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Dambusters

  • Lancaster Bomber
    The Prisoners of War

    Fifty-six men from 617 Squadron who carried out the Dambusters raid on 16 and 17 May 1943 failed to return and all were presumed dead. Three, however, managed to make miraculous escapes and were subsequently taken prisoner.

  • 617 Squadron
    My very own piece of Dambuster's history

    This month marks 75 years since 133 airmen, led by Wing Commander Guy Gibson, took part in the Dambusters raid. Fifty-three of those brave men made the ultimate sacrifice. As part of the Fund's commemorations, we hear from Sergeant Alfie Garnett, who inherited his very own piece of Dambusters history.

  • Robert Urquhart
    Robert Urqhuart: failed to return

    Canadian Flying Officer Robert Urqhuart was the navigator for Squadron Leader Henry Maudslay's Lancaster on the night of Operation Chastise, the Dambusters raid of May 16/17, 1943.

  • A Lancaster
    The Third Wave

    The third and final wave of the five aircraft attack as part of the Dambusters raid set off after midnight. They were used as a reserve force that would be directed to targets where the earlier waves had failed to achieve their objective.

  • Johnny Johnson
    "There were so many empty chairs it just wasn't true"

    Of the 19 aircraft that took off on the night of 16 May 1943 for Operation Chastise, eight were shot down or crashed and tragically 53 of the 133 aircrew were killed. The returning crew were hailed as heroes but the losses were heavily felt.

  • Johnny Johnson
    "There was water everywhere – it went up to about 1,000 feet"

    Of the five aircraft sent to breach the Sorpe dam on 17 May 1943 during the Dambusters raid, only two reached their target. Despite bomb aimer Johnny Johnson's deadly accuracy, the bomb failed to breach the dam.

  • Johnny Johnson
    "Won't somebody get that bomb out of here?"

    Squadron Leader George 'Johnny' Johnson, MBE, DFM, served in the Royal Air Force for 22 years. During a distinguished career that took him all over the world, Johnny was selected to be part of the elite 617 Squadron or 'the Dambusters' as they famously became known.

  • Lancaster Bomber
    The First Wave

    The 19 Lancasters of 617 Squadron that set off on the night of the Dambusters raid on 16 and 17 May 1943 flew in three waves. What was called the first wave actually took off second, but it comprised the main part of the raid, with nine aircraft, including that of the Commanding Officer, Wing Commander Guy Gibson.

  • Bouncing bomb under a Lancaster
    The Briefing

    Most of the aircrew from 617 Squadron on the famous Dambusters raid of 16/17​ May 1943 did not know the targets they would be heading for until the day of the raid itself.

  • Lancaster Bomber
    Roy Chadwick and the Lancaster bomber

    Most people who know anything about the RAF in the Second World War say that "Roy Chadwick's role is greatly under-rated". He's not the household name that Barnes Wallis or Guy Gibson became, yet his contribution to the war effort in general was immense.

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