A lasting memorial to World War Two’s Bomber Command will be installed at the RAF Spitfire and Hurricane Memorial Museum in Manston to mark the tireless work of volunteer Gerry Abrahams.
Gerry, 99, has dedicated his time and knowledge to the museum for more than a decade but now, sadly, has to retire after moving to a residential home.
Gerry, who had been volunteering two days a week at the museum and also helped visitors navigate the Spitfire simulator, was born in London and served in the RAF’s Bomber Command (75(NZ) Squadron) during the Second World War in Europe.
He flew in Avro Lancaster bombers after retraining from a wireless operator to become a pilot. Gerry flew 31 missions over Nazi Germany, including a bombing mission where one of his aircraft engines got shot away by the Luftwaffe, and later became a Bomber Command Instructor.
He also flew during the Berlin Air Lift in the Cold War.
Gerry had a distinguished career as a pilot post war, particularly with Invicta Airways out of Manston. One of the planes he flew as a civilian pilot is still on display at IWM Duxford.
The keen golfer and photographer, who is also an internet and social media whizz, has been an active fundraiser for the museum by organising quizzes, veterans signings and helping out at events.
To make sure his wish for a lasting memorial to Bomber Command becomes a reality museum volunteers have pledged £26,000 between them and have launched a fundraiser for £19,000 so an authentic, interactive Lancaster Cockpit section can be installed at the Museum in 2023.
A museum spokesperson said: “Museum favourite and Bomber Command veteran Gerry has sadly had to retire from the museum aged 99. He has moved to residential care.
“Obviously, this news has been upsetting for all. Gerry has been part of the fabric of the museum for more than a decade and has worked tirelessly to advance the museum.
“Gerry wanted to ensure there is a lasting memorial to Bomber Command within the Museum.
“As such, the volunteers have pledged £26,000 between them to ensure this happens to honour Gerry’s contribution to the Museum.
“We have partnered with Simmiltec to bring an authentic fully interactive Lancaster Cockpit section to the Museum in 2023.
“We would like to thank Stuart and the team at Reclamet Ltd. for their offer of free of charge assistance with transport.
“We need to raise an additional £19,000 to make this happen and are appealing for help from our friends and followers to do this.”
Please help us to make Gerry’s dream a reality.”