A lasting stain

York Press: A lasting stain A lasting stain

I WATCHED a programme on the Yesterday channel called Who Betrayed The Bomber Boys?

Those young men and their leader, Bomber Harris, received no recognition from Winston Churchill during his victory speech to Parliament and the British people. He mentioned every other branch of the Armed Forces, but ignored Bomber Command.

In the early stages of the Second World War and after the Battle of Britain, Bomber Command was the only force taking the fight to the enemy.

The young men who flew in the Whitley, Wellington, Manchester, Lancaster, Stirling and Halifax bombers were, to a man, volunteers and 55,573 paid the ultimate price.

I used to hold Churchill in awe for the way his many speeches would inspire.

However, as the war was drawing to an end, the Russian leader Joseph Stalin asked Churchill for much-needed support.

Churchill ordered Bomber Command and the US Eighth Air Force to carry out raids on Dresden. There was a large death toll of some 26,000. However Josef Goebbels, the Nazi Propaganda Minister, simple added a zero to the casualty list and leaked the figure of “260,000 dead”.

Churchill sensed that if his name was associated with Dresden, his post-war ambitions would be damaged. So he distanced himself from Bomber Command.

The way those young men of Bomber Command were mistreated is a stain which can never be removed.

Philip Roe, Roman Avenue South, Stamford Bridge, York.

Comments (3)

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9:51pm Mon 9 Dec 13

Omega Point says...

Along with denying the Polish people representation at the Victory Parade in London, again giving way to Stalin
Along with denying the Polish people representation at the Victory Parade in London, again giving way to Stalin Omega Point

10:37pm Mon 9 Dec 13

Igiveinthen says...

Yes the bravery of those young men never ceases to amaze me, and since they and those of the Arctic Convoys have at last been recognised for their bravery I have applied for the Bomber Command Clasp to go with my uncles medals - he was only 21 years old when he and the rest of the crew of Lancaster PB691 lost their lives after crashing in Norway returning from a bombing sortie.
I have often thought would I have had the courage as he and many others did to volunteer for aircrew knowing that the odds against surviving a full tour of 30 operations was low, and I can't answer that as we as a whole are not in the same situation as they were.
So to those who criticise the bombing campaign of WWII, I would say that if it wasn't for their bravery and contribution they gave in helping to win the war then we might not have the freedom we have today.
Yes the bravery of those young men never ceases to amaze me, and since they and those of the Arctic Convoys have at last been recognised for their bravery I have applied for the Bomber Command Clasp to go with my uncles medals - he was only 21 years old when he and the rest of the crew of Lancaster PB691 lost their lives after crashing in Norway returning from a bombing sortie. I have often thought would I have had the courage as he and many others did to volunteer for aircrew knowing that the odds against surviving a full tour of 30 operations was low, and I can't answer that as we as a whole are not in the same situation as they were. So to those who criticise the bombing campaign of WWII, I would say that if it wasn't for their bravery and contribution they gave in helping to win the war then we might not have the freedom we have today. Igiveinthen

11:31pm Mon 9 Dec 13

ColdAsChristmas says...

We owe the air crews of Bomber Command much more than they were ever given public credit for. Already mentioned the Arctic convoy crews. Then there were the servicemen who suffered at the hands of the cruel Japanese. In all cases our cowardly politicians wait until most of these fine men are gone before they are recognised.
After the war there were the service personnel who were sent to Christmas Island etc to observe Atomic explosions. Many died as a result while others suffered medical complications while all our governments ignore their plight.
Again, perhaps when they are nearly all gone Govt will look at their strong cases.
Service personnel since that time have been looked after little better, a national disgrace not made any better by current defence cuts. But we will remember them.
We owe the air crews of Bomber Command much more than they were ever given public credit for. Already mentioned the Arctic convoy crews. Then there were the servicemen who suffered at the hands of the cruel Japanese. In all cases our cowardly politicians wait until most of these fine men are gone before they are recognised. After the war there were the service personnel who were sent to Christmas Island etc to observe Atomic explosions. Many died as a result while others suffered medical complications while all our governments ignore their plight. Again, perhaps when they are nearly all gone Govt will look at their strong cases. Service personnel since that time have been looked after little better, a national disgrace not made any better by current defence cuts. But we will remember them. ColdAsChristmas

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