Motorbike racer Ben Wilson is supporting a campaign to build a memorial in honour of the men who served in Lincolnshire Bomber Command during World War II.
An appeal to raise more than £4million for the memorial and interpretation centre was launched in May this year and, in a bid to raise awareness and funds, Ben will wear the memorial logo on his leathers, when he competes in the British Superbike Championship at Cadwell Park, during the August bank holiday weekend.
The campaign is particularly close to Ben’s heart because his grandfather Syd Marshall is a Bomber Command veteran.
Syd said: “I am delighted that there will, at last, be somewhere to tell people all about Bomber Command and let them find out more about those people that served, many of them losing their lives in the process. We have been forgotten for such a long time that to have the facility to tell our story is hugely important.
“Seeing the names of those that gave their lives as listed in the memorial books, many of them people I served with, on this awe-inspiring memorial will be emotional experience. It is about time we honoured their sacrifice.”
Ben, who is originally from Kirton, near Boston, said: “I really wanted to do my bit to support this campaign for my grandfather.
“There were 125,000 aircrew serving in Bomber Command during World War II with an attrition rate of 42 per cent, it was more dangerous than being an infantryman in World War I. Of those deaths 46 per cent flew from Lincolnshire never to return.
“I believe it is vitally important that there is a memorial in Lincolnshire to remember these heroes.”
Ben’s grandfather was one of 350 special guests who attended the campaign launch at the Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre on May 30 and unveiled the winning design for the Memorial to be erected at Canwick Hill, opposite Lincoln Cathedral.
The Memorial, by award winning structural artist Walter Jack, is entitled The Spire of Names, and the location is particularly poignant because the Cathedral was used as a beacon by the aircrew returning home from their missions.
As well as the The Spire of Names, the memorial park will also include an Interpretation Centre, displaying the collective story of Bomber Command, telling the stories of those that served and supported the Bomber as well as educational facilities for school children to find out more information about the war. It will also house the world’s largest searchable digitised database on the Command.
There will also be two peace gardens. The first with with memorial trees, planted in soil taken from each of the 27 Bomber Command bases in Lincolnshire, alongside a stone marker bearing the station’s name and insignia and the second an International Peace Garden featuring sculptures representing each of the nations that served in Bomber Command.
Anyone interested in finding out more information, or making a donation, should visit www.lincsbombercommandmemorial.com