A DECORATED Second World War hero from Mansfield will look on tomorrow as the Queen unveils a ‘long overdue’ memorial to 55,000 of his comrades.
Ron Brown (91), who survived two tours of duty with Bomber Command, will attend the dedication of the memorial in London’s Green Park with 3,400 other veterans.
Ron was a co-pilot in Lancaster and Stirling bombers, and is looking forward to ‘opening the hangar doors’ - chatting to his former comrades in 75 New Zealand Squadron.
But he says tomorrow’s event will also be a sad reminder of the number of young lives lost and something which should have happened years ago.
“So many people are no longer here and will miss out on seeing it. There were 55,000 who didn’t return, most 18, 19 or 20-years-old, they should have been honoured long ago.”
During his two tours with Bomber Command, Ron took part in 64 missions, including D-Day which was supposed to have been his wedding day.
“All leave was cancelled and there was a complete black out so I couldn’t tell anyone,” he said. “Even the vicar turned up for the wedding but instead of walking down the aisle I was towing a glider of American troops over to Normandy.”
On his second tour, Ron was supposed to fly 34 missions, but on the 30th his aircraft was hit by flak over Cologne and had to make a crash landing in Suffolk.
All seven of the crew managed to scramble to safety before the fuel tank exploded, but four were left deaf and their flying days were over.