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Dambusters

  • 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.

  • 617 Squadron aircrew
    617 Squadron takes shape

    Wing Commander Guy Gibson faced the immense logistical task of forming a new squadron and getting them trained and operational in just a couple of months before the Dambusters raid.

  • Upkeep diagram
    Barnes Wallis and the idea behind the bouncing bomb

    Barnes Wallis came up with the idea for a bouncing bomb that could be used to target strategic dams in 1942. His idea formed the basis of the Dambusters raid that took place in May the following year, causing major damage to two out of the three targets selected.

  • Guy Gibson
    Wing Commander Guy Gibson

    As the 75th anniversary of the Dambusters raid approaches, we chart the life of Wing Commander Guy Gibson who led 617 Squadron on Operation Chastise.

  • Johnny Johnson
    "We weren't going to use any of the training that we'd had for the previous six weeks"

    Johnny Johnson, bomb-aimer in 617 Squadron on the night of the Dambusters raid on 16 and 17 1943, reveals how their training with the bouncing bomb was not going to be relevant with the target that they had been assigned.

  • Barnes Wallis
    Barnes Wallis – A portrait by his grandson

    In an exclusive interview with Jonathan Stopes Roe, the grandson of bouncing bomb inventor Barnes Wallis, he gives a personal account of Wallis as a grandfather.

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