International Bomber Command centre seeks memories for digital archive

A Lancaster bomber on a taxi run - share your wartime memories with the IBCC. EMN-190716-175250001
A Lancaster bomber on a taxi run - share your wartime memories with the IBCC. EMN-190716-175250001

A Lincolnshire-based Second World War memories project is in need of help.

The International Bomber Command Centre, at Canwick, Lincoln, is the only place in the world to commemorate every life lost in the service of the Command, by name - 57,861 names in total.

The average age of death for these volunteers was a mere 23.

In 2015 the project, in partnership with the University of Lincoln, started working on a digital archive which collects the stories of all those caught up in the bombing during the Second World War – military and civilian, on both sides of the conflict.

The archive has already captured an astonishing 250,000 items, including personal letters, diaries and photos and a wide range of service documentation. Importantly the team have also recorded nearly 2,000 interviews with people involved from around the world. All of these items will be made available through the project site providing a completely free-to-use research resource.

The IBCC project co-ordinators are interested in stories of those who perhaps supplied bomber stations with food and other goods, or whose farms were turned into runways, or visited RAF stations to stage musical entertainment, for example.

They are also anxious to hear from those who were caught under the bombs, on both sides of the conflict. “Every surviving eyewitness to that war has a vital story to tell future generations,” said Nicky van der Drift, Chief Executive of the IBCC.

“So often, people who were not aircrew tell us their stories don’t count – but they are vital to completing the picture of an era.”

The archive can be accessed at https://internationalbcc.co.uk/history-archive/digital-archive/.

Contact the IBCC Digital Archive team if you have a story, or you know someone who is willing to share one. They will arrange for an interviewer to visit to record it. The email address is: ibccarchive@lincoln.ac.uk.