London heritage walk
On 02 May 2013 Personnel Management Squadron (PMS) took the opportunity to take part in the London Heritage Walk taking in various memorials that are poignant to the RAF.
After the three hour arduous minibus journey during rush hour traffic PMS personnel arrived safely at St Clement Danes’ church London, to begin the Heritage Walk. The presentations took off to a flying start with SAC Kyle Evans and SAC Jason Hunt first to take centre stage. They provided a clear and informative account about the life of Bomber Harris and the events that took place in Dresden. SAC Jason Hunt said ‘By researching my given topic I learnt much more than I had previously known about the Battle of Britain’.
The group then took the opportunity to see the battle scars left on the outside of the church thanks to the Blitz. This provided a very visual insight in to what it may have been like to live in London during this time.
Thankfully the sun was shining on PMS personnel as the walk continued down onto the banks of the Thames, showing some of the key landmarks of London in all their glory. The next destination was the RAF Memorial situated opposite the Ministry of Defence building. The importance and the creation of the memorial was discussed, as well as the significance of its defining feature, the gilded eagle.
Probably one of the most ornate and detailed of all the memorials that were seen throughout the day is the Battle of Britain Memorial. This was an ideal location to discuss the key leaders involved in this significant part of history. Many of the attributes displayed by RAF personnel in the Battle of Britain are still being instilled through the core values of the RAF in all serving members. The most obvious being service before self as many people gave their lives in 1940 to give us the freedom we have today.
After a short break for lunch the group returned to discuss the leadership styles of Winston Churchill in comparison to that of the likes of Hitler, at the foot of the Winston Churchill Memorial.
A trip to London wouldn’t have been complete without visiting the residence of the head of the Armed Forces, Her Majesty The Queen at Buckingham Palace. This penultimate presentation was given by SAC Graeme Smith and SAC Keren Cole and brought up some interesting debates.
The final stage of the walk was to cross Green Park and finish at the very noteworthy Bomber Command Memorial. The group discussed why they felt the members of Bomber Command didn’t receive the recognition they deserved until many years later and whether the memorial was worth the thousands it cost to be built.
By attending the Heritage Walk all involved were able to gain an appreciation of what was achieved during World War Two. The day proved to be very humbling and gave a sense of pride knowing that we serve in the Royal Air Force, which is only what it is today thanks to the efforts of those in our past.