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Thread: GREEN PARK - Bomber Command Memorial

  1. #41
    Senior Member ww2ni's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bomber Command Memorial, Green Park

    Looks really good ......and LONG overdue.

    Have to pay a visit the next time I am in London.

  2. #42
    Senior Member Tony H's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bomber Command Memorial, Green Park

    Part 1 of a two part update from someone taking part in the ceremonial event

    Having left Northolt at 7AM in (very refreshing) light drizzle, we arrived at Wellington Barracks at 9AM (rush hour!) However there was an audiable groan at 1015 when it was revealed the temperature was now a balmy 28 deg!!

    At 1026 and 40 secs (precisely) the RAF Central Band led the QCS, UAS's and the RAF Standards out of Wellington Barracks to be greeted by X,000's who had just watched Changing of the Guard . . ..

    Within seconds, we were marching past Buckingham Palace on our left and the Victoria Memorial on our right before entering Green Park via Canada Gate

    Here the QCS and UAS continued on as the Stnds & Escorts had a brief wait. During the wait,we experienced the bizzare sight of being greeted by HRH Duke of York & Duke of Wessex who "had decided to walk" to the event as it was a nice day and they simply stopped to chat!! (followed by several "suits and earpieces")

    Then we marched up to the memorial passing the Salute Area on the left, & Joe Public on the right, the applause was terrrific and well appreciated

    Finally making to the memorial, I nearly lost my toecaps to the Royal Bentley when HMTQ arrived as her car was very close! Utter honour to carry out Royal Salute present arms to HMTQ

    Although the QCS were on parade, the honour of Standard Escorts fell to 18 Sqn Odiham and 78 Sqn Benson both ex BC Sqns

    78 Sqn by pure luck gained pole position in being immediately L/R of the memorial (I was 1st on the right - if looking at the statues)

    Facing the veterans I was infront of the Kiwi or Ausssie wheelchair contingent - I also managed to clock several Poles and a Maple Leaf badge being prouldy worn

    Apart from the obvious veteran and some multi national uniforms a sea of faces and far too many TV cameras stared back at me

    After the flypasts / poppydrop, a march off left wheel saw 78 Sqn lead off one group of standards to the left back the way we came, whilst 18 Sqn led the far group down Constitution Hill

    From our group 83 yr old Ron Pearson carrying the BCA Stnd was led back to the memorial (via Picadilly) to meet HMTQ

    More marching back to Canada Gate amid even more cheering and applause on the return leg

    Arrived back at Benson at 6PM utterly shattered but very proud

    secind installment to follow shortly . . . .

    Tony

  3. #43
    Senior Member Tony H's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bomber Command Memorial, Green Park

    Update Part 2

    Concurrent to the move of the parade personnel . . .

    A second group of 78 Sqn personnel from Benson travelled to the event to act as ushers in the memorial area (there were also many others from across the country but we provided the lions share)

    Having seen them on their return tonight I can add in a few snippits from them

    The 78 Sqn contingent consisted of "the Boss" aircrew and engineers (who had family links to BC) The Boss was on front row veteran water bottle duties and the others were "all over" the memorial area

    One of our number bumped into one of the two still surviving Norwegian members of BC (the other was too ill to attend) After routine chit chat it emerged he served on Halifax's. A quick call to the Boss followed and it is being arranged for this gent to visit 78 at some point in the future (don't know his name - yet!)

    Elsewhere multiple "on three engines and a dead MUG" tales emerged but alas no one from the current 78 met any actual 78 "vets"

    As expected in the heat, several vets had heat stress related issues and a fleet of medics were on hand to assist. I have heard of only one more serious medical issue but I nothing more on that specific case

    On the topic of the poppy drop. Obviously I didn't see it as I could not look up! although I could not miss the roar of four Merlin engines

    I have been advised that although the poppy drop occurred a thermal pushed the poppies up again. Multiple UAS personnel used brilliant initiative to go and collect as many as possible - to hand them out to the veterans as they found them . . .

    Finally to end on an amusing tale ~ Listen very carefully I shall say zis only once!

    Two 78 Sqn ushers "clocked" a nice looking woman walking towards them. Being perfect gents they exchanged formalities before realising this woman was the actress Vicky Michelle ~ AKA "Yvette" from the sitcom "Allo Allo" Naturally within seconds Aircrew humour saw the question asked "Was she was here to help any stupid British Airmen hiding in the cellar" - Quelle Suprise - it turns out she also had relatives who served in BC too . . .

    A memorable end to a memorable day for all who attended or participated & the proudest day of my 24.5 year career - so far!

    Tony H
    78 Sqn
    RAF Benson

  4. #44
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    Default Re: Bomber Command Memorial, Green Park

    Tony, I can well understand how you feel. As a Brat I did a number of route-linings in London, including in The Mall, in Whitehall and around Horseguards. We also route-lined at the RAF rveiew at Abingdon in 1968. All of these ocassions were really exciting.

    I didn't get run down by HM's car, but I was nearly trampled by the Blues and Royals; however, that's another story.

  5. #45
    Senior Member Robin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bomber Command Memorial, Green Park

    Hi Tony.

    Well done, it was a wonderful day. I left home at 07.30 for the train journey to London, as I had to be in Green Park for a briefing at 09.30. We were in the 'Salute Area' with a Stage and 'Big Screen', in front of rows and rows of veterans and their families. After various 'artists' had done their thing, we were formed up with our Standards and marched out to the front of the stage behind the RAF Waddington Pipe Band, the reception from the veterans was fantastic. We then stood there in the steaming heat while a choir on the stage sang, we then did our 'Dip Standards' and stood at attention while someone read the poem "High Flight", I could feel the sweat running down between my shoulder blades. It was soon over and we all marched off to great applause. After going into the arena, and having a chat to various veterans, we watched the 'Royals' arrive on the 'Big Screen', and then the flypast took place, as I no longer had my Standard, I could look up and also watch the reaction of the veterans as the Lancaster flew over and dropped the poppies, it really was a picture. On my way back to Victoria Station to get my train, as I walked past Buckingham Palace, I was 'accosted' by an Australian family, who, having seen my medal, knew where I had been, and wanted to know what the unveiling had been like, and they all wanted to have their photograph taken with me, it took so long that I only just made my train. As you said, it was a memorable day, and having been in the lining party at Westminster Abbey on many occasions when HM The Queen and other members of the Royal Family have been present, I know exactly how you feel. All I can say is that you did a fantastic job, and that I felt very proud of you, and proud to have worn the same uniform. Well done.

    Robin.

  6. #46
    Senior Member airfields man's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bomber Command Memorial, Green Park



    Even though I wasn't in attendance, someone who was passed on to me the above, also The Salute Programme. For this I am very grateful.

  7. #47
    Senior Member Thor43's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bomber Command Memorial, Green Park

    A commemorative tie - and headscarf for the ladies - was made for the event and are still available. I shall post a photo soon. Funds still needed to pay for the Dedication as the MoD didn't come up with their promised 200,000.

  8. #48
    OTBC Paul Francis's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bomber Command Memorial, Green Park

    A couple of pics. Very difficult to photograph, I have been here twice now and its always packed with people
    Attached Images Attached Images

  9. #49
    Senior Member Robin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bomber Command Memorial, Green Park

    Quote Originally Posted by Thor43 View Post
    A commemorative tie - and headscarf for the ladies - was made for the event and are still available.
    Hi Thor43.

    Did you manage to get a picture of the items.

    Robin.

  10. #50
    Senior Member Tony H's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bomber Command Memorial, Green Park

    Hi

    For info I can confirm that contrary to what is listed above, the 617 Sqn Standard was on parade - albeit being carried by an exchange officer in the Konnilijke Luchtmacht / Royal Netherlands Air Force who was extremely honoured to undertake this duty

    Tony H
    78 Sqn
    RAF Benson
    (One of the four Escorts to the RAF Sqn Stnds at the BCM 28/6/12)

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