitment of the men and women, from 62 different nations, who came together in Bomber Command during WWII. The project also covers the stories of those who suffered as a result of the bombing campaigns and those whose survival was guaranteed by the humanitarian operations of Bomber Command. During WWII over a million men and women served or supported Bomber Command. They came from 62 nations across the world and were united in their efforts to protect the freedom we enjoy today. The service included Aircrew, Ground Crew, Women’s Auxiliary Air Force, Auxiliary Air Transport, Auxiliary Transport Services, NAAFI and many others. Bomber Command suffered the highest losses of any unit during WWII but have struggled for recognition. Every member of Bomber Command aircrew was a volunteer.

L’International Bomber Command Centre à Lincoln, au Royaume-Uni. À gauche se trouvent la Flèche commémorative et les Murs des noms et, à droite, le Centre Chadwick. Le Ruban du Souvenir relie le Centre Chadwick et la Flèche commémorative. PHOTO : © Phil Crow, site Web de l’IBCC 

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