A group of 32 Bomber Command veterans have been farewelled on their way to London for the unveiling of an official memorial by the Minister of Veterans’ Affairs Nathan Guy.
The new memorial in London will pay tribute to the 55,000 Bomber Command personnel who were killed during World War II, including 1,851 New Zealanders.
“The unveiling by Her Majesty the Queen will pay tribute to so many who gave their lives on what were highly dangerous missions.
“The Royal New Zealand Air Force played a major part in this conflict, with 6,000 New Zealanders serving. Their mission was the strategic bombing of key targets that were considered critical to the war effort.
“I’m proud that the Government is funding eligible veterans who served in the RNZAF and who meet the health requirements.
“This event will pay tribute to the sacrifices of so many, and remember those young New Zealanders who never returned home.”
The 32 veterans, aged 87 to 94, will travel to London by RNZAF Boeing 757 with all costs covered by the Government.
The 70 metre long memorial built in London’s Green Park to honour the men of Bomber Command has been paid for by the public and benefactors.
“I want to extend my sympathies to those who are unable to attend because of health reasons. The trip to London will be long and gruelling and the wellbeing of veterans has to be paramount.”
A commemorative service will be held in Wellington for veterans not able to undertake the trip to London.
Source: Office of Nathan Guy