Discover the Bomber Command Memorial, a poignant tribute to 55,573 crew members who lost their lives in WWII. Designed by architect Liam O’Connor, the project required a skilled team, including William Sugg, to create the perfect lighting for this historical site on the south side of Piccadilly.

The customer

Located on the south side of Piccadilly and facing Hyde Park Corner, The Bomber Command Memorial was designed to serve as a tribute to the 55,573 Bomber Command crew who lost their lives during World War II. 

This included people from various countries such as Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and other allied nations. The Memorial also honours civilians of all nationalities who lost their lives during bombing raids.

The project required a skilled team that could create a fitting tribute to these fallen heroes.  The architect responsible for the memorial’s design, Liam O’Connor, renowned monument designer and architect, requested William Sugg’s help creating the lighting for this important, historical memorial.

The challenge

Creating a memorial of such historical significance requires careful consideration and attention to detail.  We were asked to create bespoke designed lanterns that would fit seamlessly into the surroundings, and the memorial itself, and last for generations to come.  

The design and manufacture had to be sensitive to the historic significance of the site while also being modern and energy-efficient.  The challenge was to integrate modern energy-efficient light sources into traditional lantern design that was suitable for the style of memorial.

“This project included significant urban design and landscape aspects in addition to the main memorial.” Liam O’Connor, Architect.

The solution/product

The William Sugg team, in partnership with Liam O’Connor, created unique, bespoke designed lanterns for the Piccadilly side of Bomber Command and four traditional copper lanterns inside Green Park. 

The centrepiece of the Memorial consisted of bronze sculptures depicting an aircrew from Bomber Command. The memorial space was designed to be open to the sky, with an aperture carefully crafted to allow natural light to shine directly onto the sculptures of the aircrew. 

The design of the lanterns was based on historical designs, taking into account the traditional manufacturing and construction practices of the time.  The columns were cast in traditional iron and the lanterns were made from cast iron and copper, as per the lanterns seen at Horse Guards Parade. To maximise energy efficiency, the light source was created from modern, energy-efficient LED modules.

“I designed the RAF Bomber Command Memorial and nominated the William Sugg team to deliver a significant package of bespoke lighting for the project. They provided exceptionally well managed pre-manufacture workshop drawings and technical design development for the manufacture and installation of our uniquely designed specialist heritage light fittings; these formed an integral part of the memorial which is now a celebrated London landmark. Working on a project of this significance and sensitivity required the utmost care, quality and attention to detail. The William Sugg team brought extensive knowledge and experience to the design and build. They also supplied specialist lighting for our Armed Forces Memorial in Staffordshire, opened by HM The Queen in 2007. I consider them experts in their field and highly recommend them.”  Liam O’Connor, Project Architect.

The results

The memorial itself takes the form of an open-roofed pavilion, accessible from both Piccadilly and The Green Park.  It features a seven-figure bronze sculpture and stone carvings of quotes by Winston Churchill, serving as a poignant reminder of the significant loss of life suffered by Commonwealth airmen who voluntarily served in RAF Bomber Command during World War II.  

Visitors will always view the sculpture’s silhouette against the sky above them, whether it is day or night. This feature imbues that portion of the sky with significant symbolic meaning for the memorial, thanks to the sculpture’s overall size.

‘‘A memorial to the crews of Bomber Command has been half a century too long in coming. Having seen the plans for this sublimely beautiful memorial, I do feel that at last their wait is at end. This will be a truly fitting epitaph…’’  The Prince of Wales.

The pavilion is constructed using Portland stone and topped with an open structural stainless steel roof that draws inspiration from the Vickers Wellington “geodetic” airframe designed by Barnes Wallis. The riveted panels of aluminium used in the ceiling were created from the remains of a Canadian Halifax aircraft that was shot down over Belgium on May 12, 1944.  In addition to the main memorial, this project encompassed significant elements of urban design and landscape. 

“The memorial honours their courage with a thoughtful classicism that needs no interpretation to be understood. Architect Liam O’Connor showed how classicism’s simple language articulates a noble endeavour.” Architecture Here and There, What Monuments tell us, David Brussat.

The Bomber Command Memorial now stands as a fitting tribute to the 55,573 Bomber Command crew who lost their lives during WW2 and will remain a legacy for future generations.

The memorial attracted the following awards

  • Society of British Interior Design; Fellow of the year 2012
  • The Stone Federation of Great Britain: Traditional stone masonry award 2014

Bomber Command in the press

For more information on bespoke lighting projects get in touch with one of William Sugg’s experts today.