30 Jun 2012

Veterans moved at Bomber Command memorial unveiling

6:10 am on 30 June 2012

A memorial to the British and Commonwealth bomber crews killed in World Wwar II has been unveiled by the Queen in London.

About 6,000 people, including hundreds of Bomber Command veterans and their families, turned out to see the unveiling of the memorial in London's Green Park.

Thirty-three surviving members of the New Zealand personnel who served in Bomber Comand attended the ceremony.

There was applause as the Queen unveiled the sculptures and people described their first glimpse of the memorial as "impressive" and "moving", the BBC reports.

Many of the veterans, who are in their late 80s and 90s, were of the view that the £6m memorial was long overdue but now that it is finally standing were appreciative of its build and scale.

After the service, the veterans - many wearing service medals - crowded around the memorial and had pictures taken with family members.

Half the Bomber Command unit - of 55,000 men - were killed in the war, and of the 6000 New Zealanders who served in the unit, and more than 1800 died.