Bomber Command back £2m WW2 memorial

Monty Felton: ‘joined as a boy, came back a man’

Monty Felton: ‘joined as a boy, came back a man’

RAF veterans are in a frantic race to raise almost £2 million to ensure the building of a memorial for their dead comrades in Bomber Command.

A total of 55,573 men from Bomber Command died during World War II. Their losses were greater proportionately than those of any other service. It is the only section of the wartime armed forces that does not have a memorial to those who died.

In May this year, planning permission was given to build a memorial in Green Park in central London, costing around £5 million.

A campaign led by the Bomber Command Association (BCA) has raised more than £3 million. Another £1.9 million is needed by the end of October if it is to be unveiled as planned next year. Alf Huberman, 87, of Hampstead, north west London, served for years as vice chairman of the BCA.

Mr Huberman was a rear gunner on a Lancaster bomber and flew 38
missions - at a time when the average was five. Once, an engine caught fire after a raid near Gelsenkirchen, but the pilot limped back to base and the
crew survived.

"I always had the word 'Jewish' on my dog tags. A lot of people thought it was a brave thing to do. If I were shot down and the dog tags were seen,
I would have been in great danger. Many other Jewish airmen put Church of England," he said.

Figures from Ajex, the Association of Jewish Ex-Servicemen and Women, suggest that 907 such identifying Jews were killed in Bomber Command operations, out of an estimated 14,000 who served in the RAF.

Monty Felton, 86, of Wembley, flew 32 missions as a navigator. He said: "I hated the war. I was very frightened every time we flew. When I joined the RAF, it was the first time I had been away from home, where I was protected and well looked after. I joined as a boy and came back a man."

    Last updated: 3:12pm, October 21 2010