There has been an emotional victory for a World War Two rear gunner who had been told that he would not be allowed to help honour his comrades who never made it home.
Freddie Johnson helped to raise money for a Bomber Command memorial in London only be refused a place at the unvieling ceremony - that was until Calendar heard about his story. Matt Price reports. Vid below,
Thought you might be interested in this: This was posted on the Support the Bomber Command Memorial Pages by Steve Darlow (the author who will be there with his book on the day) on behalf of a young lady who is one of the backroom girls..
"The Bomber Command Assn is a small organisation consisting of volunteers and a couple of paid workers who accept they cant be paid at the moment because we need the funds for the dedication and unveiling.
The recent articles have been factually incorrect (not unusual for the 'Daily Fail' as one of my colleagues call it...) and its unfortunate that we are not allowed to comment on them individually, but that would involve disclosing personal details. This is not a PR smokescreen we promise (working under the UK Data Protection Act I know where she is coming from!).
There are a lot of misconceptions around. First Veterans are not excluded or limited; we want them there and they will be there. How could anyone imagine the BCA didnt want that is beyond comprehension. The veterans need support which means some of the tickets are taken up with carers/partners - we would not limit tickets to a veteran and expect them to come alone.
Second, right or wrongly in your view, we have also (equally) prioritised the families of the 55,573. These were the people who lost sons and brothers, and for the children, their fathers; most of those children (now in their 70s) never knew their fathers. The BCA felt their right to attend was equal to veterans. Imagine a ceremony this year for the fallen in Afghanistan which was only for servicemen/veterans and not for the widows and children.
Regarding VIP attendance. We want the Chiefs of the Air Forces from the UK and other nations there to represent the acknowledgement that we are 67 years late in recognising their predecessors and look the veterans in the eye and say that. We want the Royal Family there to represent their respect for Bomber Command (HM always smiles when she sees her Air Force especially BBMF!). Beyond that, there are some key people, like Jim Dooley, who have given their all to campaigning for this memorial. Defence Ministers, Andrew Rowbotham and Gerald Howarth, long ago offered up their Memorial Area seats and will instead work supporting guests in the Memorial area along with the RAF. This is not a VIP junket.
Finally the abuse that the team is receiving is distressing. One email included the message "Isn't it sad, the Nazis couldn't keep these brave men down, but you pathetic pen pushers at the RAF Museum can" (they dont work for the Museum though BCA is based there so wrong info again!)" You should be ashamed of yourselves, but somehow, I don't think shame is an emotion you have." This is hard for people trying their best, with no financial support, 7 days a week. Sometimes its hard to keep going in the face of that when we care so desperately. We will continue to do everything we can, I promise.
In remembrance of Sgt Edgar Harvey who died in December 1942 with the rest of the crew.