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WWII Bomber Command heroes to get London monument

13 May 10 20:24 GMT

A £3.5m permanent monument to the World War II heroes of RAF Bomber Command is to be built in central London.

Westminster Council gave permission for the open style pavilion at the Piccadilly entrance to Green Park.

The memorial, which should be built by 2012, will commemorate the 55,573 crew of Bomber Command, with an average age of 22, who were killed in World War II.

Its role was to attack Germany's airbases, troops, shipping and industries connected to the war effort.

During the war the command ensured the damage caused to London's squares, streets and parks from German bombs was not as extensive as it could have been.

Halifax bomber

Councillor Alastair Moss, chairman of Westminster City Council's planning applications sub committee, said: "This new landmark for London is a fitting tribute to the heroes of Bomber Command who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.

"It is a sign of this country's gratitude to these exceptional people who were brave enough to fight for us and it will stand as an iconic London monument marking how good came to triumph over evil for many generations to come."

The roof of the 8.5m-tall pavilion, made from Portland Stone, will be open to the sky and the open entrance will be made from melted down aluminium sections of a Halifax bomber shot down during the war and in which all seven of the crew were killed.

It will also house a sculpture of the seven aircrew by the sculptor Philip Jackson.

The memorial will contain inscriptions, carvings, and a dedication.

There will also be inscriptions from Winston Churchill, who said in a speech to Parliament in 1940: "The gratitude of every home in our island ... and indeed throughout the world except in the abodes of the guilty goes out to the British airmen who undaunted by odds, un-weakened by their constant challenge and mortal danger, are turning the tide of world war by their prowess and their devotion."

The monument had been promoted by the Bomber Command Association with assistance from the Royal Air Force and the Heritage Foundation.

The concept behind the memorial, its size, design and location in a Grade II listed park, has attracted some objections from groups including the Westminster Society, the Knightsbridge Association and the London Parks and Gardens Trust.

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