Tuesday’s events going ahead in Lincoln!

I’m looking forward to meeting other Dams Raid aficionados this coming Tuesday, 10 July, at two events in Lincoln.

The first is at 3pm in the International Bomber Command Centre, Canwick Hill. The second is at 6pm in Waterstone’s Bookshop, High Street. At both events I will be talking about the research that went into my new book, The Complete Dambusters, and also signing copies.

So if you are in the area, do come along. Careful planning (well done, Gareth Southgate!) will mean that you can rest assured that you won’t miss a minute of any football match involving England!

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Author on tour: another date added

If you are based in the Lincoln area, you may be interested in another event I am doing on the same day, Tuesday 10 July, as my appearance in Waterstone’s bookshop. This is a talk and book signing which will take place at the International Bomber Command Centre, Canwick Hill, at 3.00pm. My talk and slideshow presentation will be based on the research done for my new book, The Complete Dambusters. Copies will be on sale on the day.

Further details on the IBCC Facebook page.  Entrance is free, but places are limited. If you would like to book a ticket, contact Emily@internationalbcc.co.uk

And if you are worried about whether either of these appearances will clash with certain football-related events in Russia, we now know that if Harry Kane, the other Spurs boys and the rest of the England team win their quarter-final on Saturday, they will play their semi-final on Wednesday 11 July. So come along!

In Lincoln, for one night only

If you are based in or near the city of Lincoln, you are welcome to come along to a talk and signing session I am doing at the city’s Waterstone’s bookshop on Tuesday 10 July at 6.30pm. 

I will be telling some of the family stories I came across while researching my Complete Dambusters book as well as showing some pictures which weren’t used in the final publication. I will also be debunking some of the often-repeated mythical stories about how the men who took part in the Dams Raid were chosen.

Tickets cost £3, but you get the money back if you buy a book on the day! More details here on the Waterstones Lincoln Facebook page. Tickets from the shop or by email from lincoln@waterstones.com

[This event prompts me to say that if readers know of any other outlet or society who would like me to do a talk and/or signing then I will be happy to oblige. Contact me by email here.]

Salute to Mr Gardenshed

Somewhere out there in Cambridgeshire there is, presumably, a garden shed occupied by a man who sells items on eBay under the name of Gardenshed. (This may not be his real name.)

Sometime in the last two weeks Mr Gardenshed purchased a copy of my book The Complete Dambusters and then stood in a queue somewhere to get it signed by the ever-obliging Johnny Johnson. So far, not unusual behaviour. Then he travelled back to his humble abode (which I visualise as being more like a ‘man cave’ than a simple structure filled with potting plants and tools).

At this point, you or I might have sat down, glanced through the book, marvelled at the fact that it contains biographies and photographs of all the men who took part in the raid and perhaps sent a handwritten note or an email to the author congratulating him on the work. You or I might also be pleased that you had your copy signed by a man who appears in it, and then place it carefully on your bookshelf. But no, Mr Gardenshed had a better idea. He could make a quick profit of at least £19 (more if he had bought the book from a discount bookseller) if he flogged it on eBay! Even better he could assure potential purchasers that he hadn’t opened the copy because, as he puts it, its condition is “UNRERAD”.

What a clever fellow he is.

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.

It’s here: Complete Dambusters on sale from 8 May

Great excitement at Blog HQ in the last few days when an advance copy of my new book The Complete Dambusters arrived! As I write, fleets of lorries are travelling across Europe bringing stock to bookshops far and wide, so expect to see copies on the shelves (or in your favourite online shop) sometime next week.

I will be in the Lincolnshire area from Saturday 12 to Monday 14 May, so if you would like to get a copy direct from me, then please get in touch. I will also be at the Royal Albert Hall for the gala screening of The Dam Busters on the night of Thursday 17 May, and will have copies of the book available. Families of Dams Raid veterans who are coming to this event are invited to meet up in the Berry Bros and Rudd bar (near Albert Hall Door 1) from 6pm. (A few tickets for this event are still available and can be booked via the Albert Hall box office.)

To whet your appetite, here are a couple of spreads from the book:

 

Captured in paint: portraits of all 133 Dambusters to be unveiled


Six of Dan Llywelyn Hall’s portraits of the men who flew on the Dams Raid. Top row, left to right: George Deering, Kenneth Earnshaw, Charles Brennan. Bottom row, left to right: Tony Burcher, Alden Cottam, Floyd Wile

Artist Dan Llywelyn Hall has taken on an ambitious project to mark the 75th anniversary of the Dams Raid. He is painting a full size portrait of the last British man to take part in the raid, George ‘Johnny’ Johnson, and this will be accompanied by smaller pictures of all the other 132 Dambusters. Six of these are shown above.

The complete set of 133 pictures will be on show to the public between 14 and 27 May 2018, at the 4 Farm Street gallery in Mayfair in London (4 Farm Street, London W1J 5RD). Opening hours, Monday to Saturday 10am to 4pm. Funds raised during the exhibition will be donated to three charities nominated by Johnny Johnson: The RAF Benevolent Fund, Group 617 in Penarth and the International Bomber Command Centre in Lincoln.

Dan has a Crowdfunder appeal to raise funds for the exhibition, and anyone who sponsors him can qualify for a range of benefits including etchings and limited edition catalogues.

Dan was born in Cardiff in 1980 and is one of Britain’s most prominent young portrait artists, having been commissioned to paint portraits of both the Queen and the Duke of Cambridge. His work has been exhibited extensively throughout the UK in both solo and group exhibitions in venues such as the Saatchi Gallery, The National Portrait Gallery, National Museum of Wales, Windsor Castle, MoMA Wales and others.