21 Jun 2012

Bomber Command veterans head to UK ceremony

11:32 am on 21 June 2012

New Zealand Air Force veterans are travelling to Britain to attend the unveiling of a memorial dedicated to RAF pilots and air crew who lost their lives in WWII.

The Bomber Command Memorial in London is dedicated to the almost 60,000 men killed while bombing German targets vital to the Nazi war effort.

The crews undertook many operations including the 'Dambusters' raid in Germany in 1943.

Almost half the men who served with Bomber Command died in action.

Thirty-three surviving members of the 6000 New Zealand personnel who served in Bomber Command, aged between 87 and 94, left Whenuapai Airport in Auckland for London on Thursday morning.

New Zealand Bomber Command Association president Ron Mayhill says the bombing campaign was much criticised after the war and he is delighted those who took part are finally being given official recognition.

The Queen will unveil the memorial in London's Green Park next week.