Last night, Dame Judi Dench paid tribute to the thousands of young men from Bomber Command who were killed during the Second World War when she visited the Bomber Command Memorial in Green Park, London.
The Memorial, unveiled last June by Her Majesty The Queen, commemorates the 55,573 young men who lost their lives while serving in Bomber Command during the Second World War.
As the guardian of the Bomber Command Memorial, the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund is committed to preserving the Memorial for future generations, so that the noble sacrifice of the young men who lost their lives while serving in Bomber Command will always be remembered.
As part of this commitment, it has recently launched a club named the 'Upkeep Club', the aim of which is to raise money to maintain the Memorial for future generations; the Club is delighted to announce that Dame Judi Dench has agreed to become its first Patron.
Dame Judi Dench said:
“I am delighted to become a Patron of the Upkeep Club. The Bomber Command Memorial, which so nobly honours the sacrifice of the fallen aircrew, has already become a place of pilgrimage for relatives and former acquaintances of the ‘Bomber Boys’ lost during the Second World War. Veterans and widows, often having travelled thousands of miles, are reminded of treasured friendships and past romance, so prematurely ended, so fondly recalled. Through membership of the Upkeep Club, people can directly support the commemoration of those who died for our individual and national freedoms.”
Air Marshal Chris Nickols, Controller of the RAF Benevolent Fund said:
"As the proud guardian of the Bomber Command Memorial, the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund is committed to ensuring that the remarkable bravery and sacrifice of the young aircrew, who gave their lives defending our freedom during the Second World War, will always be remembered. To this end, we need to raise £1.5 million to ensure that the Memorial can be preserved for future generations. We're delighted to announce that Dame Judi Dench has agreed to become a Patron of the Bomber Command Memorial Upkeep Club and we hope it inspires many more to join."
Named after Barnes Wallis’ famous bouncing bomb used in the great Dambuster Raid of May 1943, which was codenamed 'Upkeep', the 'Upkeep Club' has been established for individuals who wish to give at least £1,000 towards the upkeep of the Memorial for the future.
Also joining Dame Judi at the Memorial was Second World War veteran Air Commodore Charles Clarke OBE and WAAF veteran Mrs Igraine Hamilton, both Upkeep Club members.