The world’s last two airworthy Lancaster bombers and the only remaining flying Vulcan flew across the Lincolnshire skies today in celebration of the turf cutting ceremony marking the beginning of the construction phase of the International Bomber Command Centre (IBCC) in Lincoln.
One of the Lancasters, “Vera”, was recently flown from Canada where she is based. This will be her last transnational flight. The Vulcan is also due to make its last flight in 2014. This formation has been named the Three Ship Tour.
The IBCC is the brainchild of The Lord Lieutenant of Lincolnshire, Tony Worth, and will establish a world-class facility to serve as a point for recognition, remembrance and reconciliation for Bomber Command.
Some of the remaining veterans attended today’s ceremony including Squadron Leader Geoffrey Whittle DFM, who served in 101 Squadron during WW2 based at Ludford Magna, undertook the cutting of the first turf.
Other veterans included Air Commodore Charles Clarke, President of the Bomber Command Association and Squadron Leader George “Johnny” Johnson DFC, the last remaining British Dambuster.
The veterans were joined by 260 guests from around the country including the Vice Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal (ACM) Sir Stuart Peach, Lord Lieutenant of Lincolnshire, Tony Worth and Major Wesley Oke from the Royal Canadian Air Force.
Says Nicky Barr, Project Director of IBCC, “This event proved to be an extremely emotional experience for those attending. These three planes will never fly together again.
“It is vitally important that the stories of those who served, supported and suffered are captured and preserved for future generations and this is a key aim of the IBCC which is planned to be completed by September 2015.
“As an integral part of this plan the project’s researchers are working with the veterans to record their memories through oral histories, videography and digitising their log books and other personal documents.”
Siren FM spoke to the Veterans and those behind the project. Click below to hear the special programme, presented by Ben Pickard, produced by Ed Wellman.