New Zealand Bomber Command Association



Bomber Command Memorial Service 2024

Service Welcome
(Credit: Tudor Prelipceanu)

Opening Address from NZBCA President Bruce Hebbard

This is the first service that I can remember that we have not had a veteran present. With our four remaining veterans over 100 years of age it is not easy for them to get out and about as they used to. They still can still read the reports the service later and I am sure it will be with great interest on their part.

Welcome also to all the families of past and present veterans in attendance and I thank for joining us today.

To everyone in this magnificent Hall of Memories today welcome and thank you for your attendance.

I wish to especially thank the Hon Paul Goldsmith in his capacity as Minister of Heritage and Air Vice Marshall Darryn Webb Head of the Air Force for making time in their busy schedules to attend this commemoration.

Thanks to No 5 Squadron who have attended today in force and provided our flag bearers for today’s service.

Another big thank you to the cadets of No 3 Cadet Squadron who are assisting us today and no doubt some of you have engaged with already and some will provide readings during the service. AVM Webb if you can entice any one of them to join your ranks your or should I say our Air Force it will be the better for it!

In 2012, I attended the ANZAC day service in Westminster Abbey London, where the Ambassadors of Australia, New Zealand and Turkey took a role in this magnificent service.

In 2019 a high-ranking German Naval Officer (whose name I can’t recall) attended a commemoration of the sinking of the Tirpitz in Tromso Norway along with people from all over the world. Time is a great healer and these two commemorations served to remind me that former adversaries can now remember together and assist each other in maintaining the peace our grandparents and parents fought for.

In this spirit I also welcome Colonel Carsten Knorr German Air Force, Defence Attache to Australia New Zealand & Fiji and thank him for his attendance. He travelled from Canberra to be with us today.

On Thursday it was the 80th Anniversary of the D-Day landings in which Bomber Command played important roles in assisting in the success of that in what was the biggest sea-borne invasion force in history.

By the time dawn broke on the 6th of June Bomber Command had already ‘worked’ a long day and night.

There were two spoof operations dropping window which was aluminium tin foil in a precise manner to convince radar operators a substantial force was approaching the Pas de Calais thus diverting German troops and resources to Boulogne and Le Harve and away from the Normandy beaches. Our late Patron Squadron Leader Les Munro took part in one of these operations.

Another operation saw dummy parachutists dropped across northern France in areas not being invaded but to give the impression it was.

A concentrated effort was made on transport, communications, radar stations, military bases, fuel installations, ammunition dumps and factories. This took place not only in the Normandy area but in areas right along the French Coast to give little indication where the actual landings would be.

I think this was an amazing organisational effort to get so many elements of such a large operation so well co-ordinated to contribute to a successful task.

Most crew members I have spoken to say we were just doing our job. Humble men doing extraordinary duties.

I will finish with this quote made by Walter Stitt an American war veteran from the D-Day commemoration on Wednesday in France.

“Many things are worth fighting for, but I wish there was a better way of doing it, than trying to kill each other”

Astute words from a worldly-wise WW2 war veteran.

Thank you all.

2024 Memorial Service
(Credit: Tudor Prelipceanu)

June 22, 2024

Thank you for reading – please see further news or stories below.