UNTIL this year they were the forgotten heroes of the Second World War - those who served in RAF Bomber Command.
When hostilities with Nazi Germany ended, Churchill pointedly omitted to mention their tremendous sacrifices, even though 55,573 out of 125,000 aircrew never returned - a death rate of 44 per cent.
Many were shunned for the policy of area bombing, which cost the lives of up to 600,000 civilians, even though at the time it was part of the total war being waged against Britain’s enemies.
But the tide turned earlier this year when, in June, the Queen unveiled a memorial in Green Park, London, dedicated to the airmen’s memory.
Now Benji Clifford, 21, a student at Brighton University’s Hastings campus, is aiming to make a 20-minute documentary film about Bomber Command for a university project
He said: “I’m hoping to find and talk to local veterans who served in Bomber Command, or who are closely linked to those who were involved.
“I’d also like to meet any historians of this period who live locally, and the idea is to include all these people in my film.”
Benji, of Cranston Avenue, Bexhill, said his interest had been stirred by stories of his great uncle, James “Jimmy “ Murray, who went missing in a Bristol Beaufort over the North Sea.
Benji said: “Although he flew with Coastal Command, I decided to take a broader view and focus on Bomber Command .
“What really struck me was that when he died he was younger than I am now, and yet had made such a huge sacrifice.”
Benji hopes to get interviews filmed by early December, and the deadline for completion is January. He hopes to arrange a local screening and also plans to upload it onto the internet.
Anyone able to help Benji with first-hand accounts, photographs or other material can contact him on 07515 162493 or via e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org
“What really struck me was that when he died he was younger than I am now, yet had made such a huge sacrifice.”