The Unveiling of the Bomber Command Association’s Statue of Sir Arthur Harris

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Poster by Ken Marshall

Poem written by Ken J. W. Marshall shortly after the unveiling of the Bomber Command Association’s statue of Sir Arthur Harris, by H.M. Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother on Sunday, 31st May, 1992.

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In Memoriam

We’ve erected a statue to Harris, we’ve unveiled a statue of ‘Butch’.

Our governments couldn’t be bothered, for a man who gave Britain so much.

We’ve erected a statue of Harris, the men of Bomber Command

Butch’s ‘Old Lags’ have never forgotten the man for whom they’d still stand

But it’s not just a statue of Harris, it’s in memory of all those who died,

The fifty-five thousand five hundred who gave of their all for ‘our side’.

It’s a constant reminder of honour, standing up there in the Strand

Of the selfless devotion to duty by the men of Bomber Command.

We’ve erected our statue of Butch, a leader of stature so tall.

We’ve put up a memorial to Harris, who did what he did for us all

A symbol of all our endeavours, a memorial to all those who fell.

To a man who did what he had to, and he did it so bloody well.

The Germans and others objected, from somewhere they found the sheer gall,

To complain that we shouldn’t remember the man who made Germany fall

They all got up and protested; with moans about Dresden, Cologne

And Berlin and quite a few others, forgetting the guilt that they own.

And what if that shiny black jackboot had been on the other foot?

They’d have erected their statues to Goering, and Goebbels and Hitler to boot.

But they wouldn’t have confined them to Deutschland that we all could tell,

They’d have stuck them in occupied countries, we’d have had them in London as well!

We could understand all the furore, if we’d put Harris up over there.

If we’d stuck him in Essen or Hamburg, somewhere we’d bombed from the air.

But we’ve erected this statue of Harris, we’ve put him outside Clement Danes.

We’ve put him up here in London, which was bombed by Luftwaffe planes.

We’ve erected our Memorial to Harris and to each and every ‘Old Lag’,

For the things we remember and others we can’t, that at our memories nag.

Yes, we’ve unveiled our statue of Harris, it’s up there so noble and new,

For the chaps whom we knew that didn’t come back, it’s for them and Bert Harris too.

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