Preserving History: RAF Scampton’s Iconic Canine Memorial Stands Unmoved

RAF Scampton's Iconic Canine Memorial Stands Unmoved

Preserving History: RAF Scampton’s Iconic Canine Memorial Stands Unmoved


In a defining moment marked by fierce debates and passionate sentiments, the West Lindsey District Council has taken a firm stand to preserve an integral piece of history.

After an exhaustive planning procedure, the council has unanimously decided to maintain the memorial dedicated to Wing Commander Guy Gibson’s dog at the RAF Scampton site.

The Controversy Around the Canine Memorial

This decision has brought to a close one of the most contentious planning application arguments of our time. The council’s Planning Committee members held an unwavering belief that moving the burial site of the iconic black Labrador would inadvertently erode the rich historical essence of the former Dambusters base.

Their strong opposition was given voice on Wednesday night, in a meeting teeming with varying viewpoints and impassioned pleas.

The meeting took place at the Lincolnshire Showground and welcomed a diverse array of speakers. Among them were Gainsborough MP, Sir Edward Leigh, and the polarising figure from the far-right, Alek Yebury.

Both, despite their different political leanings, echoed their strong dissent against the proposed relocation. As Leigh powerfully stated, “History is vital and this dog’s history is linked inexplicably to this base. We are saying not over our dead body, we want a future for this site and we will fight for it.”

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The Proposal and The Opposition

In May, a proposal was floated by the RAF to move the grave to RAF Marham in King’s Lynn. Their rationale stemmed from a concern that the memorial might be endangered due to the government’s plan to accommodate up to 2,000 asylum seekers at the former home of the Dambusters.

This proposed relocation has been the cause of substantial strife. West Lindsey District Council has been at the forefront of this battle, primarily due to the disruption of a £300 million heritage, enterprise, and tourism project from Scampton Holdings.

This ambitious initiative was poised to create thousands of high-skilled jobs, a promise that now hangs in balance.

The Legal Battle Ahead

The council’s case will reach a pivotal moment next week when it will be presented before the High Court on July 12 and 13. At this point, a decision will be made on whether a full judicial review is necessary to evaluate the legality of the Home Office’s proposed plans.

Should this legal challenge prove unsuccessful, it’s expected that the first wave of approximately 200 men, predominantly from Afghanistan, Iraq, and Iran, will arrive in mid-August.

This article remains a testament to the importance of local history and the challenges faced in its preservation. The Guy Gibson’s dog memorial story is a continuing saga of community resistance and governmental decisions.

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