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Dambusters

  • 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.

  • Lancaster
    Hoppy Hopgood: "If I don't come back will you please destroy that letter"

    Johnny Johnson, one of the last remaining servicemen who flew in the Dambusters raid of 16 and 17 May 1943, tells us the story of a man who never made it home, John 'Hoppy' Hopgood.

  • Mary Stopes Roe
    Mary Stopes Roe's first knowledge of the raid

    Mary Stopes Roe, the daughter of Barnes Wallis, the inventor of the bouncing bomb, spoke to the RAF Benevolent Fund in an exclusive interview about how she came to hear about the raid for the very first time.

  • Johnny Johnson
    "The Germans had a perfect copy of the bomb"

    Johnny Johnson, a bomb aimer on the Dambusters raid of 16 and 17 May 1943, tells us about the one complete bouncing bomb that got into the hands of the Germans.

  • Johnny Johnson
    "Your parachute, Sir!"

    In an exclusive interview with Dambusters veteran Johnny Johnson, he tells us the story of an accidentally deployed parachute and a misplaced compass card which caused Flight Commander Joe McCarthy to almost lose his nerve over.

  • Bomber Command Memorial
    Bill Astell: Failed to Return

    Flight Lieutenant William Astell was the pilot of Lancaster AJ-B for Baker that was heading for the Möhne Dam on the night of May 16, 1943, when the plane hit an electrical pylon and crashed, killing all on board.

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