Memorial - It should be pride and joy

My wife and I have just returned home after a few happy days in Woodhall and Horncastle, revisiting places we knew years ago and letting nostalgia take over.

It was good to see so many shop names we remembered and to get the feel of communities doing well.

We were greatly interested at the extent to which the Dambuster and Lancaster connections were being exploited by local businesses in Woodhall, so that the whole village was being made out to be their home.

Imagine our surprise then when we visited the memorials to 617 Squadron.

We felt ashamed when we saw what a run-down state the Dambuster memorial was in.

We remembered what a fine work it was when it was dedicated; the shiny slate depicting the water flowing over the broken dam was the perfect place to record the names of those wonderful young men.

We recalled how, after the dedication, a single Lancaster flew very low over it as a tribute from their successors.

Way back in 1987, it was a high honour that was bestowed on Woodhall to be chosen as the home for this important national memorial, recalling, as it does, the inventive genius of Barnes Wallis, as well as the incredible flying skill and unbelievable courage of the aircrews, many of whom were little more than schoolboys.

What we have today is a piece of work that is so filthy that some of the names are hardly legible.

We wondered what impression this would leave upon the many visitors who come to see it, let alone the friends and relatives, some from abroad, who come to this place as a shrine.

Even the newer memorial is bedded in long grass and weeds that it would take only half-an-hour to clear.

If the village wants to claim the Dambusters, then it must make the memorial square the absolute high spot of the village and its pride and joy.

It would be even better if the memorial square was given a modern, attractive refurbishment as witness to this.

We don’t know whether it is the local authority which is responsible or the RAF, but we would ask that those incredible young men are properly remembered and Woodhall shows its pride in them to the world.

Ruth and Eric Howarth