Remembrance and Respect
The Wings Museum works closely with the families of aircrew to locate lost aircraft in order for a permanent memorial to be erected on the site in memory of the crew. Public money is often used to pay for the cost of the memorial and without public support this work would not be viable. This work is carried out by dedicated volunteers whose mission is that of remembrance and respect.
“All Wings Museum memorial stones are the same shape, with one corner cut off, this represents the sudden ending of a life”.
55,573 Bomber Command crew members lost their lives in the Second World War. The Wings Museum has paid tribute to 36 of these men. It is a tiny fraction of the human loss but represents many years of research and crash site investigation.
The family of Pilot Officer Genville Stanley RCAF pay their emotional personal tributes at his grave at Schoonselhof Cemetery in Belgium.
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Although the museum does not sell recovered aircraft parts, we do, on occasion, make up boards which are presented to relatives of the aircrew, or individuals that have assisted the museum in its research and enquiries.
Read below what real families have to say about our memorial work….
“I felt compelled to write and offer our sincere gratitude for the work you have carried out. Our Uncle was shot down over Antwerp in 1943 and until we read the article, which you cleverly included in the Devon Independent seeking relatives of Sgt. Vardre Lewis the Rear Gunner, we as a family had always believed he was missing presumed killed and my parents went to their graves always believing he was possibly alive somewhere.
Through your great endeavours you were able to prove that not only was his plane shot down at Kasterlee but that his grave was in the military cemetery on the outskirts of Antwerp. Through your careful research I was able to bring along several members of my uncle’s family to attend the wonderful memorial service at Kasterlee and visit his grave for the first time. I can never ever put into words of appreciation what is felt not only by my family, but particularly by myself as I had always hero-worshipped Vardre and a point I might have forgotten to mention at the time, I was pageboy at his wedding.
The exhibition at Kasterlee showing parts recovered of JN920 that you were able to resurrect was so professionally carried out with a memorial to each member of the crew and the compassionate way in which this was shown. Having had the privilege of seeing the video of how you worked with the digger to dangerously extract these parts from a swamp is beyond the call of duty and it shows the compassion and joy which you have for your work.
I consider this work not just important, but is vital, as there are so many familes who have lost their loved ones in the war and still believe them to be missing.
I hope that your work continues for many years to come but also believe it unfair that these expenses should be borne by your family as in my opinion there should be some centralised funding for such work.
I look forward to our continued friendship.
Mr A. Loze – Nephew of Sgt. T.V. Lewis
“I am most grateful for all that you have done and I would like to extend my support to you in your work. If there is anything that Dad or I can do for you please do not hesitate to ask. I hope the memorial weekend was special for you also – you thoroughly deserved it!”
Mr. H Smith – Great Nephew to Sgt. T.V. Lewis
“It is clear to me that your group has carried out a comprehensive research into the loss of JN920. It is also no mean feat to organise a site for and the subsequest erection of a memorial to Flight Sgt. Hall and his crew. I am deeply conscious of all your hard work and intend to provide up to 4 currently serving Squadron personnel to attend the ceremony in Belgium”.
Wing Commander David R. Paton BA, RAF 51 Squadron