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Welcome to the world of the Vincent D'Onofrio obsessed - and a bit of real life thrown in.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Better Late ThanNever

When I woke up this morning (earlier than I needed or intended) I heard on the news that today the Queen would be unveiling the long-awaited and overdue monument to those who served (and the many who lost their lives) in Bomber Command in World War II. What's more, the only remaining Lancaster bomber that still flies would be doing a fly-past. I couldn't get back to sleep, I decided I needed to find out the time of the ceremony and go. So at midday I was at the Commmonwealth war memorial section of Green Park to see what I could see.

The reason this memorial had never been built before was that the powers-that-be felt embarrassed because British bombers killed around 600,000 German civilians. But they, not the airmen who sacrificed their lives, were responsible for that. Dresden will always be a stain on the Allies' conduct of the latter part of the war, but those who died believing their leaders had a reson for these acts cannot be blames, and should be honoured. The recently late Robin Gibb fought hard to get this memorial built.

The roofs of the nearby buildings carried film crews as well as other observers:
The Horse Guards rode past on their magnificent glossy black beasts:

Along with the veterans by the monument there were current members of the RAF in their grey uniforms:

I saw the Queen's car, but not the Queen (it was empty) but that's no loss to a non-royalist like me. I missed filming the formation of jets that started off the flypast. But I did manage to film the Lancaster and its poppy drop. Remember the Wellington Arch, Maui?


 Later, despite the hot weather (at last! but too much! 28 degrees) I went on to Oxford Street, the busy central London shopping street. Bizarrely, a large number of the paper poppies had found their way there, so I was able to collect a souvenir. Now I just need to see a Spitfire fly and I will be happy.


vikeau said...

Really great pics val. Here in Baltimore the city is celebrating the 200th anniversity of the War of 1812. Couple of weekends ago the Blue Angels(the Navy flyers) did air shows in the downtown area(really cool). Problem-- once you hear them they're already gone. So spent the weekend looking up. Glad you were able to get a video. In a couple of weeks, the city will be celebrating the 200th anniversry of the penning of the Star Spangle Banner. Lots of fireworks.

Anonymous said...

Dresden may have been a step too far but it seems to me that the Germans were quite happy to drop their bombs on London, and on the chip shop at the top of my mother's street (nowhere near London!), so I've NO idea how the powers that suddenly decided to ignore the ultimate sacrifice of 56,000 air crew; then again, if the powers that be had their way, we'd probably be apologising to the Romans for being a tempting target to invade....

val said...

Ooh, Diane, strong feelings. My street was bombed - my family were dockers, and the London docks were one of the prime targets. But I recognise that lots of other places, especially ports, got badly hit. Then there were the Baedeker raids, which led to the destruction of Coventry. I imagine Nottingham and its environs we're part of that.

I was married to a war historian, and I remember him telling the not unheard-of theory that the Germans bombed our cities because we bombed their cities, and we bombed their cities to divert them from bombing our airfields and destroying the RAF and its fighters in the ground. So they were fundamental to Britain's winning the war.

I have some German relatives who were probably required to be part of the Nazi war machine, but Ve Don't Mention Ze War...

JoJo said...

Great pics! I'm glad the memorial was built.

Anonymous said...

Yep, there's a big army base not too far away. I always understood they bombed the cities to try and 'break' the will of the people. They should have known if you push the Brits one way, we'll go the other ;0)

I always hear Basil Fawlty not mentioning the war.... 'You started it' 'No, we didn't' 'Yes you did, you invaded Poland'

Eliza said...

It's about time we honoured those boys...the poppy drop made me want to cry :(

The closest we got to bombs was one being jettisoned on their way back..killed a pig by all accounts.It must have been a big deal, my gran still talked about it in the 90's

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