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.


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.