IBCC Gala Dinner
On the evening of 23rd Feb, the Officers’ Mess proudly hosted a Gala Dinner and Charity Auction to raise funds for the International Bomber Command Centre (IBCC).
Guest of honour was Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier KCB CBE DFC ADC MA RAF accompanied by Lady Hillier.
The evening began with all 8 Standards of the still active Bomber Command Squadrons being ceremoniously marched into the dining room before the standing guests. This poignant beginning set the tone for what became a night of cheerful remembrance, dedicated to the 1 million men and women, from 60 nations who served or supported Bomber Command.
Air Commodore Jez Attridge took to the stage as the auctioneer for the evening. His infectious enthusiasm had the guests digging deep to support Lincolnshire’s latest tourist attraction. This generosity was matched by the suitably extravagant prize donations; from sports memorabilia to boutique hotels and parachute jumps to VIP lunch at the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, the auction catalogue bristled with tempting and indulgent offerings.
The assembled guests representing both Lincolnshire employers and defence industries raised a staggering £10,000 for the IBCC. This unexpected total represents the strength of feeling and support for the 73,814 members of Bomber Command who were killed, wounded or became prisoners of war.
The unimaginable risks taken and unrivalled losses were surmised passionately during Mr Seb Cox’s (Head of the Air Historical Branch) after dinner speech. He was joined on the top table by representatives of 5 of the 60 nations that made-up Bomber Command.
Lincoln has been chosen for the site of the IBCC memorial and centre as it provides a central point for all 27 bases that earned Lincolnshire the title of ‘Bomber County’.
The Spire commands stunning views across Lincoln, with a focus on the City’s ancient Cathedral, which served as a sighting point for crews flying from Lincolnshire. For many of the men named on the accompanying walls, the Cathedral provided their last sight of Britain.
It is now recognised as the UK’s tallest war memorial. The money raised on the evening will help the IBCC to continue to provide a world-class facility serving as a point for recognition, remembrance and reconciliation for Bomber Command. The Centre honours all who served, supported, or suffered in the bombing campaigns of WWII.
The IBCC is now open and is an excellent family day out.