Flying High: Half a million visitors celebrated at IBCC

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Flying High: Half a million visitors celebrated at IBCC

Yesterday (19.05.24), the International Bomber Command Centre in Lincoln welcomed its 500,000th visitor since opening in 2018.

Simon Poole was the lucky visitor, visiting with his family for the IBCC’s annual InSpire Ride event. The team at the IBCC celebrated Simon’s momentous milestone achievement by giving him a family goodie bag.

The centre, which has a focus on Recognition, Remembrance and Reconciliation, includes a Memorial Spire surrounded by walls containing the names of the 57,861 men and women who lost their lives serving and supporting Bomber Command, 10 acres of peace gardens and the Chadwick Centre, which houses immersive and interactive exhibition galleries for visitors to explore.

The IBCC’s annual InSpire Ride charity event attracts hundreds of cyclists from across England © Image by IBCC

Nicky van der Drift, chief executive of the IBCC, said: “Since opening my team have worked tirelessly to provide the best experience possible for visitors who are coming to learn more about and remember Bomber Command’s history and sacrifices. Hitting the milestone of half a million is quite the achievement, and we’ve reached it in a much shorter time than we could have hoped, particularly given the closure in the pandemic.

“In that time, we’ve welcomed people from 54 nations of all ages, hosted innumerable events, collected 34 different awards and played an important role in both the local and Bomber Command Communities.

Education is at the heart of everything the IBCC does, from introducing visitors to the history of the Command to the 26,000 children who have taken part in our learning programmes.  We subsidise all school visits to the Centre to ensure that as many children as possible can learn of the service and sacrifice of those of Bomber Command.

“We are funded solely through tickets, events, and donations, so our ability to further share Bomber Command’s history during World War II is determined by how much interest the public shows in learning about it. This milestone proves the interest is strong, and we’re looking forward to continuing to answer it for the rest of 2024 and beyond.”

Simon, the 500,000th visitor, said: “I’m amazed, I didn’t expect that this morning!  We have visited the IBCC before and love it, so to be the milestone visitor is brilliant.”

The IBCC’s InSpire Ride event is a charity fundraiser that sees hundreds of motorcyclists travel to the centre for the day to remember those who lost their lives during POW escape from the German prison camp Stalag Luft III on 24 March 1944. This year, for the 80th anniversary of the escape attempt, Steve McQueen’s iconic Triumph motorbike from the film adaption of the attempt,  ‘The Great Escape’, was loaned to the IBCC.

The International Bomber Command Centre created and utilises the worlds’ largest free to access digital heritage collection on Bomber Command. The Digital Archive has been carefully developed by an international team of more than 400 volunteers. It contains thousands of first-hand historical accounts, photographs and documents from all sides of the war. The Losses Database carries 5.5 million pieces of information about those who perished.  It is now a primary source for and

The International Bomber Command Centre is open from 9:30 am to 5 pm, Tuesday to Sunday, with the last entry to the Exhibition at 4 pm. For more information about the centre or to book tickets and donate, please visit


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