Press preview International Bomber Command Centre
My last visit to International Bomber Command Centre, muddy approach, shell of a building, hard hat, steel-tipped boots, hi-vis vests for access.
Today, a loose gravel approach to the finished building.
Not yet officially open, today was to give the media a glimpse.
Walking in, after passing through an open plan reception, a large auditorium, large screen, various interactive and static displays.
The interactive displays, students dressed the part, speaking what it was like, based upon recorded first hand accounts.
For the Centre, to collect these first hand accounts, was literally a race against time.
Since the first hand accounts were collected, of people in their nineties, a third of those who gave these first hand accounts are sadly no longer with us.
The static displays, a pair of flying boots, a lamp, playing cards.
The playing cards, on each card, hand written account of a bombing raid.
Dominating the room a large display.
On the large screen, bombing targets lit up. At first I thought, not many, that was until I noticed a scrolling bar. What was being shown was nightly raids, night by night.
A warning, a film was to be shown, almost like warning of an air raid.
Was this a warning to evacuate the room? Maybe.
Then I could see why so loud, when an Avro Lancaster took off, then the bombs dropped, then a building on fire, then footage from the air of the destroyed buildings, presumably taken by the Germans, then the lost people wandering the streets.
I was privileged to be able to watch this in a room on my own, well almost on my own, a BBC film crew and one veteran of WWII Bomber Command.
The impact would not have been the same in a room full of people.
To describe as emotional would be an understatement.
I later congratulated the Centre Director Nicky Barr and said she should she be very proud of what she has created.
She said that even though she had created, the first time she watched, it was a very emotive experience.
There are other smaller rooms, including dining room, with coffee, San Remo espresso machine and associated kitchen.
Not today, but when up and running, will be serving a special blend of coffee and tea created for the Centre by Stokes. They will also have on sale bags of the coffee and tea.
The Centre is not only a visitor centre, it will also be a research centre with archive material.
The Centre tells the story from all sides, the crew on the ground, the aircrew, and the Germans who were bombed.
What is the point some may say.
Syria. Look what Assad has done to Syria, bombed-out buildings, the only way he can retain control of Syria is to kill his own people, aided and abetted by Vladimir Putin.
Yemen. Corrupt House of Saud carrying out genocide in Yemen, weapons supplied courtesy of British arms companies.
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