1. ITV Report

Queen unveils Bomber Command memorial in London

Video report by Nina Nannar

Second World War veterans from Britain and around the world gathered today to see the Queen dedicate and unveil a memorial to tens of thousands of airmen who died in the Second World War.

The Bomber Command Memorial in London's Green Park remembers the sacrifice and bravery of the 55,573 RAF crew who lost their lives in the conflict.

More than 5,000 surviving airmen joined the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and other members of the Royal Family in Green Park for the unveiling of a memorial featuring a 9ft bronze sculpture depicting a seven-man bomber crew returning from a mission.

The £7 million Portland stone memorial also has been given the blessing of the German people, after an inscription was included that commemorating all the lives lost in the bombings of 1939-45.

Dudley Hannaford, 88, who came from Sydney, Australia for the service, told how he served as a wireless operator on Lancaster bombers flying out of RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire.

"I had 18 operations over Germany and I was shot down on the 18th, he said.

"I joined up with the pilot and we tried to evade capture, which we did for 16 days, but we ran out of food and had to give ourselves up.

"It was quite near the end of the war anyway, and I was in a prisoner of war camp near Munich when I was released and repatriated."

He said today's occasion was "absolutely wonderful".

Other veterans came from Canada and New Zealand.

As well as the bronze sculpture, the memorial's roof is inspired by a Vickers Wellington aircraft and incorporates sections of aluminium recovered from a Handley Page Halifax III bomber shot down over Belgium on May 12, 1944, killing eight crew.

It will be handed over to the RAF Benevolent Fund to maintain.

Robin Gibb's campaign for memorial

Late BeeGees singer Robin Gibb had campaigned for the memorial to be built.

"Bomber Command have always been heroes to me," Gibb told ITV Daybreak in 2010.

"The role they played was a very important part in winning the war and it's repugnant that after so many years there hasn't been a permanent memorial in the centre of London."

Today, just 40 days after he died, the memorial he had campaigned for was unveiled.

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