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A Commanding Display

Bomber Command had more than 125,000 men who served as aircrew to protect our great nation. Just fewer than 70,000 people returned. With no doubt the role of the Bomber Command has been truly under recognised until now.

Bomber Command served its country from 1936 until 1968.  During World War 2 a total of 25,611 Bomber Command Aircrew lost their lives flying from Lincolnshire and adjacent airfields.

Due to this great loss The Lincolnshire Bomber Command Memorial Trust have decided to commission the construction of two new memorial structures, a spire and an interpretation centre under the title of The International Bomber Command Centre. Alan Wood & Partners were engaged as civil  & structural engineers to design the structures.

The Centre is going to be placed on a site adjacent to Canwick Hill, on the outskirts of Lincoln. This location has been chosen because of its central location in the area that was deeply connected to Bomber Command.

Many landmarks that were involved in WW2 surround the memorial site. RAF Waddington, which suffered the highest losses of all Bomber Command stations, is located 2.4 miles away. Also an Avro factory was located at Bracebridge Heath, which made Lancaster bombers during the war.

Lincoln Cathedral has a direct view of the new Bomber Command memorial. The Cathedral played a major role in Bomber Commands mission and still does. The Cathedral provided crews, leaving one of the county’s 27 stations, their last landmark when setting out on missions.  For those that returned safely it was the landmark that told them they were home.

The Cathedral holds three Rolls of Honour listing all those who made the ultimate sacrifice whilst serving in the Command.  It is these books that have provided the names which will be used on the Memorial walls.

International Bomber Command Image

Photo courtesy of Place Architects

The International Bomber Command Centre is made up of two elements, these are the Chadwick Centre and Memorial Spire. 

The Chadwick Centre is named after one of the most influential and prolific design engineers in the aeronautical industry. Chadwick was the designer of the iconic Lancaster bomber, which played a vital part in Bomber Command’s role.

The Chadwick Centre will accommodate exhibitions and displays. There will be various visitor facilities available including an education centre, a reference library, research facilities, a shop, a café and space for contemplation and peace.

The Memorial Spire is 31.09m tall, the length of a Lancaster’s wingspan. It will be encircled by a series of curved corten steel walls carrying the names of those listed in the Rolls of Honour held in Lincoln Cathedral.

The design concept for the memorial is based on two wing fragments, tapering as they rise towards the sky to form an asymmetrical conical shape, in juxtaposition with the cathedral towers on the north escarpment, and echoing the church spires which are so familiar and prominent in the Lincolnshire landscape.

The two wing fragments are connected by perforated linking plates, the inside faces of the wings being ribbed for structural strength. This arrangement of smooth, jointed external skin with internal faces having exposed supporting structure suggests the thin-skinned framed structures found in aircraft construction.

Both elements of the memorial are constructed of Corten steel plate, an alloyed steel which forms a patina, preventing corrosion.

International Bomber Command image 2

Photo courtesy of Place Architects

The names of the 25,611 Bomber Command airmen from Lincolnshire airbases are engraved on curved Corten steel walls.

Linking the Memorial Spire and the Chadwick Centre is the Memorial Avenue marking all of the 27 Bomber Command stations that where active during the war. Using local stone carrying the crest of that station and the squadrons, the avenue leads visitors to and from the Memorial Spire and the Chadwick Centre. In recognition of the men from around the Commonwealth and further, who served in Bomber Command, there will be an International Peace Garden with sculptures representing each of the nations involved.

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