Digital project to tell story of WWII Bomber Command

The crew of a Lancaster bomber walk away from their plane after a flight while ground crew check it over, April 1943 The project aims to include pictures, service records and audio recordings from crew members

Work is under way on a digital project to "bring to life" the stories of the crews who served on Bomber Command during World War II.

It is part of a scheme by the Lincolnshire Memorial Trust that will see the creation of an interpretation centre and memorial in Lincoln.

The first phase will see the Rolls of Honour, housed inside the city's cathedral, put on a database.

They list the names of 25,611 airmen killed while based in the county.

A familiar landmark

Lancaster Bomber over Lincoln Cathedral
  • During WWII, Lincoln Cathedral was used by many pilots and navigators as a beacon to let them know they had returned home safely
  • The value of the cathedral is commemorated on the RAF Waddington station crest, which depicts the three towers rising from the cloud and fog
  • The building also houses Rolls of Honour detailing the 25,611 aircrew who lost their lives while serving in the county during the war
  • The first two books were received by the Bishop of Lincoln, Maurice Harland - himself a veteran pilot of WWI - in 1949

Source: Lincoln Cathedral

Nicky Barr, from the trust, said: "The interpretation centre will house the world's largest digitised database on Bomber Command.

"The concept behind the plan is to enable modern technology to tell the stories by incorporating scanned documents, service records, personal stories and photographs."

Lincolnshire-based firm Pretorian UK is transcribing the cathedral's records.

Managing director Dave Gilbert said: "This is such an important project to so many people and we are delighted to lend our expertise and time to ensuring that generations to come can learn about Bomber Command and all those who served, or supported its work."

The trust is also bidding to build a 50m (164ft) steel spire on Canwick Hill, facing Lincoln Cathedral, with the names of the airmen inscribed on it.

Bomber Command veteran Syd Marshall 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."

A ground crew move a 4,000 pound blast bomb into position for loading onto a Lancaster bomber, 18 October 1943 It is hoped the names of all 125,000 aircrew, ground crew and support staff will be included in the database

The project is also being supported by the Imperial War Museum, University of Lincoln and a number of squadron associations.

The database will be accessible via the trust's web site - with full accounts available at the interpretation centre.

Future plans will include adding details to the database of all 125,000 airmen, ground crew and support staff who were part of Bomber Command.

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