William H.A. Willbond MSM, CD

Crews Are Heroes, Not War Criminals

Canadian War Criminals they are not!
Those Bomber Command Crews who flew and fought
Defeating Adolf Hitler and the Waffen SS
They beat Herman Goering and guys like Rudolph Hess

Nazi bombers found Coventry and olde London Town
In return our Bomber Command went Dresden bound
Our Senate subcommittee from VAC, with Joey Guerts did not agree
The CWM’s exhibit will change this fall – hopefully that will end it all?

Let us show our Air Crews some deserved respect and honour
Especially Canadian crews who flew those war winning bombers
Fire storms in London proved that war is hell
So say the survivors who lived to tell!

The Canadian War Museum is for Canada’s own story
About the heroes who won for us victory and glory
It should honour all of those who are deceased
Those who gave up their lives in the search for global peace!

Billy Willbond: Bomber Command
Photograph courtesy of the Canadian War Museum

The Times Colonist Newspaper Article, August 28, 2007 – Page A6


Can West News Service

OTTAWA — The Canadian War Museum will “adjust” its controversial Bomber Command exhibition this fall so that greater “respect” is shown to Cana¬dian war veterans involved in the Second World War bombing of Germany, Can-West News Service has learned.

Bomber Command veterans have long complained the exhibition makes them out to be “war criminals” whose bombs needlessly killed thousands of German civilians. Changes to the exhibition will attempt to address those concerns, a source said.

A report in June by the Senate sub¬committee on veterans affairs did not quarrel with the facts presented in the museum’s exhibition. However, the sub¬committee did suggest the facts be pre¬sented in a way that was less offensive to veterans.

A few days after the release of the Sen¬ate report, the war museum’s director, Joe Geurts, mysteriously left his job. No rea¬son was given.

The dispute is largely centred on a text panel in the exhibition.

“The value and morality of the strate¬gic bomber offensive against Germany remains bitterly contested,” the panel reads. “Bomber Command’s aim was to crush civilian morale and force Germany to surrender by destroying its cities and industrial installations. Although Bomber Command and American attacks left 600,000 Germans dead and more than five million homeless, the raids resulted in only small reductions of German war production until late in the war.”

The war museum is in a lose/lose sit¬uation in the debate, the source conceded. By changing the text panel, the museum appears to be bowing to the wishes of politicians and special interest groups. By refusing to change the panel, the museum would appear to be insensitive to war vet¬erans.

Neither situation is desirable. So what’s the right path? The source indi¬cated the war museum’s role as a “pub¬lic” taxpayer-financed institution as opposed to a “private” institution influ¬enced the decision to change the exhibi¬tion: a private institution could simply tell grumbling special interest groups to go and build their own museum.

The Museum of Civilization caved into political pressure in 2001 when it announced it would postpone an exhibi¬tion of Arab-Canadian art in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States.

The museum feared the climate was not right for such an exhibition. MPs of all parties, led by then-prime minister Jean Chreiten, publicly complained about the decision.

The museum quickly reversed itself and the exhibition went ahead.