My good friend Dom Howard kindly recorded Stephen Fry’s very brief reference to the Dambusters remake on The One Show on BBC1 last night.
Receiving an award for “Most Consistent Attempt to Remake a Film” the great man revealed that he will be flying out to New Zealand “next Monday” for talks with Peter Jackson on “restarting” the remake. Rest assured, gentle readers, that they will be taking nothing away from the original, “one of the greatest British films ever made… Peter is still passionate about it, and so am I”.
(And, if this is your first time reading this blog, please don’t waste your time writing in about the dog’s name. It won’t be published. See this post for the reason why.)
Mmmm, like you I’ve waited with such slabbered anticipation, now concluded it’ll still be some while before we hear about any progress, let alone the finished article.
We all live in hope.
I think Gibson treated his crew very badly especaly his flight engineer Pulford who sat next to him when he was doing his heroics..
ex flight engineer on Lincolns 1951 with 617 sqd & 100 sqd
Why do you say this? Let’s have more detail !!
there are several comments on Gibsons web site & in the book Pulford is hardly mentioned. As an ex flight albeit in peace time I know what it is like sat next to the pilot when doing very dangerouse manouvers especally low level at night.
Could be the exact opposite. We use the ‘oppo’ system in the Cdo whereby we totally trust our ‘oppo’ hardly ever conversing but simply knowing what each will do under stress.
Be glad to have a note of ‘Gibson’s web site’ if you could forward to me please?
Having almost completed an in depth study of Gibson (was at St Edwards school on Sunday) I do not feel Gibson would have contemplated any mission such as the Damns raid with an awkward relationship in the cockpit, especially with his Engineer, knowing the arduous conditions they were flying under. Having just re read Enemy Coast Ahead for the 3rd time, he mentions very little about his crew outside of basic flying ops. Maybe we would have learnt more had GG lived on but I cannot actually see any bad treatment mentioned anywhere.? Be glad of your further comments and references.
“Gibson had a low opinion of Pulford, thinking him dull and incapable of independent thought. This may say more about Gibson than Pulford, for Gibson never listened to him long enough to notice that he came from Yorkshire rather than London. In the cockpit of Gibson’s Lancaster there was a distinct air of master and servant. In the fuselage as a whole his crew represented Britain’s class structure in microcosm and the pattern of the Empire beyond.” (Quotation from Richard Morris, Guy Gibson, Penguin, 1995, p.152.)
Having spoken to a member of the Dams Raid about Gibson, it is clear that whilst he was a superb leader he was very much old school RAF being an officer prior to the war. I have been a Dambusters aficionado for 40 years plus and have never seen reference to Gibson treating his crew in anything other than a manner you would expect. The words that were used to me from a pilot on the raid was that Gibson was abrasive, authoritative and distant. Nevertheless he looked after his men.
Gibson had a very low opinion of Pulford, thought him dull, Gibson didn’t know he was Yorkshire not London. (Richard Morris, Penguin 1995 p152) Pulford was an experiance F/Eng. pre war motor mec. 10 ops before joining Gib. in the pre Dam picture he is 2nd from left with the airborn plumers tool kit, not happy while Gib looks smug.
Gibson was born in India, son of a Brtish civil servent in pre war Raj period, when anyone of lower class was treated with contempt. he was a boarder at a public school in Oxford, in the RAF his fellow officers called him ‘the arch bastard’. I was on 617 in 1951 when there were still people that knew him, he was not well liked.he was short, big headed & arrogant. danger was like a drug, almost a death wish, pushed himself to the limit no regard to himself or crew even to the end.but in war those men are needed.
I’m a little disappointed of your opinion of me. I well know what an oppo is, in 2 years I flew 350 hours as F/Eng with 617 & 100sqd, 1/3 at night. flew 37 different Lincolns with 17 different pilots, sergeants, F/Sgs, P/Os, F/Os, F/Ls, Sqd leaders & Wing Co Willy Tait (Turpiz fame.) Poles, Czechs, wartime vets & sprogs. With my last crew, skipper P/O Des Delany I would gone to hel & back, we were oppos, mates & friends.
Tony, you seem to be spot-on. All I’ll say is that people are … not as simple as they seem. I won’t excuse Gibson’s poor behaviour as a young man (Morris states Gibson’s infidelities matter-of-factly – something I have always found loathesome); I will suggest that sometimes we get stuck with a leader who gets the job done regardless. I suspect I would’ve disliked him, myself. If you look at how he died, it really makes you wonder what on earth he was doing, hanging around behind a bomber returning home. I have an unpleasant feeling he may have been teasing the aircraft in front and … yeah, well.
People seem happy to vent their own prejudices onto other people.
The mission was virtually impossible and most of the pilots & crew not particularly outstanding – so drill and discipline would be quite necessary.
Gibson was not picked to lead the raid because of his skill in flower arranging.
It’s taken longer to make this film than World War Two!
I am only sorry that they are not using RAF Scampton to film it ! The old mess is a mess and badly requires a lick of paint. The RAF don,t seem to have any but they may have done it up for filming ? It’s a world heritage center I believe ? It should be treated as a War Memorial !