Monday, February 6, 2012

Bomber Boys

Today I watched Bomber Boys at BBC one.
It's about Bomber Command in WW2, and about a young man of this time wanting to fly the last Lancaster.

My dad helped to built Lancasters and later flew on them.

His army chaplain and later good family friend was closely involved with the bombing of Dresden.

People have declaired that bombing an act of warcrime. And those who used lesser big words said the bombing was unnecessary.
They've conveniently forgotten the bombing of Coventry and other cities throughout Europe, the concentrationcamps, the killing of the Jews, the forced employment of young people in the army industry. Young people who had to work to create arms that would kill their own family.

My family was part of the resistance and my father decided not to stay until the Germans would come and force him to work in the German war industry.
He escaped to the UK and joined the RAF.

Some people think that WW2 was a time of heroism, but according to my dad it was time of war and the tremendous innner motivation to end it and make the world a better place for family friends and all other people.
He didn't want to fight, he wanted others to survive in freedom.

The bomber boys all paid a prize.
Some never returned from missions, others struggled the rest of their lives with their memories.

I feel privileged to have spoken with a few army men who shared their deepest feelings with me.
The fear, the enormous shock of friends not returning and the empty places on the airfield digging even deeper empty spaces in their hearts.
The ambiguity of killing people to enable others to stay alive. Not knowing if their familymembers would be still alive.

I wish my dad was still alive.
Not knowing what he did sometimes gets at me.
I know for sure he was in the RAF, because I went with him when he returned to England to visit some of the families he stayed with. I heard the stories.
It's so strange not to be able to find information about him and about his friend the army chaplain of the Dresden group.

When I watch programs like the Bomber Boys, I feel a strong protest inside me. Why didn't they get any acknowledgement?
My dad didn't get a medal, not even a simple pin. Maybe the English thought the Dutch would do and vise versa.
Just a few years ago the foreign participants in WW2RAF were mentioned at the remembrance service at the epitaph. I don't know if my email about the subject earlier that year was a contribution to this change.

As foreign children of former RAF men we're not acknowledged at all. To my feeling I should be there or I should be represented far more often, just in honor of those men who enabled us to live in peace now.
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