I’ve recently been contacted by New Zealander John Saunders, the great-nephew of a 617 Squadron airman from later in the war, Flg Off Bruce Hosie RNZAF.
Just to say how much I’ve enjoyed your recent book – ‘Breaking the Dams’ – just neat neat stuff. I have read a few of the 617 & Dambusters books but this one has something special – the personal touch I think. Congratulations !
I’m trying to track down a photo of my great-uncle, Bruce Hosie. Bruce was a young Wireless Operator/Gunner on 617 Sqn in 1944 but was killed on the Oct 44 raid on the Kembs Dam down near Basel. He was my grandmother’s younger brother … and is still remembered back home in NZ. He had done a previous tour on 75 Sqn (NZ) and was posted to 617 in Jan 44 – and did most of his time on Jimmy Cooper & then Bob Knight’s crews…he did the first of the Tirpitz raids…then came back from leave to end up on a scratch crew for the Kembs deal. He was shot by the local Nazi Chief after their aircraft crashed in Rheinwheiler and is buried near Metz.
The Kembs Dam was on the Rhine in the very south of Germany, near a threeway border with both France and Switzerland. The plan was to attack it with the giant Tallboy bombs from both low and high level. Bruce Hosie’s aircraft, which was piloted by Sqn Ldr Wyness, was badly damaged and he ditched in the Rhine, hoping to reach the safety of the Swiss bank. They did not make it, however, and four of the crew were captured. In what was a clear abuse of the Geneva convention all of them were shot by local Nazi chiefs, and their bodies dumped in or near the river.