Dams Raid 75th anniversary: first events announced

A 617 Squadron Lancaster dropping a dummy ‘Upkeep’ bomb during testing of the weapon at Reculver in Kent, a few days before the Dams Raid on 16/17 May 1943. [Pics: stills from film in the IWM collection]

Preparations are now in hand for events next summer to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Dams Raid. The first dates have now been announced.

Saturday 12 May 2018. The 617 Squadron Association Annual Dams Dinner will be held at the Petwood Hotel, Woodhall Spa, for members of the Association and invited guests.

Sunday 13 May 2018, 10.00am. 617 Squadron Association Annual Wreath-laying Ceremony and Service, 617 Squadron War Memorial, Woodhall Spa. Members of the public welcome.

Thursday 17 May 2018. The Royal Aeronautical Society, 4 Hamilton Place, London W1J 7BQ. Time to be confirmed. A symposium to review the origin, preparation, execution and achievements of Operation Chastise. The 617 Squadron Association Official Historian, Dr Robert Owen, will be one of the presenters. Booking is not yet open, but further details are available here.

Thursday 17 May 2018, 7.15pm. Royal Albert Hall, London SW7 2AP. Commemorative evening paying tribute to 617 Squadron. Introduced by Dan Snow. Guests will include family members of Dams Raid crew members, former members of 617 Squadron, historian Paul Beaver, plus a ‘bouncing bomb’ experiment and music from the Glenn Miller Orchestra. This event will culminate with a screening of the 1955 film The Dam Busters, directed by Michael Anderson and starring Sir Michael Redgrave and Richard Todd, on a 40ft screen in 4K definition. This event is in support of the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund. More details here.

Friday 18 May. Castricum-aan-Zee, Netherlands. Time to be confirmed. Unveiling of the memorial to the crew of AJ-A, the Dams Raid aircraft piloted by Sqn Ldr Melvin Young, which was shot down just off the Dutch coast on its return journey from the Eder Dam. The crew are buried in the nearby Bergen cemetery. Details to follow.

Further events are expected to be announced between now and May 2018. This list will be updated when these occur. For the latest version of this list click on this link on the blog.


9 thoughts on “Dams Raid 75th anniversary: first events announced

  1. rosebarry0 December 20, 2017 / 10:59 pm

    I used to love attending the reunions with my late father both the Dams reunion (in which he did not take part) and also the Tirpitz reunion (in which he emphatically DID take part!
    Freddie Watts DFC never forgotten.

  2. Andy Smith December 21, 2017 / 8:53 am

    Is Friday 18th May the DEFINITE date for the Unveiling of the memorial to the crew of AJ-A please ?

    • charlesfoster December 21, 2017 / 9:20 am

      Andy — this date came from another source. It has yet to be confirmed by the Dutch organisers. As soon as I get further information, I will update this post. CF

  3. Geoffrey December 24, 2017 / 6:43 pm

    My uncle, Norman Burrows was killed during the Dam Busters raid. I noticed that some of these events included invited family and wonder how I can find out more about this. Any thoughts?

    • charlesfoster December 24, 2017 / 7:54 pm

      Geoffrey — I will contact you by email to pass on further information. Best wishes — Charles

  4. Elizabeth Evans (Mrs) January 12, 2018 / 5:55 pm

    Is there to be a ceremony at the Ladybower Dam for the 75th anniversary of the raids, I went to one for the 50th Anniversary and would dearly love to be part of it again, but as both my husband and I are both elderly we have to put everything into place before travelling. It would be such an honour to be able to attend another memorial there and witness the flypast. My husband is disabled and we have a small motor home so travel is not really a problem and neither is accommodation if we can find a campsite quite close. He is also a blue badge holder for parking.

    • charlesfoster January 13, 2018 / 5:42 pm

      Dear Mrs Evans
      I think that it is very unlikely that there will be an official flyover at the Ladybower dam this year. Anything advertised in advance has the potential to cause massive traffic disruption and the local police are likely to object. If you want to see the Lancaster this summer, the best thing to keep checking the BBMF website. It will have details of 2018 events at which it can be seen. https://www.raf.mod.uk/bbmf

  5. Tim Parry February 27, 2018 / 1:34 pm

    I believe your uncle and Hopgood each attended Marlborough College.I hope you may prevail upon them to commemorate these two among all the squadron at the 75th anniversary.J Johnson spoke to some of us at Wellesbourne during 70th anniversary and we have hopes he will do so again in March near Ashorne in Warwickshire.
    For those interested a magnificent and moving day in Lancaster bomber “Just Jane”may be pursued at East Kirby airfield.

    • Tony Sinclair February 28, 2018 / 4:35 pm

      Do it! It’s an unforgettable and unique day

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