Bomber groups' roll of honour



Bomber groups' roll of honour


Newspaper article about a memorial service at Lincoln Cathedral where 2000 men, women and children bereaved during the war of family members were assembled to see two Bomber Command memorial books consigned to the Airmen's chapel of St Michael. The books were inscribed with the names of 21,000 of No 1 and 5 Bomber Groups stationed in Lincolnshire. Gives account of ceremony.



Temporal Coverage




One newspaper cutting


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[Photograph] The Airmen’s Chapel in Lincoln Cathedral, in which were placed on Tuesday, the Memorial Books of Nos. 1 and 5 Bomber Groups, R.A.F. – A “Chronicle” photograph.



“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes,” read the Assistant Chaplain-in-Chief of the Royal Air Force (the Rev. J. N. Keeling), from the seventh chapter of Revelation, at a great memorial ceremony, which took place in Lincoln Cathedral on Tuesday.

BUT it was tears – tears of remembrance – which epitomised the service. Many eyes were wet among the 2,000 men, women and children bereaved during the war of husbands, sons, brothers and fathers, who assembled in the Minster to see two Bomber Command memorial books consigned to the Airmen’s Chapel of St. Michael. In the books were inscribed the names of 21,000 of Nos. 1 and 5 Bomber Groups, stationed in Lincolnshire and surrounding counties, who lost their lives in operations from 1939 to 1945.
Altogether 3,500 attended the service. Seats filled the Nave and transepts, and every seat was taken. The congregation saw a ceremony of colour, precision, solemnity – and tears. Medals glittered on the breasts of hundreds of former airmen, who had come to see the tribute paid to the memory of those whom the war had made comrades, and whom the war had taken from them. At the Airmen’s Chapel, where the books were presented by Air Marshal Sir Aubrey Ellwood, Commander-in-Chief of Bomber Command, young and elderly women wept.

“Care for Them”

Powerful movie-camera arc lamps beat down upon the scene as Sir Aubrey handed the books to the Subdean.
“I bid you take good care of them,” he said, the Subdean (Canon A. M. Cook), replying: “Sir, we shall ever treasure these books which you deposit here to-day in grateful memory of those who are therein commemorated.”
The ceremony, broadcast by the B.B.C., started when Sir Aubrey, accompanied by two wing commanders who bore the books, was met at the Great West Door by the Bishop of Lincoln (the Rt. Rev. M. H. Harland), himself a pilot in the 1914-1918 war. The Bishop was accompanied by the Chapter of the Cathedral. Then, as the Central Band of the Royal Air Force played the Royal Air Force March, the procession of clergy, officers, and members of Lincoln Corporation, with their attendant officials, moved down the Nave towards the altar. There the books were laid on tables sited at either side, and the Ensign of the Royal Air Force was presented to the Bishop of Lincoln, who laid it upon the altar.

[Photograph] 20th Century Portraits. The Books of Remembrance of No. 1 and No. 5 Bomber Groups, R.A.F., in the procession from the Morning Chapel of Lincoln Cathedral to the Great West Door of the Cathedral, where they were received by the Bishop of Lincoln and placed in the Airmen’s Chapel.

Their Loveliest Sight

Before the presentation ceremony took place, a sermon was preached by the Bishop of Lincoln, who said that it was right that the books should be deposited in the Cathedral over which the men flew, and which was their last and loveliest sight of England. ”We think of the men of the aircrews looking at it as they passed on their way to the infernos of peril, terror and destruction, and their sense of relief as they saw it again on their return, knowing they were home and safe,” said the Bishop of Lincoln.
After the presentation and dedication at the Airmen’s Chapel, trumpeters sounded the call of the Royal Air Force, the “Last Post” and “Reveille.” The procession then returned to the Nave, the spurs of the Lord Lieutenant of the County (Lord Brownlow), providing a jingling accompaniment to the organ’s soft playing.

March Past

After giving the Blessing, the Bishop of Lincoln returned the Ensign to the Ensign party. The service ended with a procession to the Vestry and the south-east door by the clergy, choir, officers and Corporation.
The ceremony was relayed to the precincts of the Cathedral. A march past of 300 airmen followed, the salute being taken on the Minster Green by Air Marshal Ellwood. With him were the Bishop, members of Lincoln Corporation, including the Mayor (Ald. H. W. Martin), and the City Sheriff (Mr. John H. Smith).
The two officers who carried the memorial books were Wing Commander K. P. Smales, stationed at Scampton, and Wing Commander D. R. Stubbs, who is at Coningsby R.A.F. Station. One of the four airmen who formed the Ensign party was Engineer W. R. Brownjohn, of Branston.



A collection of 3,000 model soldiers will be on show at Messrs. West’s Motor Showrooms, High-street, Lincoln, for a week commencing 28 November. They are drafts from an army of 10,000 model soldiers, the majority of them moulded and hand painted by Captain Lightbody.
Each model is painted in full dress uniform, and they are complete to the finest detail. As an example of the work involved, each piper in the Scottish regiments took a month to paint.
The display, which should appeal to old and young alike, is part of the Army recruitment campaign. Included in the display is a replica of this year’s Trooping of the Colour, in which the King is seen seated instead of being mounted. Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Gloucester are also there, and all eight guards, consisting of 68 men and three officers. The brilliant colours of the Guardsmen make this set one of the most vivid of the four to be seen.
The others include the inspection of the Royal Scots Greys and Black Watch at Edinburgh Castle; the finale of the original Aldershot Tattoo. Model Bailey bridges, tanks and artillery are used in a modern battle scene.
The man responsible, Captain Lightbody, started collecting model soldiers 30 years ago, and he has now held over 130 exhibitions.


“Bomber groups' roll of honour,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed April 18, 2024,

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