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80th Anniversary of the Dambusters Raid

This month sees the 80th Anniversary of the Dambusters Raid otherwise known as Operation Chastise. This famous WW2 operation was carried out on the evening of the 16-17th May 1943 when Lancasters of 617 Squadron based at RAF Scampton carried out a low-level attack on Dams in the Ruhr Valley, Germanys industrial heartland.

These Lancasters had been modified to take bouncing bombs (codenamed Upkeep) which had been designed by Barnes Wallis. When released these bombs bounced across the surface of the water before hitting the dam walls, where they sank until the charge was detonated. The Eder & Mohne dams were breached causing widespread flooding & destruction of the Ruhr Valley, it was estimated that between 1300 & 1600 lives on the ground were lost & of the 133 Aircrew that took part 53 were killed & a further 3 were captured & taken as Prisoners of War.

Over the year the Dambusters have really captured my imagination, these men showed true courage & skill during this raid.

Several years ago, whilst visiting Holland I made the trip to Steenbergen where I visited Guy Gibson’s Grave & followed The Dambuster trail there, you can read my previous Article about this visit here

Guy Gibsons Grave - Image ©AAFR

Some years later I had the pleasure to visit the Heritage Centre at RAF Scampton, you can read my blog post in relation to this visit here

Or watch the YouTube Slideshow of my visit

Sadly, the RAF closed down RAF Scampton at the end of 2022 & as some of you may know a current legal battle is currently ongoing over Home Office plans to convert the Historic Base into a Migrant Camp. In fact, only a few days ago I noticed an article stating that the RAF Heritage team have put in an application to move the grave of Guy Gibson’s Dog to the Squadrons base at RAF Marham in Norfolk.

I think it is preposterous of them to even consider turning such a historic site into a migrant camp. One can only hope that as we approach the 80th Anniversary of the Historic Raids & consider not only the bravery of the men who took part but those who lost their lives that they might reconsider.

Board showing crews/men who took part in Operation Chastise ©AAFR

One point of interest is that the International Bomber Command Centre (IBCC) in Lincoln has installed a fitting tribute to the 53 men who lost their lives. These figures as well as the figures of Guy Gibson & Barnes Wallis will stand around the Spire memorial until mid-August.

Dambusters Installation at the IBCC - Image courtesy of the IBCC

You can read more about this installation here

Lest we Forget


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