Dambusters anniversary

Yesterday marked the 70th anniversary of Operation Chastise – better known as the Dambusters raid – on the Ruhr Valley in German Industrial heartland. A bit like Maitland, but with fewer taxis.

A new type of weapon, the bouncing bomb, was designed and tested by Barnes Wallis specifically for the mission.

Two of the dams were breached while another sustained only minor damage. In the valley, 1,600 people drowned.

The raid was carried out by 133 airmen in 19 Lancaster bombers who formed the RAF’s 617 squadron. Fifty-six men and eight aircraft did not return.

The bomb in question was tested on the Derwent dam in Derbyshire, just down the road from my hometown of Sheffield. And yesterday, to commemorate the anniversary, there was a flypast over the dam wall (which you may remember from this flickr set) in front of huge crowds.


Notably, there’s a lot less water in there than last July. And a whole lot more World War II bomber over it too.

There’s video too – click here.

All in all, the Dambusters Raid was a huge boost to the British morale at what was obviously a hugely difficult time. The effects of the actual bombing on the German war effort were soon overcome, but the bravery of those young airmen deserves to be remembered – even now, 70 years on.