Group picture taken outside Officers’ Mess at Scampton, 17 May 1943. Jack Buckley is third from the right in the front row, standing between David Shannon and Les Knight. [Pic IWM HU91948]
Flg Off J Buckley
Lancaster serial number: ED929/G
Call sign: AJ-L
First wave. First aircraft to attack Eder Dam. Mine dropped accurately but no breach caused. Aircraft returned safely.
Jack Buckley was one of the most experienced air gunners in 617 Squadron, and one of only eight who flew on the Dams Raid already commissioned. Born in Bradford in 1919, he had joined the RAF at the outset of war. After training he first joined 225 Squadron, and then later 75 (New Zealand) Squadron, with whom he flew 35 operations, mainly with Plt Off Fisher. He was commissioned in June 1942, and then transferred to a training unit.
He joined David Shannon’s crew in 617 Squadron in early April 1943, and became an important part of the squadron. Len Sumpter remembered him as owning a racing car, and also usually having a pint in his hand. This reputation looks to have been cemented in the famous ‘morning after the Dams Raid’ picture, taken on the steps of the Scampton Officers’ Mess on 17 May 1943. Buckley is obviously laughing out loud – perhaps affected by a combination of quite a lot of booze and no sleep.
He was awarded the DFC in July 1943 and flew on a number more operations with Shannon. In the summer of 1944, he went back to training and remained there to the end of the war.
Jack Buckley died in Bradford in May 1990.
Survived war. Deceased.
Rank and decorations as of 16 May 1943.
Richard Morris, Guy Gibson, Penguin 1995
John Sweetman, The Dambusters Raid, Cassell 2002