Second World War veterans from Britain and around the world braved the heat yesterday to see the Queen unveil a £7m memorial to tens of thousands of airmen who died in the conflict.
The Bomber Command Memorial in London’s Green Park remembers the sacrifice and bravery of the RAF crew who played a crucial part in winning the war and faced death daily.
More than 5,000 veterans and veterans’ relatives joined the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and other members of the Royal Family to remember the 55,573 RAF crew who lost their lives.
The Queen, wearing a Peter Enrione lilac and white printed silk dress and matching lilac coat, plus an Angela Kelly lilac and white hat, pulled a rope to unveil the centrepiece of the memorial, a 9ft bronze sculpture depicting a seven-man bomber crew returning from a mission.
The Last Post was sounded and a silence was held. There was also a flypast by five RAF GR4 Tornado bomber aircraft crewed by the RAF, and another by the RAF’s last flying Lancaster Bomber, which dropped poppies over the park as a message of remembrance for those who died.
The Portland stone memorial has the blessing of the German people after an inscription was included commemorating all the lives lost in the bombings of 1939-45.