80 years ago tonight 19 especially adapted Lancasters of the newly formed 617 Squadron set off to attack the dams in Germany’s Ruhr Valley. Using a newly developed Bouncing Bomb invented by Barnes Wallis the plan was to attack three of the dams in the Ruhr Valley to disrupt production of steel and other services. The first wave set off from RAF Scampton at 21:28. Two of the three targeted dams, the Mohne and the Eder were breached.
53 of the 133 aircrew who took part were killed.
The mission, code named Operation Chastise was a considered a great success with production not returning to normal levels until September 1943.
This incredible feat by the crews of 617 Squadron was achieved with a level of skill and accuracy that was unheard of for the time.
I was lucky enough to have met Bomb Aimer Johnny Johnson who made his pilot go around nine times before he was content to release his bomb.
I will be raising a glass tonight in memory of these brave young men and all the crews of Bomber Command who never really achieved the level of recognition they deserved.