My friend Dominic Howard sent me these pictures a while back and I have been so busy I forgot to post them on the blog! Better late than never, so here they are. They are original editions of the Winnipeg Free Press and Baltimore News-Post newspapers from May 1943, containing the first reports of the Dams Raid. You can see high resolution scans of both newspapers in Dom’s Photobucket pages — here for Winnipeg and here for Baltimore.
Dom is the great nephew of Cyril Anderson, the pilot of AJ-Y on the Dams Raid. Cyril had been transferred from 49 Squadron to 617 Squadron on 25 March, along with his crew. On the raid, his aircraft AJ-Y was part of the third wave, the mobile reserve, and was eventually dispatched to the Sorpe Dam. He encountered heavy flak en route and had a problem with a malfunctioning rear gun. So at 0310, with dawn approaching and the valleys filling with mist, he turned back while still short of the target. He landed at Scampton at 0530, with his mine still on board.
Guy Gibson was not pleased with the fact that he had returned without dropping the mine and, taking no notice of the other extenuating circumstances, sent Cyril and his crew back to 49 Squadron. Many researchers now feel that Gibson was unfair on Cyril, and that he was poorly treated by being removed from 617 Squadron.
Cyril and his crew completed another 15 operations in 49 Squadron until on a raid on Mannheim on 23/24 September 1943 they were shot down by a German night fighter and killed. The night fighter pilot was Lt Heinz Grimm, who was himself killed a few weeks later.
Dominic has an account of this final operation to Mannheim, and his trip to Germany to investigate the crash on his website, www.lancasterbombers.com
I’m no expert, but Cyril Anderson’s treatment seems par for Guy Gibson’s way of doing things. I wonder what take Gibson would have had if the mine was dropped on an unauthorized target, failed to explode and fell into the enemy hands? At the time, no-one on the raid would have known that the Nazis already had one from Barlow’s AJ-E.
Harsh treatment indeed.