55,573 RAF crew lost their lives in the Second World War. The fighters were given a life expectancy of just six weeks.
Their role was sometimes controversial but it was vital and demanded a terrible sacrifice.
Members of Bomber Command who flew in the Second World War will receive long overdue recognition for their duty when the Queen unveils a War Memorial that has been funded by the public.
For decades Bomber Command veterens carried with their medals a sense of injustice, but the ceremony will officially honour the men's sacrifice.
ITV News' Paul Davies reports:
Two comrades from the 'Bombers' reminisced at the Imperial War Museum at Duxford ahead of the Memorial unveiling and marvelled at the fact that they survived when so many didn't.
88-year-old Harry Irons joined the RAF at 16-years-old and was a rear gunner. His colleague Sam Brookes was a wireless operator.
Mr Brookes says he will be respresenting the young men who didnt come back, including his best friend Keith Gosling. The 87-year-old said:
Harry Irons saw many friends "blown out of the sky" as a rear gunner.
The 87-year-old believes there was a reluctance to recognise the role of Bomber Command after the war because of what they had done to German cities. He said:
Looking at the same plane he flew during the war, a Lancaster bomber, Mr Irons said: "I did 30 bombing trips to Ruhr Valley in that, and you know what? How I survived I'll never know."
The veteran pilot recalled one flight in particular:
The National Memorial to the fallen of Bomber Command will be unveiled in Green Park, London on the 28th June 2012.
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