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.

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