Calls for Bomber Command to be recognised with special medal
A LANCASTER bomber crewman has called for his comrades' service to be finally recognised with a campaign medal.
George Rudge flew eight missions over occupied Europe in 1944 and 1945, including the controversial raid on Dresden, before being shot down and taken prisoner.
But the 87-year-old from Staple Hill has never worn any of the medals from his service in the RAF, because the one he believes he and his comrades deserved – a campaign medal for those who took part in Bomber Command missions over occupied Europe – was never struck.
George, a father-of-three with five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren, believes the 125,000 veterans of Bomber Command – more than 55,000 of whom were killed in action – lost out because of political arguments over whether or not more German civilians died than was necessary in the raids.
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The decision was taken by wartime Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill.
Air crews were entitled to wear either the Air Crew Europe Star or France and Germany Star – but George believes the sacrifice of the bomber crews, who suffered the worst mortality rate of any British armed combatants, deserves its own recognition.
More than one in four Bomber Command personnel were killed and each airman had only a one in four chance of surviving a tour of 30 missions.
A memorial to bomber command was recently unveiled in London.