Fitting memorial to Bomber Command

RAF Bomber Command Memorial at Beachy Head. Spectators and security overlook the memorial pieces being airlifted into place. June 26th 2012. E26062N
RAF Bomber Command Memorial at Beachy Head. Spectators and security overlook the memorial pieces being airlifted into place. June 26th 2012. E26062N
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A CHINOOK helicopter delivered a Bomber Command memorial to Beachy Head this week.

The six-tonne granite memorial, which is more than six feet high, was dropped into place by the RAF helicopter on the edge of cliffs at Beachy Head close to the Peace Path.

The Bomber memorial being airlifted by chinook to Beachy Head. Photo by Gilly Nicol

The Bomber memorial being airlifted by chinook to Beachy Head. Photo by Gilly Nicol

It was met by a welcoming committee including Bomber Command survivor Joe Williams, who spearheaded the campaign for a permanent memorial at Beachy Head, the last sighting most airmen had as they left their homeland to take the war to the enemy.

More than 55,573 airmen gave their lives during World War II and the arrival of the Beachy Head memorial coincides with yesterday’s unveiling of the Bomber Command Memorial in London by Her Majesty the Queen.

Tuesday’s operation marked the end of a long campaign by Joe Williams, a former Bomber Command air-gunner with 625 Bomber Squadron.

His last operation was over Beachy Head on the way to Chemitz in 1945, when his Lancaster NG 240 Fox-2 lost an engine before leaving the English shores.

Joe decided to go on but his plane was later shot down by a German fighter and after bailing out Joe was taken prisoner.

He escaped and arrived back in the UK on April 22 1945.

He said this week it had taken him four years to achieve his dream of having the memorial finally in place.

“It’s a memorial to 110,000 men of Bomber Command and the 55,573 who were killed in flying accidents or on operations over Europe,” said Joe.

“I want it to be thought of as an ‘operational memorial’ and in the future a place where people can sit and reflect on the young men of over 60 years ago who gave so much to make sure we today are free.”

The memorial will be officially unveiled by the Queen’s representative the Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex Peter Field on July 8.

Pictures by Steve Curtis, Claire Donaldson and Martin Dighton