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Brentwood veteran to meet the Queen

Ken Brind with members of his first Bomber Command unit under the Royal Air Force.  - submitted photo
Ken Brind with members of his first Bomber Command unit under the Royal Air Force.
— image credit: submitted photo

A Brentwood Bay veteran is heading to London, England by way of Ottawa for the unveiling of the new Bomber Command Memorial at the end of this month.

Ken Brind, a Second World War Bomber Command veteran, is travelling to London to join Veterans Affairs Minister Steven Blaney, who is leading a delegation of 40 to the ceremony.

During the Second World War, while the Royal Air Force Fighter Command defended the United Kingdom against aerial attacks, it was the role of the Bomber Command to attack the enemy’s military strength by bombing key targets.

The unveiling of the memorial will be done by none other than Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

“I’m very excited,” said Brind, who will be joined by three generations of family on the trip. “I don’t expect to meet anyone I know, but I’ll see people who shared many of the same experiences I did and that will be wonderful.”

The group of Bomber Command veterans, many of whom are over 90 years old, departed Ottawa yesterday and will attend the unveiling ceremony tomorrow, June 28. During the trip, they will meet with fellow veterans from Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

The Canadian government contributed $100,000 toward the creation of the memorial, which is located in London’s Green Park.

In the village of Alboume, England on Oct. 17, 1922 Ken was born to William and Emily Brind, the eldest of their three sons. Educated at St. Michael’s School and Marlborough Grammar School, he entered the Royal Air Force on Jan. 31, 1940. Trained as an air navigator, he flew a tour of operations with 626 Squadron, Bomber Command. After the war he continued as a navigator instructor, fighter controller, unit commander and administrative officer. He transferred to the RCAF in 1955 and served until his retirement from military service in 1968. He and his wife Mary have five children and nine grandchildren.

On Nov. 7, 1943 No. 626 Squadron, “To strive and not to yield” had been formed from “C” Flight of 12 Squadron. The last operation of 12 and 626 Squadrons from Wickenby was against Berchtesgaden on April 25, 1945. Both squadrons played a prominent role in Bomber Command’s offensive and suffered heavy losses, with 763 members of 12 squadrons and 317 of 626 Squadron losing their lives in operations from Wickenby, a total of 1,080 killed in action.

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