Bomber pilots' stories told
Tales of the brave airmen who served in Bomber Command during World War II will be preserved for generations thanks to a website set up in their memory.
Birkenhead woman Emily Gordon, who works as an exhibition co-ordinator at Motat, has helped launch the site which is the product of almost two decades' work.
Bomber Command veteran John Barton, who served as a navigator for 101 squadron, spent hours researching Bomber Command, including flight path details and the names of New Zealanders who served in the Royal Air Force.
His wish was to see the stories of all those who fought with Bomber Command immortalised.
When Mr Barton died in 2007 he left his project in the hands of close friend Alan Taylor who joined forces with Ms Gordon to produce the website.
"The material came to us in a CD-Rom that John had put together.
"There was a lot of fascinating detail on it but it wasn't really accessible.
"We wanted to publish it in a way that would also allow people to contribute their own stories and memories."
"Instead of just a database of names, I wanted to preserve the personalities of the people rather than just a whole lot of facts and figures.
"There is something quite important about getting these stories out there, because sadly once these people die a certain part of that history is lost."
Bomber Command was formed in 1936 and was the Royal Air Force's only offensive arm.
Airmen from Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and America served in the unit attacking German military resources and industry.
The average age of pilots was just 22 years old and they faced some of the most terrifying combat conditions of World War II.
Out of about 120,000 servicemen that flew with Bomber Command, more than 55,000 were killed in either battle or training.
Up to 6000 New Zealanders are believed to have served with the unit.
Men and women who served with Bomber Command are eligible to apply for the Bomber Command Clasp and the Arctic Star.
Go to medals.nzdf.mil.nz to download an application form or for more information.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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