BBC Dambusters Pictureboard completed!

Pictureboard complete small

Great news from the BBC. Photographs of all 133 aircrew who took part in the Dams Raid have now been obtained for the News Online pictureboard which was launched on the 70th anniversary last May. A big hat-tip to the BBC’s Greig Watson and his team, who took on the work. Several pictures were added in the first flush of publicity after the anniversary, but the last five subjects were surprisingly elusive.
Then your humble scribe had a bright idea, and tracked down the identity card pictures of all of them in the unpublished papers of the late Harry Humphries, 617 Squadron’s first adjutant. Thanks are due to his son, Peter Humphries, for making them available both to this blog and the BBC.
Many thanks also to all the families, individual researchers, libraries and archives who have provided photographs. A full list is on the BBC website.
There is more information on how the pictures were tracked down in this article from BBC Lincolnshire.


39 thoughts on “BBC Dambusters Pictureboard completed!

  1. Malcolm kilminster August 27, 2013 / 9:51 am

    what a privilege to see these photos. as an ex 617 sqn nav on Vulcans I wonder where I would find the courage to do what they did. so proud of my squadron

  2. Gillian Garwood August 27, 2013 / 9:55 am

    My uncle Allan Hill was a flight engineer with the dambusters. Are Flight engineers not included in your photos?

    • Nigel Favill August 30, 2013 / 1:16 pm

      Hi Gillian ,the photos are just of the 133 men who took part on the night of 16/17 may Dambuster raid .If your uncle was on that raid he would of been included .Hope this helps.

  3. Davy August 27, 2013 / 9:59 am

    My Dad was a part of the RAF ground radar crew stationed a Dunwich (Norfolk/Essex??) working on the night of the raid, he informed men that his duty that night was to block/jam German radar to allow the raid to enter in German air space without being deticted, would this be true?

    • Nigel Favill August 30, 2013 / 1:19 pm

      Hi Davy ,i would not be so sure about this as the Lancasters flew very low all the way to avoid any radar detection .I will look into this and get back to you .

  4. Andy Bailey August 27, 2013 / 10:06 am

    Well done all concerned!!!

  5. Mark Haynes August 27, 2013 / 10:18 am

    My father was Flt Engineer Dennis John Haynes and was on the plane called ‘Hellzapoppin’ (after the film) and attacked the Zorba dam. He is not in these pictures like Gillian Garwood – I’ve sent these pics to the BBC – please correct this insult to my father’s memory!

    • Nigel Favill August 30, 2013 / 1:21 pm

      Hi Mark there is no insult here as your father Flt Engineer Dennis John Haynes was not on the dams raid crews .Hope this helps

  6. Tony Knight August 27, 2013 / 10:29 am

    They were flying so low that I doubt radar would have been of any use to the Germans. All of the 133 crew members will be included in these photographs, including all of the Flight Engineers. There was a Victor Hill, not an Allan Hill who flew on the dams raid. Over the years there has been a tendency for anyone who was in 617 Squadron to be associated with the raid and of course that isn’t true.

    • Mark Haynes August 27, 2013 / 10:33 am

      Your incorrect – My father was Flt Engineer Dennis John Haynes and flew on the plane called ‘Hellzapoppin’ – I have proof and photos of him and he is not included!

  7. thomas fox August 27, 2013 / 12:15 pm

    My great uncle P/O Thomas Alfred Meikle flew DFM RAF was lost on september 15/16 lancaster EE144 AJ-S. could anybody held me find some information. also would there not be a photo of him included here? my email address is

    • Jennie December 19, 2018 / 2:00 pm

      Hi Thomas
      He is also my great uncle too. I’m his sister Ann’s granddaughter. I was also wondering why his photograph wasn’t included

      • charlesfoster December 19, 2018 / 3:40 pm

        Hi Ann
        Your great uncle Thomas Meikle was not in 617 Squadron at the time of the Dams Raid. He joined it later in the year and was in the crew of Wg Cdr Holden when he was killed on the Dortmund Ems canal operation. Charles Foster

      • charlesfoster December 19, 2018 / 8:46 pm

        Sorry Jennie, I called you Ann! C

  8. jonm111 August 27, 2013 / 12:18 pm

    Great to see all the pictures of the participants, would be good if the BBC had a filter available to see how many of the men involved survived the war, I’ve a feeling it may help to give a perspective to the sacrifice of all bomber command crews and what the chance of survival was throughout the war.

    • Nigel August 28, 2013 / 9:18 am

      Hi , only 48 survived the war . This idea is not new by the way as it has been done for all to see at tha Dambuster inn at Scampton . This was actually up before may , although it only had at the time 128 photos and was missing 5 it is very impressive to look at . All the medal awards are there and the men are in their crews.. It also is now complete.

  9. jonm111 August 27, 2013 / 12:22 pm

    Tried to comment once already not sure if it worked.

    Great to see this montage completed

    In addition to the filters for survived the raid, nationality etc. Would be good to see a filter to show how many of these men survived the war. This would bring into perspective the sacrifice of the men of bomber command to those who are unaware of the attritional nature of this theatre of operations

  10. Margaret Jackson August 27, 2013 / 12:54 pm

    Well done. The story of these brave men were very much a part of my childhood.

  11. John King August 27, 2013 / 12:54 pm

    Such a great collection of very young men.Who, some gave of themselves the ultimate sacrifice. Reunited again at last. Lest we forget.

  12. Harold Clark August 27, 2013 / 1:22 pm

    In the mid 1960’s I was a young sergeant aircrew flying on Shackleton Mk3 Maritime Reconnaissance aircraft. We were deployed to the RCAF Base Greenwood Nova Scotia to fly in an Exercise. Apart from the flying the Canadians organised some social events including a friendly golf match using the on-base 9 hole golf course. Myself and another young sergeant were paired up with 2 Canadians on of whom was the Base Operations Office. He was Wing Commander Joe McCarthy who was one of the Dam Buster pilots. He was on his last tour of duty before retiring to Virginia Beach in the USA. So my small claim to fame is that I played golf with one of the Dam Busters.

  13. Jane Doran August 27, 2013 / 1:31 pm

    My grandmother did the calculations for the dambusters. Maybe we should now try to find the pictures of others involved before they are forgotten too.

  14. John August 27, 2013 / 3:40 pm

    Just to say a great site, thanks for all your hard work. John

    Sent from my iPad

  15. Malcolm kilminster August 27, 2013 / 3:56 pm

    had the privilege to be on Vulcans and on 617 . wonder how I would have felt if I had been selected to do this mission. some astounding bravery involved Malcolm Kilminster

  16. Stuart Paterson August 27, 2013 / 6:04 pm

    Strange! As to who was my Grandfather. Earlier this year I bought the
    magazine DAMBUSTERS By Clive Rowley. Page 62 shows a photo of my
    grandfather, Sergeant Robert ‘Jock’ Paterson. But now in this collection
    its a different person. Anybody know the correct photo. I Am unaware of
    any family photo.

    • Heather August 30, 2013 / 9:17 am

      Hi, We have a great interest in making sure these pictures are correct as we created the Dambuster board which can be seen in the Dambusters Inn at Scampton, we would hate to cause any upset to any of the crews families. We found this link which also shows the same photo for your father as we have on our board, it would appear to be the same as the BBC.
      Hope this helps.
      Heather & Nigel
      p.s. Does the photo which is included in the magazine have any resemblance to any other crew member on the board?

  17. Susan Hughes August 27, 2013 / 9:14 pm

    Wonderfull tribute to those brave men, to see them all together at last.
    It make you realise how many gave their lives for us.
    Great site and a wonderdfull record.
    Brings home the reality of it all and what personally gave.
    Such bravery and some so young.
    despite my father having worked on the Lancasters at AVROE at Chadderton.

  18. Susan Hughes August 27, 2013 / 9:16 pm

    Need to add that I grew up knowing the work that went into the effort. Could not correct the post .

  19. Andy Collins August 27, 2013 / 9:58 pm

    What a fantastic fitting memorial… i visited the crash site of john hopgoods aircraft and crew close to the mohne dam.Even today people are leaving flowers there.Its nice to finally see johns face.!!

  20. Bryan Hempstead August 28, 2013 / 5:54 pm

    I hope I’m not being pedantic but I knew ‘Frank’ Tees in the late 50’s an 60’s
    but he was always called Fred.
    I knew him through the pistol club that I and my father and him were members. In the 50’s I started shooting and he allowed me to initially use his pistols.
    He lived in Letchworth where he was a barber. His death was recorded in Hitchin in 1980 where he is registered as Frederick Tees (ref 10/0496).

    • martin barratt March 24, 2014 / 7:35 pm

      My late father was in the same POW camp as Fred Tees…actually the same hut !

  21. Suzi reid October 5, 2013 / 4:15 pm

    My Uncle John Saunders was a Navigator on the Dambusters raid…he also is not listed here. He was decorated for it too i believe, as told to me by my late Father.he was apparently in the third wave that hit one of the dams. Apparently, as the story goes…they were shot down..only the pilot and my uncle were left alive…they managed to limp back to England…but turned the plane out to sea (so as not to cause inland casualties or deaths by crashing inland) ..and parachuted out . I think My father said he got the DSO for that run. I am a bit upset not to see his name here owing to their Bravery.

    • L Lewin August 16, 2020 / 5:52 pm

      He was shot down several times and got a golden caterpillar for it and was indeed decorated. My dad has a photo of him with his crew as he was my grandfather.

  22. Suzi Reid (Nee Saunders) October 6, 2013 / 9:50 am

    There seems to be a few missing by the looks of this Blog..or records are not complete somehow? My comment about my uncle has not been shown either. John Saunders Navigator on The raid on the Dams. He was most definitely there! But according to this …he does not exist. I was very proud to know my Uncle was a part of this awesome show of bravery. He was awarded the DSO..and yet…he is not here?. A great memorial to all that were a part of this great team of brave men. But spoilt as it is Not complete at all 😦

  23. charlesfoster October 6, 2013 / 10:20 am

    I’d like to come back here to all the commenters above who think their relative should have been included. Allan Hill was in 617 Squadron later in the war, but not on the Dams Raid. I can’t find any record of Dennis Haynes or John Saunders at all in 617 Squadron during the war, but they could well have been in another Bomber Command squadron. If John Saunders got the DSO, it will have been recorded in the London Gazette, which you can search online. Good luck.

    • Mark Haynes October 6, 2013 / 4:53 pm

      Dennis John Haynes was in 622 squadron based at Mildenhall, Suffolk – this has now been established. He WAS part of bomber command and took part in raids on Hamburg and Dresden but not the dams. Sorry for the mix up, this info has been misunderstood in our family for many years.

  24. Elizabeth Shand November 9, 2014 / 5:17 pm

    Do you know how I can find out more about one of the airmen whose picture is shown as having died on the Dambusters raid? His name is George Gregory Front Gunner AJ-M. He was married to my mother, Margaret Edwards. I have his medals and several photos but no other information.

      • Elizabeth Shand November 9, 2014 / 9:50 pm

        Thank you so much. I wish I had found your blog before my mother’s death. She would have like this. I know little about George other than a story from when I was a young child. George enjoyed working on clocks. My mother had a clock he had made that had not worked for several years. On the day The Dambusters movie previewed, they heard ticking from a cupboard. It was coming from George’s clock. It went for about three hours then stopped and never went again.

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