Barnes Wallis had never been back to Reculver in Kent, the place where the final test drops of his “bouncing bomb” took place in May 1943, until he was taken there by Ray Hepner in 1976. Above, in this previously unpublished photograph taken by Ray and kindly given to me by him, he surveys the scene. Below is a still from the film sequcnce shot of the tests, now in the Imperial War Museum. Wallis is the bareheaded figure on the far left of the group. In the film, he is seen to be waving his arms as if to urge the bomb onwards.
Update: Mark Welch kindly pointed out the error in the title of my original post, “Barnes Wallis at Reculver, 43 years on”. My maths was badly wrong!
Charles! 1976 was 33 years on, not 43. Fascinating though, I would love to go there myself one day
Thanks kz! And to Mark Welch who also pointed this out. Brain fade this afternoon. The title now changed.
The photo of Wallis at Reculver has in fact been published, in the booklet ‘The Story of the Dams Raid’ by Jim Shortland. It is a rather basic story of the raid originally produced to be included in a board game which was withdrawn almost immediately after it went on sale. As a result the remaining booklets were turned over to the BBMF who sell them.
The booklet has a few photos in the centre, one being a fake log book page reputedly of Sergeant Edward Smith of Geoff Rice’s crew, but also three photographs of Wallis at Reculver, including the above and another of Barnes and his wife Molly.