During a fun-filled, wine-fuelled weekend in Lincoln, we were brought down to earth with a fabulous visit to the city’s new International Bomber Command Centre.
Located just several minutes from the city centre, this interactive education centre is also a poignant memorial to everyone lost in the Second World War in the bomber command services.
At the heart of the centre are the Memorial Spire and Walls of Names. The Spire commands stunning views across Lincoln, with a focus on the city’s ancient cathedral, which served as a sighting point for crews flying from Lincolnshire. For many of the men named on the accompanying walls, the cathedral provided their last sight of Britain.
It is now recognised as the UK’s tallest war memorial and was awarded the 2016 Structural Steel Design Award, with its height representing the wingspan of a Lancaster bomber.
These peace gardens are eerily beautiful, and it is hard to keep down the lump in your throat watching veterans pay tribute to their friends, as well as children learning about the heroics of their forefathers with volunteer tour guides.
Men and women are honoured here, as are those who served and died throughout the commonwealth. Those who survived their impossible task during the conflict are also represented, with families laying their names to rest with their long-gone comrades.
Inside the centre is the exhibition, which is fantastically interactive and moving.
In no way is this command centre a museum. It is an educational experience with artefacts and personal stories, as well as actors portraying the lives of those involved.
The best part was the sudden start of a film inside the exhibition, with sound and light coming from all angles of the room.
It coincides with a “live map” of the bombings that took place across Europe throughout the Second World War, and is a vital reminder that we weren’t the “good guys”.
The command centre honours everyone who was involved with the bomber command.
It shows the devastation and heroics on both sides of the atrocious battles, and reminds you that just several generations ago these men and women had to stare death in the face to protect their families and friends.
I will be taking my grandparents to see this masterpiece of a centre, so they too can pay tributes to the generation before them.
This is not a government-funded project, and every ticket purchase and donation helps keep every memory alive for the next generation.
International Bomber Command Centre