Filming “The Dam Busters” – two new pictures

This is the second post running featuring the son of a member of the RAF who took part in the filming of “The Dam Busters” in 1954. This time it is Jan Kmiecik, whose father was Flt Sgt Joe Kmiecik, a Second World war veteran who was by then a pilot in 83 Squadron. Jan has kindly sent me these two photos.

The first shows ground level filming of one of the two Lancasters which was modified for the film to resemble the “real” Dambuster aircraft more closely, with its mid upper gun turret and bomb bay doors removed. It has also had its squadron code changed to AJ-M, the code of the aircraft flown on the actual raid by Flt Lt John Hopgood.

The second picture shows the three Lancasters used in the film flying together probably for the last time. This was taken at a Battle of Britain Day tribute in Cumbria. The caption on the reverse says that this was taken at Silloth, but in Jonathan Falconer’s Filming the Dam Busters, this is mentioned as taking place at nearby Anthorn. (If anyone can confirm which airfield this is, please let me know. Cumbria resident Dom Howard reckons that it is Silloth– see this link .)
Note in the picture that only two of the aircraft have been modified to the “Dambuster” configuration. The central one must be NX782, which was left as standard and used in an early sequence where Gibson is completing his final flight as CO of 106 Squadron.
Note also how low the three Lancasters are flying, and how close they are to the members of the public wandering across the runway. Modern air displays have much stricter health and safety rules!

12 thoughts on “Filming “The Dam Busters” – two new pictures

  1. philip croft September 29, 2012 / 5:47 pm

    Do we know what happened to these Lancs ? When on holiday in Toronto Canada -1966, I saw a Lancaster mounted on a concrete pedestol in a public Park area. I think it has since been removed for restoration, not sure what the progress is, or it’s intended home to be. P G Croft.

  2. Joel Joy October 4, 2012 / 2:58 am

    Located east of Ouellette Avenue and south of Tecumseh Road East is JACKSON PARK (Windsor, Ontario, Canada) which has lovely formal gardens and wonderful rose gardens. The Park is a favourite spot for Wedding photos, especially near the fountain. It is also the home of our “Lancaster Bomber”. But it won’t be there for much longer. Because of its deteriorating condition, it will be dismantled and moved to a Windsor Airport hangar where it will be refurbished.

    Read more:

    Here is the video of it’s arrival in 1964 at this site:

    • philip croft October 4, 2012 / 10:43 am

      Thank you very much, I didn’t think I’d ever be able to view that historic scene. The link opens up access many excellent short films and general information. Highly reccomended. Phil Croft .UK.

  3. Trevor A. Williams October 7, 2012 / 12:27 pm

    What a wonderful sight to see three Lancasters line abreast over the public…..even more reason for getting the Panton Brother’s Lanc ‘Just Jane’ airworthy so we can fly it along with that of the BBMF’s Lanc…….then all we need is a third…………

    • philip croft January 3, 2013 / 8:45 pm

      I just caught the last few minutes of a one o’clock news report on BBC one yesterday, covering the Panton Brothers story of their long efforts to get their ‘Lanc’ restored. Apparently, they have at last raised enough funds to take delivery of ‘new’ restored engines for their plane. Next target–airworthy certification—YIPPEE !!

  4. Clarence Postlethwaite January 2, 2013 / 9:34 pm

    Reference to the photo of the three Lancasters reputed to be flying an an airshow at Silloth. I can confirm that it was not Silloth but at nearby RNAS Anthorn during one of their airshow I think in 1954.

    The reason I am so sure is that I was there as a school boy. A few days previous to this photo being taken I had cycled to Silloth (an avid aircraft enthusiast as a school boy – and the same as an adult) and watched the Lancasters during the film making.

  5. Peter Kelsey January 2, 2013 / 9:47 pm

    You can fly in to East Kirby, there is a good grass runway available, and see the Panton brothers Lanc. Put a few quid in and get it airborne .

    • philip croft January 3, 2013 / 8:48 pm

      See my comment above –re Panton Bros.

  6. Ken Murphy June 9, 2013 / 2:57 pm

    I would suggest that the airfield is Anthorn, not Silloth. The link shown takes you to a site of old airfields, and when you look at Silloth, there are three hangars, but they are side-on to the airfield. Anthorn on the other hand, shows the remains of three hangars on the east side, and they are end-on to the airfield, as seen in the photo of the three Lancasters in the flypast.

    Regarding the Canadian Lancasters, the FM104 which was on display at the CNE grounds in Toronto is in pieces at Downsview, where the museum which was painting it was forced to move.

    The Windsor Lancaster, FM212, is being restored at Windsor airport.

    Regarding Trevor Williams comment re needing a third airworthy Lanc, the Canadian Warplane Heritage Lancaster, FM213, is again airborne for its’ annual flying schedule, operating at Hamilton airport.

    Excellent blog you have.


  7. Jim Jobe November 8, 2013 / 10:30 am

    NX679 was at Farnborough in 1956 with Gibson’s a/c serial pasted over on the fuselage. I can’t remember if it still carried AJ-G or not. See Air Pictorial from that time.

  8. Trevor A.Williams November 8, 2013 / 3:59 pm

    Hi Ken it’s great to see that FM213 is still flying in Canada……but you have another Lancaster out there my friend which is threatened by the long Canadian winters……in today’s day and age we can’t afford to have such an iconic aircraft such as a Lancaster outside in the elements…..I refer to KB882 a fourteen sortie Canadian Lanc that sits outside in the elements of
    Brunswick Park ?… …….

  9. Mark Byers September 21, 2014 / 2:01 am

    No… this is Anthorn Airfield… easily recognisable by the arrangement of Pentad and Fromson Hangars in the background. None of this type at silloth.

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