A giant leap for a Dambuster grandson

Here’s a question for your next pub quiz: What is the link between that excellent film Billy Elliott (shown again on BBC TV last night) and the Dams Raid? The clue is in the picture above.

It shows a screenshot from the very end of the film, as the now-adult Billy makes a dramatic entrance in a performance of Swan Lake in London. The dancer who played the adult Billy in this scene is Adam Cooper, who had played the role of the lead Swan in the acclaimed Matthew Bourne production of Tchaikovsky’s famous work.

The connection with the Dams Raid is that Adam Cooper is the grandson of Flg Off Sydney Hobday DFC, the navigator in Les Knight’s aircraft AJ-N on Operation Chastise. A few months later, Hobday evaded capture and got back to England after baling out of another Lancaster on 617 Squadron’s ill-fated attack on the Dortmund Ems canal. You can read more about him in his Dambuster of the Day profile here.

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