“Dam’ping Their Ardour”: free Trenchard lecture

Historian Victoria Taylor is giving one of this year’s prestigious RAF Museum Trenchard lectures on Thursday 8 October at 6.00pm. It is called ‘“Dam’ping Their Ardour”: Operation Chastise and the “Dambusters” legend in wartime Britain’. The lecture will consider why Operation Chastise became a cornerstone of British wartime mythology, and determine how it became so firmly entrenched in the hearts and minds of the British public under the blanket of wartime secrecy.

The story of the raid is well known to readers of this blog but much of the nation’s general impressions of the raid, however, have been coloured by post-war British popular culture, from Guy Gibson and Paul Brickhill’s books to Michael Anderson’s enduring film The Dam Busters (1955).

The considerable impact of these post-war resources upon the Chastise legend can be seen in the remark by pilot Flt Sgt Bill Townsend who claimed in the 1980s that ‘until that film was made, it was just another operation, wasn’t it?’

However, this wasn’t so, and how the raid’s success was promoted during wartime is the subject of the lecture, which will draw on contemporary newspapers, newsreels, cartoons and official correspondence.

The lecture is now being held online, but prebooking is essential. Free tickets are available here from the RAF Museum website.

Free lecture on Dambuster research

Wolverhampton Screen shotNext Thursday, 10 March, will see the next in the series of the RAF Museum’s Trenchard Lectures. It should prove fascinating to anyone with an interest in 617 Squadron during the wartime years, since it will be given by Dr Robert Owen, the official historian of the 617 Squadron Association. It is entitled ‘Planned Development or Haphazard Evolution: No 617 Squadron 1943-45’, and is based on Robert’s recently completed PhD research (congratulations Dr Dambuster!).
The lecture takes place at the University of Wolverhampton at 6.30pm, and is free of charge. However, you do need to book a ticket in advance. You can do this here.
I am planning to attend this lecture, so if you are also going along please do get in touch with me.