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617 SQUADRON - THE DAMBIUSTERS - 74TH ANNIVERSARY TODAY.


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That picture is my PC desktop background. . . . Jus' sayin. . . . .I don't usually bother with desktop pictures, but that artist really captured the mood for me. . . call me a silly old romatic if you will ( The Wife calls me a lot worse. . .) One of my near neighbours Erich, a 39 year old German electronics geek, says it's amusing but was a totally pointless excercise, as they fixed the dams fairly quickly. . . no sense of historical valour versus wartime morale value these bloody Jerries. . . . .

 

 

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War itself is totally pointless, why stop at one historical event? The actual dams destruction wasn't the only reason why they did it, the following devastation of the lower regions due severe flooding was also very effective. Just about every attack (in all wars) had a devastating effect on moral, after all that's what war was all about, to break the people they where attacking by whatever means possible.That aside I cannot for one minute imagine what those young men where feeling when this assault was underway, almost unimaginable to be flying such a large heavy cumbersome bomber deep into enemy Territory at night whilst being shot at with a very high chance of not coming home! Here we fly around in almost total comfort/safety by choice, these men where pretty much ordered to do it!

I too have just set this photo as my background, to remind me we are here 'cause of flyers like these!

I used to know a lovely bloke, a pilot who started the war flying Ansons, then progressed via Blenheims, Wellingtons, and finally Lancasters. He said he believed that he had a guardian angel, as, although returning to his base after many night raids over Germany and other targets with his aircraft badly damaged by flak and night fighters,often returning with one engind gone and the others on their last legs, he was never actually shot down, and apart from a scar on the side of his head due to part of a window being shattered by flak, he never suffered any another injury

 

His crews were not so lucky. He never went into this much, just went very quiet. He flew in the Berlin airlift after the war too, but when I ofered to take him flying in a Cessna, he declined saying that he never ever wished to fly ever again. I met him when he operated a reclaimed building materials yard, great bloke. He dIed in 1995. RIP 'Chalkie' ( I dunno how he got that nicknamea since 'White' wasn't his surname. . . ." need some doors, paving slabs or some bricks ?. . .Old Chalkie will have some mate. . ."

 

The horrors which that man must have seen and endured at the age of 21 we can ony try to imagine. I fervently hope that young pepole today never have to find out.

 

 

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I used to live on the shore of the Mohne See. On my last sortie I did a 'bombing run' on the dam, filming as I went. Our squadron switchboard soon lit up with hostile locals calling - it was still a sensitive issue even in the 1970's!

 

One could still see the zone where the dam wall had been breached, a large 'V' where the moss grew differently on the repaired section.

 

Others are correct in saying the damage was rapidly repaired, but there was substantial disruption down valley (the Ruhr) to German industry which set their war effort back a few months - every day was vital! Sadly most casualties were slave labourers employed in their factories.

 

I am in awe of the navigation skills employed in getting to the three dams. They had to manoeuvre heavy lumbering bombers low level, some time following the shine off canals in low moonlight conditions, to avoid as much flak as they could. Truly epic flying.

 

cheers John

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Still from film shot by the RAF Film Production Unit during Operation HURRICANE. Avro Lancaster B Mark I, NG128 'SR-B', of No. 101 Squadron RAF, piloted by Warrant Officer R B Tibbs, releases a 4,000-lb HC bomb ('cookie') and 30-lb incendiary clusters over the target during a special daylight raid on Duisburg. Over 2,000 sorties were dispatched to the city during 14-15 October 1944, in order to to demonstrate Bomber Command's overwhelming superiority in German skies. Note the large aerials on top of the Lancaster's fuselage, indicating that the aircraft is carrying 'Airborne Cigar' (ABC), a jamming device which disrupted enemy radio telephone channels.

 

http://media.iwm.org.uk/cii...

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

I bought a used (actually near-new, with only 13,000kms) 2012 Toyota Camry for the missus in 2014. It was a deceased estate vehicle.

 

Talking to the bloke selling it, the son of the original owner, he told me his Dad was a WW2 veteran, and was in the RAAF, but served in Britain during the War.

 

Then he related how the old fella had survived FORTY missions over Europe, as a tail-gunner in a Halifax!

 

The old fella survived WW2 unscathed - but I tracked a bit of his history down, and found a photo of his RAAF Initial Training graduation class in South Australia. 13 of the 40 blokes in his class never made it - a death rate of 32.5%.

 

The son said they took him back to the U.K. for the 70th Anniversary celebrations of Bomber Command, and he actually enjoyed the reunion of the few blokes left from that era.

 

Group portrait of 30 Course, 4 Initial Training School, Royal Australian Air Force, B Squadron, 13 Flight, held between July and September 1942 at Victor Harbor in SA. Identified, left to right, ...

 

Gordon is the bloke 3rd from the left in the 3rd row. He was discharged in July 1947, became an accountant in a small W.A. country town, then after about 20 years, turned his hand to selling rural real estate in the S.W. of W.A.

 

He bought the Camry brand new when he was 88, he only drove it for less than 2 yrs, then he got a bit crook, was in and out of hospital for about another 6 mths, and died in July 2014, at the age of 91.

 

The Tail Gunner

 

Bringing Up the Rear – a Tail Gunner’s Story

 

 

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