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Bomber Command heroes head to new memorial


Reporter: Mark Taylor Reporter

Email: out&about@newburynews.co.uk
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A TRIO of heroic wartime bomber pilots are to join some of their former comrades at the unveiling of a major new memorial in London today (Thursday).

Squadron Leader John Boulter, aged 90, from Hanover Mead, Newbury, Wing Commander Leslie Weaver (pictured), aged 88, of Newtown Road, Newbury, and 86-year-old Flight Sergeant Les Vedmore, from Pamber Heath in Tadley, will attend the Bomber Command event in Green Park, London.

Flying ace Mr Weaver was part of Sir Arthur ‘Bomber’ Harris’ RAF Bomber Command crew, and took part in more than 20 missions flying Lancasters and other planes, bravely navigating enemy gunfire over Germany in the Second World War.

Mr Weaver, formerly of 619 Squadron Bomber Command, joined the Canadian RAF after the war and after retiring as a Wing Commander received more medals for bravery.

His wife Norma said she was immensely proud of her husband and said he and his fellow airmen deserved a tribute fitting of their efforts.

Mr Vedmore served as an air gunner on bombing raids to Italy in the Second World War.

The trio will join about 7,000 Bomber Command veterans, widows and family members from all over the world at the memorial to commemorate the loss of 55,573 Bomber airmen in the Second World War.

During the 30-minute ceremony the Queen will unveil a nine foot high bronze sculpture depicting seven Bomber Command aircrew.

A veteran will read an exhortation before the act of remembrance.

The ceremony will end with a flypast by five RAF GR4 Tornado bomber aircraft crewed by today’s Royal Air Force and a flypast by the RAF’s last flying Lancaster Bomber, which will drop poppies over Green Park as a message of remembrance for the 55,573 Bomber aircrew lost.

The memorial comes after five years of campaigning by the Bomber Command Association, and for many veterans and family members it represents closure and a long awaited acknowledgement of the significant contribution made by the 125,000 men who served in Bomber Command in World War Two.

See next week’s Newbury Weekly News to read how the war heroes enjoyed their day and for more pictures.

Don't forget to read the Newbury Weekly News — Berkshire's largest–selling local newspaper — out each Thursday morning.

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