Rose Wallet with Stirling Bomber

The work of the International Bomber Command Centre Digital Archive

Researchers at the University of Lincoln are working in partnership with the Lincolnshire Bomber Command Memorial Trust to create a digital archive of the personal stories of those who served and suffered in the bombing war in Europe, 1939-1945.

One million men and women served in RAF Bomber Command during the Second World War. Of these, 125,000 were aircrew who volunteered from over 60 nations, on every continent; the rate of attrition among them was almost 50%. Countless millions more were caught up in the bombing, either in military roles or as civilians on the ground.

The International Bomber Command Centre (IBCC) Digital Archive aims to tell their stories, which come in two forms: oral history interviews and the memorabilia handed down from generation to generation. These are digitally recorded by staff and a team of volunteers active in the UK and abroad, and will eventually be freely available online to bring the story of Bomber Command to life.

The digital archive is at the heart of the ambitious International Bomber Command Centre, which has attracted £3.1m in Heritage Lottery funding. It will open in 2018 as a world-class facility in Lincoln, not far from the airfields where most units were based, and will serve as a focus for recognition, remembrance and reconciliation. IBCC Digital Archive researchers are also responsible for devising the exhibition that will be housed in the centre.

If you know of any stories that should be included in the archive, please contact the IBCC Digital Archive team at archive@internationalbcc.co.uk.

Keep up to date with the work of the IBCC Digital Archive team through their blog at www.ibccdigitalarchive.blogs.lincoln.ac.uk.

To find out more about the International Bomber Command Centre visit the website, www.internationalbcc.co.uk.

The image above is of Rose, an Irish nurse at the Selly Oak Hospital in Birmingham. It was in a wallet salvaged from a Stirling bomber that crashed and burst into flames at Normanton on Trent in 1944. Five aircrew managed to bail out; four died. This poignant memento of the fragility of human life in wartime has long been treasured by its owners.  In 2015, they brought it to the IBCC Digital Archive to be digitised for posterity. It is a fitting tribute to all those who served and suffered in the bombing campaigns of the Second World War.