HERALD Opinion (June 29) expresses enthusiastic support for the placing of the memorial stone to Bomber Command alongside the Peace Path at Beachy Head but I hope readers will forgive me if I do not share this enthusiasm.
While I do not dispute there should be a memorial to the airmen of Bomber Command, especially those who lost their lives on operational duty, I believe the positioning of the monument alongside the Peace Path is inappropriate.
On approaching the Peace Path if one looks carefully one might observe a much smaller memorial placed there in 2008 on behalf of Eastbourne branch of The United Nations Association and Eastbourne for Peace And Liberty.
This commemorates all those who lost their lives in wars during the previous hundred years ‘whatever their gender, age or nationality, military or civilian’.
The importance of this memorial is it draws attention to the obscenity of modern warfare in that it is so often innocent non-combatants who pay the price.
Among these non-combatants estimates suggest up to 600,000 may have died as a result of bombing raids over Germany. It is worthy of note the memorial to Bomber Command that The Queen unveiled in Green Park acknowledges the suffering of the civilian victims of the bombing raids whereas the Beachy Head Memorial fails to do so.
Many, including the then Bishop of Chichester, George Bell, expressed unease at the way that Bomber Command was being used to target non-combatants by the saturation bombing of cities such as Dresden that were not military targets. This saturation bombing, together with the bombing of our towns and cities by The Luftwaffe, went far beyond legitimate military objectives and is extremely difficult to justify on moral grounds,
By all means let us honour the memory of those who sacrificed their lives but a memorial of this kind alongside a path dedicated to international peace and reconciliation could hardly be in a less appropriate place.