2 Jul 2012
This was very interesting.
I have a personal connection here.
One of my father's cousins - just barely old enough to enlist, btw - joined the RAF when World War II broke out, and found his way to the job of a flight lieutenant in Bomber Command. His father (born in Scotland, migrating to Australia with his parents and siblings a few years before WWI broke out) had fought in World War I, as a wireless officer aboard the troopships, and then re-enlisted alongside his first-born son when World War II broke out. Thus, while the young son - barely in his twenties - was flying missions into Germany, the middle-aged father was also serving: as an intelligence and operations officer with the RAAF and then with the RAF. They were among the lucky ones: they both returned to Australia safe and sound.
And one of my mother's relations (a first cousin once-removed) - a man whose father had seen service at Gallipoli in WWI, and survived it - also served in Bomber Command, as a wireless operator air gunner; and survived. (In civilian life after the war he discovered a vocation to holy orders, and spent a long career as a Reverend in the Methodist and then in the Uniting Church).
I am told that it was the single most deadly theatre of war for Australia: of 10, 000 Australians who served in Bomber Command, 3,486 were killed in action and 650 died in training accidents. That loss, in that one field of battle, accounted for 1 in 5 of all Australian personnel killed in action in World War II.
I understand that there were no less than 100 Australian veterans, survivors of Bomber Command, at the opening of the memorial; transported to London specially for the occasion. 30 in the official party and an additional 70 assisted in their travel by the Veterans' Affairs department.
23 Jul 2012
They took offered their lives to save civilization when it mattered.
Thank you for writng this tribute.