Bomber Command veterans face cash shortfall

  Forum Editor 18:25 04 Oct 2012

I wonder if anyone else was - like me - horrified to learn that a small group of war veterans is faced with having to fork out up to £500,000 towards the cost of the new WW2 Bomber Command memorial.

It's taken over sixty years for a proper memorial to be erected to the memory of the people of Bomber Command who lost their lives, and now it's finally there some of the survivors might have to sell their homes to finish paying for it.

I confess to a personal interest in this story - my father flew in Bomber Command - and I'm sadly disappointed that our government seems to be able to find tens of millions of pounds to pay for the consequences of a monumental blunder over train franchises, and millions of pounds to keep a radical Muslim Cleric for years at our expense, but it can't scrape up a relatively small amount to bail these old men out of trouble.

Surely we haven't entirely forgotten that we owe a considerable debt of gratitude to people like this?

  N47. 18:33 04 Oct 2012

Why don't they approach the national lottery for a grant?

Dave and his mates are saving the cash for tax cuts from 45% to 40% and to abolish inheritance tax, so they can ivest in the country.

  Flak999 18:35 04 Oct 2012

I agree entirely FE, it is a disgrace that the trustees of the memorial face having to sell their homes because of this. Hopefully the planned memorial concert will go some way to finding the funds needed.

However this really should not be necessary, as you say the Government can waste millions on the likes of Hamza and the debacle of the rail franchise. If ever their was a more worthy cause it is this!

  Forum Editor 18:40 04 Oct 2012


I may be wrong, but I believe Lottery funding was refused.

Dave and his Mates (as you call them) might want to reflect on the fact that paying this bill would amount to an investment in the country. One that was being made after the event as it were.

  aquatarkus 18:50 04 Oct 2012

I was listening to Nick Ferrari yesterday morning when he was looking through the papers, I really couldn't beleive what i was hearing.

Think David Cameron and all the rest should HANG THEIR HEADS IN SHAME at this absolutely outragous decision.

As the FE says they can find money for overseas aid, money for train franchise cockups but can't find they moneyto cover the cost of what is a very long overdue tribute so some very very brave young men. And the polititians wonder why we don't trust them, when are they ever going to learn. Sorry but this makes me want to cry. If you want to see what these brave young men did watch this tonight. Awe inspiring bravery. regards Aquatarkus

  VCR97 19:17 04 Oct 2012

Send a donation to the Bomber Command Memorial Fund as I will do tomorrow.

  wee eddie 20:42 04 Oct 2012

As much of the Olympic Funding came from the Lottery, on the instructions of the, then, Government.

I think that it is invidious of this Government to refuse Funding.

However, I think that I remember a number of articles, across the full range of Broadsheets and Private Eye, telling them (The Vets) that this outcome was a certainty if they built such a Grandiose Monument.

  Condom 21:55 04 Oct 2012

Personally I think it is an absolute disgrace that individuals have had to fork out their own money to fund this memorial. I am afraid that this appears to be a symptom of the present day UK that no one gives a damn for the sacrifices that many of our predecessors have made towards the liberty of this nation. I know there has always been debate about some of the decisions made by bomber command during the war but decisions made in war time need to be considered in the situation at the time.

If the present government can agree to compensate train bidders then surely the very least they can do is pay for this long due memorial. Perhaps they are being their usual self and considering if there are any votes in it.

  Forum Editor 22:45 04 Oct 2012


"Why was this monument built before the complete funding was in place?"

Because - like so many projects these days, the cost escalated after work had begun. In truth I believe that the shortfall is not so much a consequence of the building costs as the unexpectedly high cost of the opening ceremony.

The Trustees didn't make a mistake - as you put it - they are simply the victims of circumstances. Neither did they put their homes at risk. They didn't expect costs to rise to such a degree, and the homes are mentioned because that's the only way they are likely to be able to raise the money, if they have to.

Before you start preaching about people being baled out it might be an idea to think about the huge amounts of public money spent on baling out banks who got themselves into difficulties. The sum involved as far as this memorial is concerned pales into insignificance by comparison.

  Forum Editor 23:16 04 Oct 2012

I think the home-selling thing was a journalist's dream story - nobody seriously imagines that WW2 veterans will be placed in that position. The bulk of the government's contribution was actually an agreement to zero-rate VAT on the construction project. That amounted to £1million of the £1.5 million mentioned by the MoD.

The 92 year old's comment about having to sell his home may not have made sense to some people, but I'm sure it did to him - he was told that as a Trustee he would be personally liable for a share of the extra cost,and he was obviously very concerned.

I don't think anyone is trying to deny that there was a government contribution - surely it's right that there should be. As for Robin Gibb's widow, I'm sure she isn't scratching around for pennies, but that's not really the point, is it? In fact she's organising a concert to try to raise the necessary money, and she believes it will be successful in that respect. If that's the case the problem will be solved.

  Woolwell 00:00 05 Oct 2012

The majority of charity trustees will, if they are sensible, have trustee indemnity insurance. This normally covers honest mistakes but not if they have acted recklessly. I would be surprised if they did not have insurance and doubt that they acted recklessly.

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