Bomber Boys on brink of victory as memorial appeal just £10k short of its £8m target
THE heroes of Bomber Command are just £10,000 short of settling the final bill for their £8million memorial to fallen comrades after an unprecedented response to their six-year fundraising campaign.
As they sorted through the latest mountain of donations at the RAF Museum in Hendon, north London, three 90-year-old “Bomber Boys” said: “Thank you for your support, Britain.”
Harry Irons, who lied about his age to join the RAF at 16, said: “The response has been fantastic. Letters have flooded in from all over the country. We have been truly overwhelmed. Now we are on the verge of victory.”
One Daily Express reader has just pledged £1,000 with thousands more posting cheques for £50, £20 and £10. One pensioner who sent £5 included a note saying: “I wish I could afford more. God bless you all.”
The Portland stone Bomber Command memorial in London’s Green Park was unveiled by the Queen in 2012. It honours the 55,573 young airmen who were killed in action out of the 125,000 who served in the Second World War.
Air Commodore Charles Clarke 90, was shot down over Germany in 1944 and spent 18-months as a POW and saw 50 of his friends executed.
He said: “We were neglected for so long but this appeal has been so very well supported by the public and we are all moved.”
The response has been fantastic. Letters have flooded in from all over the country. We have been truly overwhelmed. Now we are on the verge of victory
Wellington bomber wireless operator Douglas Radcliffe, 90, the secretary of the Bomber Command Association, said: “I think about my brothers-in-arms all the time.
“I served with a crew I knew and trusted, and who believed in each other, and that was a great comfort going out to face the enemy. We will always remember them.”
The brother-in-arms survivors started raising cash to pay for the stunning memorial in 2008 and they expect the final £10,000 to be raised in the coming days so the last outstanding bills can be cleared.
The veterans’ achievement owes much to chairman of fundraising Jim Dooley and the late Bee Gees singer Robin Gibb, who died a month before the monument was unveiled.
Express readers gave £500,000, a sum matched by Daily Express owner Richard Desmond.
Mr Dooley said: “The British public value the freedoms they enjoy today because of the selfless sacrifice of the guys of Bomber Command. That has been rewarded with an incredible public response and un-wavering support from the Daily Express.
“Everyone involved in this campaign is grateful from the bottom of their hearts.”