70th anniversary of the Dams Raid

Check the Dambusters 70th anniversary category for the latest information

2013 will see the 70th anniversary of the founding of 617 Squadron and the Dams Raid, and a number of events are being lined up to commemorate it. Those organised by the 617 Squadron Association have still to be confirmed, but they are likely to include a tribute by the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Lancaster at Derwent Water reservoir in Derbyshire, one of the UK reservoirs used by the Dambusters for training in the run up to the raid. This is provisionally scheduled for Thursday 16 May, the anniversary of the raid itself.

Derwent reservoir was the scene of a Lancaster flyover at the Ladybower Dam on the 65th anniversary in 2008, shown here in a terrific panoramic photograph by Rob McPherson.

There are also likely to be events at both RAF Scampton and RAF Coningsby, and the laying of a wreath at the 617 Squadron memorial in Woodhall Spa.

The BBMF’s Lancaster, PA474, has already been given a new nose art and identity to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of 617 Squadron. It is now to be called DV385, Thumper Mark III, to match the identity of one of the Lancasters posted to the squadron in November 1943, to replace those lost on both the Dams Raid and the disastrous September attack on the Dortmund Ems Canal.

And further celebration of the anniversary comes from the RAF Museum, who have published their must-have Christmas present in the shape of a 2013 calendar.

More information on 2013 events will be posted here as soon as we get it.

33 thoughts on “70th anniversary of the Dams Raid

  1. Terry Aldridge November 3, 2012 / 9:05 pm

    I was born on 16th May 1943 and therefore have a great interest in the Dambusters Raid. Will the dedication of the memorial be restricted to RAF personnel only or open to the public as I would like to attend. I live near Louth.
    Terry Aldiridge (terryaldridge@btinternet,com)

    • David Potter December 17, 2012 / 7:34 am

      I can confirm that the public will be welcome. A group of RAF Re-enactors are attending in full uniform and will be base camped at Thorpe Camp Visitor Centre (Formerly RAF Woodhall Spa No 1 accommodation block).
      Amateur Radio Special event from the same place Callsign GB617SQN on air 28 days 3rd May to 30th May inclusive. Book launch on the same occasion, for Tony Burcher’s personal account of the mission and his subsequent capture.

      • Dean Stickland December 23, 2012 / 10:04 am

        I would like to more about Tony Burcher’s book – can please you confirm that he is still alive and has written his own remarkable account, and are there any more members of the Dambusters who have written accounts of their involvement in that raid?
        Thank you, Regards, Dean Stickland

      • David Potter December 23, 2012 / 1:18 pm

        Hi Dean,
        Sadly Tony was deceased on 2001. The book will mark the 70th anniversary, with his first hand account from a gunners eye view. The title will be “A Tail Gunners Tale”. Not in print yet, but hopefully by spring 2013.
        I don’t know of any other accounts other than what is about already


  2. John Shipman November 6, 2012 / 6:14 pm

    Charles, hope all is well and that your book is selling well. I have done many talks about mine “one of The Few”, to raise money fro the RAFBF. Do you have any more books planned? Best wishes, John Shipman

  3. John Wyllie November 24, 2012 / 5:39 pm

    Tartan Squirrel Ltd has produced a limited edition Official Royal Air Force The Dambusters pin badge to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Dambusters raid. Only 2,000 in circulation. Available from http://www.theairforceshop.co.uk

  4. David Potter December 17, 2012 / 3:13 pm

    Hi Charles,
    Have a look at:
    617 crews association are planning to unveil a new memorial at the side of the main Dambusters one in Woodhall Spa over the weekend 18th – 19th May. I am launching a new small paperback to mark the occasion, about Tony Burcher (A Tail Gunners Tale) to raise funds for Thorpe Camp Visitor Centre. Also there will be an Amateur Radio special event using the callsign GB617SQN.
    David Potter (Volunteer at Thorpe Camp)

  5. Paul December 24, 2012 / 11:07 am

    Derwentwater is in the lake district.

    It’s Derwent Reservoir.

  6. Mark December 24, 2012 / 2:23 pm

    I have lived 10 minutes drive from the Ladybower Reservoir for almost 30 years and missed the 65th aninversary due to work commitments. I have booked the day off as a holiday for next years flypast. Will you be able to just turn up on the day as there is only one road up to the dam or are the nearby roads closed off?

  7. chris January 1, 2013 / 8:52 pm


  8. Linda Hart January 11, 2013 / 10:15 pm

    My father flew with the 625 Squadron out of Kelstern. He was the radio operator he will be 88 on 24th Jan. His pilot is also still alive at 90 years old and one other crew member. I’m not sure his age or what he did.
    Apart from the flyover at Ladybower, will there be an official service or anything?
    I live in Barbados and have intentions of coming home for this event. If this is to be, I need to get my flights and vacation time booked.
    My siblings and I have only just managed to get my father to apply for his war medals. It would be very fitting if there is to be a service or anything involving the RAF at the flyover, if my Dad could be properly presented with them. He’s one of the few that came home and I would be thrilled to a part of this celebration of the Dambuster’s Raid.
    Please let me know whatever detail you have.
    Thank you.

    Linda Hart

    • chris parkin January 12, 2013 / 6:20 pm

      i hope the 617 squadron association plan a fly past.i have heard so much talk from my mother whose 2 school friends were in lancasters during ww2 and never came home.went to london last summer to green park.couldnt hold back the tears though when i saw the bomber command memorial.it has become message site for finding RAFcomrades worldwide.very very moving.Magnificent tribute to all those men.we should be very very proud and of the relentless searching of Barnes Walliss creations to shorten the war.A brilliant practically minded man.


      • Robin Eyre March 9, 2013 / 11:18 am

        Hi Linda. My father was a radio engineer (ground crew), on at Kelstern. Derek Eyre – he died in 1986 and its a very long shot but don’t suppose the name rings any bells with your dad.

        Warmest regards to you and your father – Robin Eyre

    • charlesfoster January 12, 2013 / 8:31 pm

      Linda– I’ve replied to you at your email address, but I’m putting this here so that it is in public view.
      I suggest you contact the 625 Squadron Association and/or the Bomber Command Association. Did your father go to the opening of the Bomber Command memorial in London last year? I think that all BC veterans were invited, so he should have been.
      Here are the details of 625 Squadron association:
      Nic Lewis 
      Hon. Sec. 
      2 Eyebury Cottages 
      Eyebury Road, Eye 
      Peterborough, Cambs 
      PE6 7TH 
      Tel. 01733 223111 
      Email: sec@625squadron.org 

      Here is the Bomber Command Association
      Douglas Radcliffe MBE
      The Secretary
      Bomber Command Association
      RAF Museum
      Grahame Park Way
      NW9 5LL
      Tel: 020 8358 4841

      Good luck! — Charles

    • Robin Eyre February 5, 2013 / 2:12 pm

      Linda – just seen uyour pst – My dad was with 625 at Kelston – radio engineer. He died in 86 but be greatto swap mails – unlikley that yopurdad would recall him but younever know – he was Derek Eyre.

      Very best wishes to you and your father – Robin

      • Linda Hart April 6, 2013 / 7:18 pm

        Robin, I sent you an e-mail a couple of weeks ago. Hope you received it. I was in UK from mid January to 8/March so only picked up your postings then. (Didn’t always have internet connection and was very selective when I did!) Sorry to say that my Dad did not remember your Dad.
        Do you know if the flyover is happening at Derwent Waters around the 16th May. i don’t seem to be able to pick up any info.
        Best regards

      • Robin Eyre April 6, 2013 / 8:06 pm

        Hi Linda.

        Sorry didn’t get your mail and so really appreciate you following up on this.

        Shame he doesn’t remember my dad by not surprising the numbers of men that were in the RAF and the amount they moved around.

        Same as you I can’t find out about the fly past – I have booked a couple of days off in case hoping there would be something, some where – may be Scampton / Lincoln ?

        If it is at Derwent it will be crammed. I went to one about 30 ? 35 years ago – we saw it at Lady Bower res. A Hastings flying alongside the now BBMF Lanc – was incredible but the roads were just solid.

        Thanks again for the time to respond (again).

        Please give my very best regards to your father.


  9. Philip Knight January 19, 2013 / 7:03 am

    Any news on arrangements for fly over at Derwent Dam? On 65th Anniversary it was a token only event that you had to apply for and go into a raffle?

    Cheers Phili

  10. Richard Davis January 30, 2013 / 12:43 am

    Hello to all,

    I represent the Civilian Committee of the 1063 Squadron of the ATC and we’re in the process of organising a full town commemoration of the Dambusters raids here in Herne Bay just along from Reculver, the site of a lot of the bouncing bomb testing and development.

    Further details to follow, but we’re very hopeful of the Memorial Flight agreeing to support the event, as they did a decade ago, along with many other events. The event will be open to all, so no need for tickets or raffles to come along and help us celebrate – the 19th May is the date to pencil into your diaries for now!


  11. Simon Dufton February 16, 2013 / 9:30 pm

    Hi Charles. If you checkout http://www.dambusters2013.org.uk you find details of the 70th Anniversary Motorcycle Ride for Help for Heroes which is being fully supported this year again by RAFSscampton, 617 Sqdn, the Dambusters and Sqn Ldr George ‘Johnny’ Johnson DFM! Best regards. Simon

  12. jeannette March 3, 2013 / 3:04 pm

    We would very much like to show our respects and teach our 9 year old some proper history about those that fought for him and are very interested in attending the fly over at derwent resvoir, so could you please advise if this event has been confirmed and if so, will it Be raf personnel and immediate family only or if it will be open to public. Many thanks

  13. Stuart March 8, 2013 / 11:52 pm

    at what time will the fly over be

  14. Lesley April 23, 2013 / 2:21 pm

    My mom was born in 1943 and I would very much like to take her along to the fly over at Derwent if it’s happening. I’ve booked a nearby B&B just incase it happens. She’s in a wheelchair so it will make for an interesting time. Still can’t find any details to say if it’s happening and open to the public.

  15. alvin April 27, 2013 / 12:55 pm

    in regards to the proposed flyover of derwent dam.is there a scheduled time yet?

  16. Nick Allen May 5, 2013 / 11:24 am

    I’ve seen the Lancaster flying on several occasions and there’s a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye every time I hear the drone of those engines. Unfortunately I won’t be able to attend the flypast of the Derwent Dam but I want you all to know that seeing this iconic aircraft in flight is a real joy and I want to say thank you to everyone involved in keeping her flying.

    • chris parkin May 6, 2013 / 8:18 pm

      yes its very emotional .to just sit and think what the newspaper headline did to the moral of britains workforce.we were at full belt .to receive that news on the 17th may 1943 in england whilst working a lathe must have been uplifting.very very brave men.i owe all my much taken for granted freedom to people like them

  17. Gaynor Barker May 12, 2013 / 10:02 am

    My mum is a member of the Lanc association and Guy Gibson is her idol , she is very ill at the moment and i would love to be able to take her to Ladybower ( we live 15 mins away) she saw her fly last year and felt it would be her last time it would be so emotional for her to see her one last time, PLEASE CAN WE HAVE SOME INFO FOR THE DERWENT FLY PAST X

  18. monica finnigan May 14, 2013 / 8:00 am

    My son has just retired from the R A F Have recieved a M.B.E. can my husband and myself get anywhere nearer to the fly past. We are unable to walk very far .

  19. Jonathan-Photography May 14, 2013 / 1:53 pm

    I’ve just heard that the roads and the reservoir will be closed for the flyover due to health and safety issues. The dignitaries will be staying at Chatsworth house to watch the lancaster fly past.
    Only walkers will be allowed past the reservoir on the day.

  20. Jonathan May 14, 2013 / 1:55 pm

    Ive heard that the reservoir and the roads around it will be closed on the flyover day due to new health and safety rules.

    The dignitaries will have to stay at Chatsworth and watch the lancaster fly past there.

  21. Tim Parry May 15, 2013 / 2:12 pm

    Daft it is that 133 very brave men can fly at night over water in a 32ton antique under fire while we cannot stand in broad daylight 1/2 mile from placid water to reflect on their heroism 70 years later.Makes one weep with rage and frustration.No wonder this wonderful old country of ours is in such dire straits.Spineless you should be ashamed.Where is your moral fibre?TimParry.

  22. Carole Bowman May 16, 2013 / 11:04 am

    I too am celebrating my 70th birthday today. We will remember them.

  23. Mr P Harris May 16, 2013 / 6:51 pm

    Has anyone other than me know of those crews from other squadrons like 101, who also did the same training and who were the ‘reserves’ from each plane of the raid? I have never found any mention of them in any book or on any programme.

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