On 10 April, the families of the crew of R3236 gathered again when they were invited to visit the International Bomber Command Centre (IBCC) on a hillside overlooking Lincoln Cathedral. The IBCC is a world-class facility to serve as a point for recognition, remembrance and reconciliation for Bomber Command. Providing the most comprehensive record of the Command in the world, the IBCC ensures that generations to come can learn of their vital role in protecting the freedom we enjoy. Although the visitor centre is still under construction, the awe inspiring spire, the UK’s tallest war memorial, can be visited. The Spire, made of Corten Weathering Steel is 31.09m high (the wingspan of an Avro Lancaster Bomber) and 5m wide at the base (the width of a Lancaster wing). Unintentionally, although a stroke of serendipity, the secondary smaller spire is a couple of centimetres short of the wing span of a Wellington Bomber, such as the one flown by F/O Lindsay, P/O Ball, Sgt Aitken, Sgt Glen and Sgt Waterfall.
The honeycomb interior of the spire was inspired by the cooling panels on the inside of a Lancaster’s Engines
On the curved walls, also made of Corten Weathering Steel, surrounding the Spire are the names of the crews, based in Lincolnshire, who were among the 58,000 men and women of Bomber Command who lost their lives. Although the names of the R3236 crew are not recorded on the panels at the moment, when the IBCC is completed, all members of Bomber Command who did not return from their missions will be recorded.
In tandem with the creation of the IBCC, a digital archive is being created under the auspices of the University of Lincoln, to record for posterity the experiences of the men and women who served with Bomber Command. The R3236 were invited to meet the archive team at the University of Lincoln’s Riseholm campus
Pictured left to right, are relatives of F/O Douglas Lindsay (DL), P/O Ralph Ball (RB), Sgt Alex Aitken (AA) and Sgt Jack Waterall (JW): Keith and Alexis Brand (JW), Kirsty and Polly Freeman (RB), Jeremy and Trish Ruff (JW), Doug Aylward (DL), Ted Fuller (JW), Gordon Inglis (AA), Peter Schulz (IBCC Digital Archive) and Caroline Kesseler (JW). We are very grateful to Heather Hughes and Peter Schulz of the University of Lincoln Bomber Command Digital Archive for facilitating our visit to Lincoln.
The IBCC aims to be self financing as it seeks to achieve its aim of providing a place for Bomber Command’s contribution to World War Two to be remembered and understood. You can find out more about visiting the Centre, after its official opening in 2018 and donating to the cost of the memorial by visiting their website: