The famous Wing Commander Guy Gibson, the leader of 617 Squadron, had a dog, a black Labrador, whose given name was by today’s standards a racial slur. It was probably a racial slur at the time of World War II, the conflict which made Guy Gibson famous. 617 Squadron is commonly known as “The Dambusters”, for its action during Operation Chastise against German dams. I can’t recite the dog’s name here because the page contains adverts. If you want to see it, please go to Wikipedia [link].
While the squadron was out bombing those German dams, Guy Gibson’s dog was involved in a road traffic accident which killed him. Guy Gibson wasn’t told about it at the time because he was in the air heading towards Germany. They thought it might have upset him. On his return his dog was buried on the air base from which she flew those missions. That airbase is RAF Scampton in Norfolk, UK.
And as it happens, with the flood of immigration into the UK at the moment, mainly on boats across the Channel from France, the government is looking for places where they can put them while they are being ‘processed’ and RAF Scampton has been earmarked for that role. The government needs migrant detention camps and they are scrambling around for them.
And the RAF wanted to remove the grave of this dog because of its name which would be objectionable, they believe, to immigrants. RAF Heritage requested the removal of the dog’s grave from RAF Scampton to RAF Marham in Norfolk.
RAF Heritage say that in the context of the airbase’s new role, “the gravesite is at risk and carries significant reputational risk given the racial slur now associated with the dog’s name.”
Their request has been denied by a unanimous decision of the councillors. They want the grave to be left at this site to protect the site’s heritage.
Paul Swift, a local councillor said:
We voted unanimously to reject the plan to move Guy Gibson’s dog’s grave. We must preserve history in the face of the home secretary’s outrageous plan to ruin Scampton.Councillor Paul Swift.
You can see that they have an agenda which is to prevent the airbase being used as a detention center for immigrants. And the reason for that is there have been “laudable and lofty plans for an airfield of immense historical importance”. To place a detention center on this site would ride roughshod over those laudable plans.
The plans include a £300 million redevelopment funding of which had been secured before the Home Office intervened.
The dog’s name had previously been a problem when in 2020, the RAF change the text on the memorial to remove the dog’s name. They said that it was “against the ethos of the modern RAF”.
The Wikipedia photo must be the unaltered memorial. I have pixelated out the name as there are adverts on the page. Wikipedia has no adverts.