A service and fly-past was held to mark the 65th
anniversary of the World War II Dambusters mission.
The day began
with a remembrance service which paid tribute
crew who were lost. The service was
made even more poignant when as it closed, the Lancaster majestically
approached the Dam which was targeted time after time by those brave
crews as they prepared to make history.
In 1943, the RAF's 617 Squadron set out to destroy three dams in
Germany's Ruhr valley. They managed to breach two, giving a greatly
needed boost to Britain's war effort.
On 16 May 1943, 19
aircraft set out on a
mission, codenamed Operation Chastise which was
to destroy the Mohne, Eder and Sorpe dams in Germany's industrial
Only 11 of the aircraft
returned from the perilous low-level mission in which they flew at just
150ft all the way from England before descending for the bombing run so
as not to be seen by the German radar.
They used specially-designed drum-shaped bombs which
skimmed across the water, rolled down the dam wall and exploded at
The bouncing bombs were the brainchild of legendary
aviation engineer Sir Barnes Wallis
Of those present at the
service was the
last surviving pilot from the mission Sqn Ldr Les Munro. Michael Gibson
whose uncle, Wing Cdr Guy Gibson, led the mission and Richard Todd, who
played Mr Gibson in the 1954 film.
passenger seat the last surviving pilot from that well documented raid
Sqn Ldr Les Munro