The debt we owe our heroes


I was dismayed to learn that the statue in London’s Green Park (commemorating the ultimate sacrifice made in World War Two by members of Bomber Command) had been vandalised – covered in white paint.

The Royal Marine Memorial was also vandalised, as was the memorial to WPC Yvonne Fletcher, who, in April 1984, was killed by a bullet fired from the Libyan Embassy in St. James’s Square.

The paint-throwing cowards hid their faces beneath hoods, while they desecrated memorials to heroes who bravely faced danger and death every day.

I can’t imagine the vandals would possess the cool-headed courage that 25-year-old flight engineer Norman Jackson did on a bombing raid over Germany in 1944. After coming under attack, the starboard wing of his Lancaster bomber caught fire and, despite being wounded by shrapnel, at a height of 22,000 feet he climbed on to the wing with a fireextinguisher!

As the plane travelled at 200 mph it came under further attack, he got badly burnt and fell off the plane, his parachute bursting into flames. He spent the rest of the war in a prisoner-of-war camp and was later awarded the Victoria Cross.

There’s a growing tendency today for certain groups to delight in smearing major figures from Britain’s past – some of whom were, admittedly, flawed characters.

However,they were the ones who bravely stepped up to the plate to defend Britain and because they did we live in a country where people can try and rewrite history through 21stCentury eyes – a futile task!

Ironically, if our war heroes and military leaders hadn’t acted as they did, today’s naysayers wouldn’t have the chance to say nay!

Despite what happened to him, Norman Jackson was one of the luckier members of Bomber Command. 55, 573 of the 125,000 lost their lives.

It comes down to this.

Who would you rather have a pint and a chat with – Norman Jackson or a self-important, would-be rewriter of our history?