"Aziz" and view across the lake to cafe ,toilets and information centre
Thursday, 16 May 2013
Dam Busters Anniversary
Dambusters: Flypast To Mark Raid Anniversary
Alistair Bunkall, Sky News Correspondent
The famous aircraft will fly over the dam on Derwent Reservoir in Derbyshire at around lunchtime and then over nearby Chatsworth House where the public will be gathered to watch.
Led by Wing Commander Guy Gibson the crews in the 19 aircraft made up of a coalition of the willing from Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and one American, practised dropping the untested bouncing bomb from 60ft over the dam in the Peak District before flying on the actual mission on the evening of May 16, 1943.
Their target was to destroy three dams in the Rhur Valley to deliver a punch against Nazi Germany's industrial war machine.
They succeeded in breaching the Mohne and Eder dams and damaged the Sorpe but lost eight aircraft and 53 men doing so. Three were captured, becoming prisoners of war.
Later this evening, a Sunset Ceremony will be held at RAF Scampton where the Dambusters were based. This will be attended by three surviving veterans and the daughter of Barnes Wallis, the inventor of the Bouncing Bomb.
Wing Commander David Arthuton who leads the modern day 617 Squadron and will be involved in the commemorations told Sky News: "I took command of 617 Squadron in October 2012 and it is a privilege and an honour to lead one of the best-known Royal Air Force Squadrons in this anniversary year.
"The dams raid epitomised ingenuity, immense bravery, superb flying skills and the will to overcome adversity.
"Wing Commander Guy Gibson VC led his team with great focus and utter determination and the qualities and values they displayed then are those that form the foundation of the RAF today."
The destruction of the three dams was a mighty blow to Nazi Germany. It has been suggested by some that the mission was largely a PR exercise but in truth it took Germany completely by surprised.
The Dambusters demonstrated for the first time that a single bomb could destroy vital infrastructure. It was the first example of precision bombing.
The blanket raids that characterised the blitz were the only tactic. And Germany had to rebuild these edifices at a time when they could ill afford to redeploy resources from elsewhere.
Wing Commander Guy Gibson was awarded the Victoria Cross for his leadership and bravery on the night. Thirty-three others were decorated. Their average age was in the early twenties. Gibson himself was just 24.