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Latest news and blogs

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Matt Neve
    "Sport helps me to switch off and focus"

    Former RAF driver Matt Neve discovered the rehabilitative nature of sport following his medical discharge from the Service in 2004. A tour in Iraq as part of Op Telic had left him suffering from PTSD, and it led to him leaving the job he loved. As part of Mental Health Awareness Week, we chat to Matt about his journey from medical discharge to recovery.

  • Les and Patricia Campsie on their wedding day
    "Counselling rescued me from a very dark place"

    After 60 years together, 57 of them married Les Campsie knew he'd lost his soulmate when his wife Patricia passed away a year ago. Devastated and bowled over by his grief, RAF veteran Les turned to the RAF Benevolent Fund for help.

  • 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 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.

  • Wreath in tribute to airmen who died during the Dambusters raid
    Tributes paid to brave Dambusters raid airmen

    Today marks 75 years since the RAF's now legendary Dambusters set off on their audacious raid to destroy three German dams at the heart of the Nazi war machine.

    Press Release

  • 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.

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