Second World War veterans from Britain and around the world have gathered to see the Queen dedicate and unveil a memorial to tens of thousands of airmen who died in the Second World War.
The Bomber Command Memorial in London's Green Park remembers the sacrifice and bravery of the 55,573 RAF crew who lost their lives in the conflict.
More than 5,000 surviving airmen joined the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and other members of the Royal Family in Green Park for the unveiling of a memorial featuring a 9ft bronze sculpture depicting a seven-man bomber crew returning from a mission.
The £7 million Portland stone memorial also has been given the blessing of the German people, after an inscription was included that commemorating all the lives lost in the bombings of 1939-45.
Dudley Hannaford, 88, who came from Sydney, Australia for the service, told how he served as a wireless operator on Lancaster bombers flying out of RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire: "I had 18 operations over Germany and I was shot down on the 18th. I joined up with the pilot and we tried to evade capture, which we did for 16 days, but we ran out of food and had to give ourselves up."
He said the occasion was "absolutely wonderful", adding: "It makes me think of release and victory. I only played a very small part in that, but it is something to be very thankful for."
As well as the bronze sculpture, the memorial's roof is inspired by a Vickers Wellington aircraft and incorporates sections of aluminium recovered from a Handley Page Halifax III bomber shot down over Belgium on May 12, 1944, killing eight crew. It will be handed over to the RAF Benevolent Fund to maintain.
The project initially raised concerns in the city of Dresden, where 25,000 civilians were killed in Allied bombing raids in 1945. Heike Grossmann, spokeswoman for the mayor of Dresden, Helma Orosz, said the inscription to all those who died was "a further gesture of reconciliation between Britain and Germany".
Labour armed forces spokesman Kevan Jones said: "It is essential that we remember the enduring sacrifices made by the 55,573 young bomber command airmen, and recognise the pain suffered by their widows, families and friends.
"Their contribution to the defeat of Nazism during the Second World War should not be underestimated. This memorial, however, is not about victory but remembrance and recognising their sacrifice."