Dambusters 70th Anniversary

Today, Thursday May 16th 2013 marks the 70th Anniversary of the raid carried out by 133 airmen in 19 Lancaster bombers from the specifically formed 617 squadron, was an attempt to cripple a major part of the Nazi war economy by carrying out attacks on three dams in the industrial heartland of Germany. Fifty-six of the men did not return from the top-secret mission, which required them to fly the Lancaster bombers at just 60ft above the ground – incredibly low when compared to the 250ft aircraft must fly at nowadays – in the dark across northern Europe.

The planes, armed with scientist Dr Barnes Wallis’ bouncing bombs, flew to the Ruhr Valley either side of midnight on May 16, 1943. The Mohne and Eder dams were breached during the raid and the Sorpe damaged. The Derwent reservoir, in the Hope Valley in Derbyshire, was used for practice runs by the elite crew of 617 Squadron as they prepared for the groundbreaking mission. The pilots practised the dangerous low-flying manoeuvres they needed to perfect in order to drop the new “bouncing bomb”, designed by engineer Barnes Wallis, at the exact height and level necessary for it to skim across the water and explode against German dams. Three dams in the Ruhr valley, Nazi Germany’s industrial heartland, were destroyed in the raid on May 16-17 1943. Tragically, 56 of the 133 airmen who went on the raid did not return.

Today, the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and 617 Squadron recreated history by flying over its twin towers, before continuing on to Chatsworth House to carry out a fly past.

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Today, the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and 617 Squadron recreated history by flying over the twin towers of the Derbyshire reservoir. The flypast, carried out by RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) and 617 Squadron, was one of a number of events taking place around England today to mark the raids 70 years ago.

The Dam raids, named Operation Chastise, now have a legendary status not only because of the skill and innovation needed by the pilots to carry them out; they had to fly at 60ft above the ground – incredibly low when compared with today’s pilots who must fly 250ft above ground – in the large Lancaster aircraft, in the dark and at speed, but also because of the problems it caused Germany at a crucial point during the Second World War.

This was something that 70 years later makes us proud to be British and undoubtedly deserves a mention. I couldn’t get to Derbyshire today to grab some images so instead I have decided to post some from the 80th anniversary of Leeds Bradford Airport. On this day a Lancaster Bomber serial PA474 (the same frame as todays flight) performed several low passes of the airport.

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Thanks for reading…. If you would like to see some more images from this day, I have a set on Flickr here.

 

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About Mark Winterbourne

A little about me … well, what can I say. I started photography back in 1979 when I was just 11 years old. I was given a 35mm SLR Camera by my late Grandfather as a birthday present. The camera was a Russian built Zenit EM and built like a house brick. Many of my slides on here are taken with the very same camera. My passion stemmed from my Grandfathers love of photography and in particular his fondness of the English Lake District. I will showcase his work on here in the coming months, but there are over 10,000 slides and I have quite a task ahead of me scanning them in. In the late eighties and early nineties I moved on to autofocus SLR’s and began to accumulate quite a stash of equipment. In between my full time employment and sleeping I started doing small photographic assignments for freinds, family and small businesses. In the early 2000′s I started using a digital camera and traed all my traditional film cameras in for more equipment. My Camera Equipment Canon EOS 20D Body BGE2N Battery Grip Canon EOS 50D Body BGE2N Battery Grip Canon 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 EF-S Lens Canon EF 75-300mm f/4.0-5.6 III Lens Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM Sigma 28-105 F2.8-4 DG Lens Sigma 50-500mm f/4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM Canon 580EX Speedlite Flashgun Canon CP-E4 Compact Battery Pack for 580EX I took an avid interest in aviation photography at the start of the 2000′s when digital cameras became more accessible. My enjoyment was taken up a level when I discovered I could mix my love of light & colour with aviation photography by taking photographs. In 1983 I suffered a head injury which was diagnosed as a brain tumour. LIfe soon returned to normal in 1984 but in the early part of 2002 things turned nasty and headaches and sickness returned. To date I dont have a surgeon willing to operate on me and struggle by day to day. You will find more about this in my blogs……. Nothing will stop my photography, not even this head injury….this blog reflects my day to day life as a person with an interest in photography….with a headache to match Hope you enjoy….please feel free to contact me, anytime

Posted on May 16, 2013, in aircraft, Aviation, Flickr, Photography (Aviation) and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Reblogged this on YourHobbyBlog.

  2. large image
    The Dam Busters (1954)

    Format:

    Thrilling British WWII drama, based on a true story, follows a scientist who comes up with a way to destroy a series of German dams vital to the Nazi war effort and the RAF crew charged with carrying out the dangerous mission. Richard Todd, Michael Redgrave, Basil Sydney star; look quickly for Robert Shaw and Patrick McGoohan. 119 min. Standard; Soundtrack: English.

    The movie was inspiring

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