East Lindsey District Council faces a race against time to repair the damaged Dambusters Memorial in Woodhall Spa before an important event later this month.
Shocked business owners spotted the damage when they arrived for work at seven o’clock this morning (Wednesday).
The centre of the memorial - dedicated to the 617 Squadron’s famous Second World War mission - had collapsed.
Janet Hunt, owner of Janet’s Tea Rooms in the village, contacted the emergency services.
She said: “The centre of the memorial appeared to have collapsed. Two concrete slabs were on the ground.
“When I first saw it, I couldn’t believe it. I was shocked. It’s really sad.
“There are some commemoration events on May 16 and 17 and hopefully they will repair the damage by then.”
Mrs Hunt said hundreds of squadron veterans were expected to travel from all over the country to attend the events.
District councillor Craig Leyland - who represents Woodhall Spa - was one of the first people on the scene.
He immediately contacted the council’s building services team and they were expected to start work this afternoon.
Coun Leyland said the council - which owns Royal Square - would do everything it could to repair the damage as quickly as possible.
There are unconfirmed reports the damage was caused by water seeping into the rear of the memorial.
He said: “The memorial is very popular and very important to a lot of people. It is sad to see it like this but we will do everything we can to repair it quickly.”
It is understood the memorial was erected in the late 1980’s and the guests on opening day included Richard Todd, star of the hit move “The Dambusters.”
That retold the daring Second World War mission when Lancaster bombers destroyed German dams with their now famous bouncing bombs.
The squadron was later based in the Woodhall Spa area with the officers’ mess at the Petwood Hotel.
The memorial is among the many attractions which bring visitors into Woodhall every year.
Tourist Ian Jennings said this morning: “We come to Woodhall every year and always call in to look at the memorial.
“We saw the police tape around it this morning. Hopefully, they will be able to repair it.”
ELDC has been involved in talks with Woodhall Parish Council over future ownership of Royal Square but no agreement has been reached.