Bomber Command

June 18th, 2008 Posted in Books

Yesterday evening I watched Last of the Dambusters on Channel Five. I could empathize with George ‘Johnny’ Johnson for I too was a bomb aimer though not with the Dambusters. I flew on 36 missions in Lancasters of 44 (Rhodesia) Squadron based in Lincolnshire.

The television critic in the Daily Telegraph praises the programme while criticising some aspects of its execution. Significantly he drew attention to the fact that the programme did not mention that no campaign medal was awarded to Bomber Command – he writes: ‘no mention is made of the scandalous decision to deny Bomber Command a campaign medal.’

Many other branches of the Armed Services were awarded campaign medals and are still awarded for participation in today’s conflicts – rightly so. It is fitting that such recognition should be given to those who risk their lives or pay the ultimate sacrifice for their country. So, why no recognition for those of Bomber Command who served their country in the Second World War? Their role has been maligned by those who were not there, who cannot appreciate or recognise the vital role played by Bomber Command, along with the other Services, to bring victory and rid the world of an evil regime. Bomber Command should have the recognition it so richly deserves. That it was never implemented must be laid to a large extent at Churchill’s door. He tried to distance himself from a campaign he had whole-heartedly approved in order to defeat Hitler and all he stood for. That lack of support for Bomber Command at the end of the war was a blemish on what otherwise was an exemplary war leadership. He was the right man in the right place at the right time – thank goodness.

There is still time for the country to recognise what Bomber Command did for us and for the world before there is no one like George ‘Johnny’ Johnson left.

  1. 3 Responses to “Bomber Command”

  2. By Charles Foster on Jul 3, 2008

    Found your blog today when searching for reviews of “last of the Dambusters”. Posted a mention on my blog

    Hope you find it interesting!
    Charles Foster

  3. By Bill Spence on Jul 5, 2008

    From Bill Spence aka Jessica Blair
    Hi, Charles,
    Thank you for your comments. Interestingly while watching the programme I thought there were other Dambusters still alive and also that another crew got through to the Scorpe.
    When I was stationed at Spilsby I remember seeing 617 aircraft flying over distinguished by their modified bomb bays.
    I met Dave Shannon in the 1980s when he was on holiday with his wife at Lastingham Grange Hotel in North Yorkshire. Lastingham Grange is not far from me and I was there with my wife for an evening meal. They were a charming couple and he so modest and unassuming.
    I am delighted to have all the links through your site.
    Incidentally I have Dave Shannon’s obituary from the Daily Telegraph if you are interested – also some others of members of 617.

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