Friday, 10 February 2023

International Bomber Command Centre

 A couple of posts ago this blog featured a very brief extract from Tennyson's 'In Memoriam'. I am fond of a thematic link so let's have a photo of the man himself standing larger than life outside Lincoln Cathedral.

The cathedral itself is, I am pleased to report, still looking very impressive after a thousand years or so. The view below is from the western wall of the castle, back across the bailey and over the east wall.

The imp is still there, although just as diminutive and unimpressive as always. I'm sorry to say that Magna Carta wasn't around, having gone for what the guide described as 'a rest in the dark'. We've all felt the need for that I'm sure.

One local attraction that has opened since I was last in the city is the somewhat strangely named 'International Bomber Command Centre'. Lincolnshire of course contained many bomber bases during WWII, but this isn't actually one of them. It's a new building on farmland just outside Lincoln, with an impressive view of the city. It's fairly close to RAF Waddington, current home of the Red Arrows, and they were much in evidence while we were there. The website describes it as 'a facility' and 'an experience', both of which make sense. It's not a museum as such, having very few historical artefacts, but instead it does two things rather well. Firstly, it uses technology rather effectively to cover both the activities of Bomber Command and the stories of those across Europe who suffered due to bombing. Secondly, it has a memorial to the more than 55,000 members of RAF Bomber Command who died during the war, with all their names inscribed thereon. I thought it was all very well done, and perhaps more pertinently so did my companion for the visit, who wasn't particularly looking forward to it, but ended up glad that she came. Indeed she seemed to be rather enjoying herself controlling a Lancaster on its bombing run over Peenemünde.

If I have one observation it's that whilst it didn't shy away from highlighting the moral debate about strategic bombing, I didn't spot anything related to whether in the end it turned out to be an effective use of the Allies' resources. Perhaps the memorial is intended to make us reflect on that for ourselves.

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