Commemorating the historic Dambusters Raid, 16/17 May 1943
On the night of 16/17 May 1943, nineteen Lancasters crewed by 133 men of the newly- formed 617 Squadron took off from RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire to begin Operation Chastise – a daring low- level night attack on the mighty dams of the Ruhr; the Möhne, Sorpe, Ennepe and Eder Dams. Led by Wing Commander Guy Gibson, already a veteran of over 170 missions, the elite squadron of Dambusters was under no illusions about the dangers ahead; night- fighters, heavy flak en-route and defensive ground at the target area were only some of the dangers they faced because to drop their lethal cargo they would need to fly, in complete darkness, at precisely 60 feet above the water to release the unique 10,000lb hydrostatic bouncing bombs designed by Barnes Wallis.
Displaying outstanding skill and unparalleled acts of bravery, the crews successfully breached both the Möhne and Eder Dams but of the 19 Lancasters that departed Scampton that night, eight would never return; of the 56 aircrew aboard only two survived. No fewer than 33 decorations were awarded, and Guy Gibson was awarded the Victoria Cross. Today the legend of the Dambusters lives on, and the men who flew that daring raid became legends in the history of aerial warfare.