In a ceremony held in Green Park to honour the 55,573 airmen of Bomber Command who lost their lives in World War II Her Majesty the Queen unveiled a statue to recognise the service and raw courage that the men and women provided during the war.
Sound By Design were appointed to provide all audio services for the ceremony and the subsequent second stage. For the main ceremony Sound By Design deployed DiGiCo mixing consoles, Meyer Sound loudspeakers and Schoeps microphones to produce the professional sound which this event required and deserved. DiGiCo D1 and SD9 mixing consoles were utilised at the main ceremony site with Meyer Sound M’elodie and 500-HP loudspeaker arrays and UPJ-1P, UPM-1P and MM-4 fills along with K-array KR400s, KR200s and EM Acoustics cabinets filling in where necessary. DiGiCo D1 and Yamaha M7CL consoles on the second stage were connected via a fibre optic and wireless back-up connection to the main system. The audio was relayed to the 5,000 veterans watching the live broadcast via a large Meyer Sound MICA system with M’elodie delays and 700-HP sub-woofers.
The Central Band of the Royal Air Force, The Queen’s Colour for the RAF escorted by The Queen’s Colour Squadron and current RAF Squadron Standards of WW2 bomber squadrons led the memorial with Officers saluting until the Colour was in position. Senior members of the Royal family took their seats and it wasn’t long before a calm descended over the crowds as Her Majesty the Queen arrived with Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. The National Anthem was followed by an address from Air Commodore Malcolm White, Chairman of the Bomber Command Association who then accompanied The Queen to the statue for the grand unveiling.
The £6 million statue sculptured in bronze by Philip Jackson, one of the foremost figurative sculptors working in Britain, depicts a seven-man bomber crew and stands at an impressive 9ft tall. Jackson’s aim with the sculpture was to portray the emotions that the Bomber Command crews faced as they were assigned to their missions. Architect Liam O’Connor a British architect renowned for his work on many memorials throughout the country worked alongside professional Chartered Quantity Surveyors Huntley Cartwright and design consultancy Alan Baxter to design and create the structure surrounding the sculpture, the roof of which was based on and used melted aluminiumfrom a Lancaster bomber.
After the Last Post was sounded there was a flypast of five Tornado GR4s followed by an Avro Lancaster bomber from the Battle of Britain Memorial flight which dropped thousands of poppies over the crowds who had gathered to be a part of this momentous occasion.
Broadcast live by the BBC the day was highly poignant in a year that celebrates the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and was regarded by many as a fitting tribute to those who gave up their lives during World War II, the memorial also acts as a significant reminder for the servicemen and women currently working in the Royal Air Force.
For Sound By Design it was an honour to be part of such a historic occasion and the event was executed with the high level of profession and expert knowledge it warranted.