Eder Dam ceremony brings nations together

A remarkable event commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Dams Raid took place at the Eder Dam in Germany on 17 May. It was organised by the local Dambusters Museum Germany, directed by Herr Oliver Köhler.

Representatives of the services from the wartime Allied countries saluting during the ceremony.

Minister of Justice, Ms Eva-Kühne Hörmann, representing the regional government of Hesse.

Group Captain Smith speaking on behalf of the British Embassy.

Herr Stegner, representative of local Liberal Party, Waldeck.

Rev Downes, military chaplain, British army.

Band of the Royal Artillery, British army.

Plaque placed on the Eder Dam.

Herr Oliver Köhler, Director, Dambuster Museum, Germany.

All pictures © Wim Govaerts. 

 

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Plaques for three Dambusters unveiled

The BBMF Lancaster PA474 flew over Bill Townsend’s childhood home in Chepstow. [Pic: George Foster]

Crowds turned out in three separate parts of the UK last week as the childhood homes of three men who flew on the Dams Raid were honoured with plaques to mark the 75th anniversary of the raid.

Chepstow, Gwent: Flt Sgt Bill Townsend DFM (Pilot: AJ-O)

Pics: George Foster

Hildenborough, Kent: Flg Off Brian Goodale DFC (Wireless operator, AJ-L)

Centre of picture, Mrs Vera Goodale, widow of Brian Goodale. She is flanked by Howard and Joy Dowling of Hildenborough History Society. [Pic: Simon Goodale]

Leytonstone, London E11: Sgt Douglas Webb (Front gunner, AJ-O)

Pic: Yahya El-Droubie

Families gather to open new AJ-A memorial

Members of the families of the crew of AJ-A join with Jan and Macy van Dalen and John Bell of the 617 Squadron Association after the unveiling of the memorial at Castricum aan Zee on the Dutch coast. This was the aircraft piloted by Sqn Ldr Melvin Young on the night of the Dams Raid. It was the fourth to attack the Mohne Dam and caused the initial breach which led to its collapse.

The monument was unveiled by Belinda Brown, cousin of front gunner Gordon Yeo, the youngest member of the crew and Geoffrey Sturr, nephew of Melvin Young, the pilot.

Two Dambuster daughters. Left, Jill Owen (née Nichols), daughter of Sgt Laurie Nichols, and Angela McDonnold (née MacCausland) daughter of Flg Off Vincent MacCausland.

The Young and Ibbotson families in the cemetery in the nearby town of Bergen where the crew is buried.

Len and Sandra Brown, representing the family of Charles Roberts.

The family of Gordon Yeo.

Angela McDonnold (née MacCausland)

Photos: 617 Squadron Netherlands Aircrew Memorial Foundation/Dambusters Blog

Johnson flies in BBMF Lancaster

Pic: BBMF

Twenty-four hours later than planned, George ‘Johnny’ Johnson was a passenger in the BBMF Lancaster this morning when it flew from Coningsby at about 0800. The Lancaster’s route took them over Scampton and the Derwent Dam before landing again at Scampton about an hour later. Johnny flew in the bomb aimer’s position, just as he did when he took off from Scampton 75 years ago yesterday on the Dams Raid.

The flight was postponed from yesterday by weather conditions. The fact that Johnny was always scheduled to be a passenger was a very well-kept secret, as it was feared that if it became known he was going to be on board the traffic problems would have been even worse.

More to follow

Seventy five years ago today: The Dams Raid

The men who took part in the Dams Raid. (Compilation picture © Dambusters Blog)

Today is the 75th anniversary of the day Operation Chastise took place, the official title given to the Dams Raid. One hundred and thirty three men in 19 Lancasters from 617 Squadron, each loaded with a (literally) revolutionary new weapon, climbed into the sky above RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire and set off towards Germany, skimming the treetops of the ground below them.

They would attack the Mohne, Eder, Sorpe and Ennepe Dams, breaching the first two and causing massive flood damage to the lands below them. Almost 1500 troops and civilians were killed by the raid, and 53 men from the eight aircraft which were shot down or crashed also died.

You can read the full story of all the 133 men who took part in the Dams Raid in my new book The Complete Dambusters, published by the History Press, out now in shops or available from online retailers.

For more information on how and where to buy the book, see the publisher’s web page here.

Hildenborough blue plaque to honour Brian Goodale

Rather belatedly, details have only just been sent to the blog about another blue plaque to honour a Dams Raid participant. This is the work of the Hildenborough Historical Society and it will be installed on the house in Riding Lane, Hildenborough, Kent, in which Brian Goodale lived with his family between 1919 and 1939. The plaque will be unveiled on Thursday 17 May, the anniversary of the raid, at 4pm.

On the night of the Dams Raid, Brian Goodale was the wireless operator in David Shannon’s aircraft, AJ-L. He had completed a full tour of operations in 51 Squadron and was working on instructional duties at the time he was posted to Shannon’s crew. He was a late recruit to the crew, and undertook his first training flight with his new skipper on 24 April 1943.