Dambuster veterans reunite for the last time

Seedy_r0m

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#1
Link to video HERE

The last surviving veterans of the Second World War Dambusters raid will meet for what is expected to be the last time on Saturday night to celebrate the 65th anniversary of the mission.

Engineers, ground staff and the last surviving pilot to fly one of the 19 modified Lancaster bombers of 617 Squadron will be amongst those at the gathering.
The veterans are now all in their late 80s and many have said they plan to make these anniversary celebrations their last.
Their mission, on May 16, 1943, to destroy German dams with Barnes Wallis’s bouncing bombs, has become part of the UK’s military heritage.

John Leslie Munro, the last surviving pilot, was flown back to the UK from his home in New Zealand for the anniversary by the aviation art gallery Aces High. He has vowed it will be his last trip.

Mr Munro’s Lancaster, W-Willie, was damaged by flak over Holland and had to turn back during the original mission, but he went on to complete many more for the squadron before retiring.

On Friday he was guest of honour at a service and fly-past held at the Derwent Reservoir in Derbyshire, which was used by the original pilots to train ahead of their famous raid. "It's a great feeling to be able to come back and meet comrades from that time," he said.

During the service, 88-year-old Richard Todd, who starred in the 1954 film of the event laid poppies on the water of the reservoir.
Three of the five remaining crew members met last weekend and this evening Mr Munro will attend a private dinner at a hotel in Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire, with members of the ground staff who prepared the Lancasters for the raid.

Corporal Ken Lucas, 87, was a member of the ground staff who worked through the night to ensure the planes were ready.
He said: "The crews were heroes to us but they always told us we were as necessary as they were because we kept the planes in the air. I didn’t even know what we were doing it for until the next day. Wing Commander Guy Gibson (the Squadron Commander) gathered the whole squadron and told us what had happened.

"There was a general feeling of elation tempered by the fact that we had lost eight crews.
"When I saw the German footage of the damage we felt almost a bit sad, but war is war, war is terrible.
"It means a lot to meet the others and talk about that night. I hope it’s not the last time but it probably is."

Flying Officer Ray Grayston, 88, was the flight engineer of pilot Les Knight’s Lancaster, which attacked and successfully breached the Eder Dam.
Their plane was shot down on a later raid, in September that year. Mr Knight was killed and Mr Grayston was taken to as a Prisoner of War.
Mr Grayston said: "I am surprised that anyone is still interested in the raid now but I suppose it's good they still are."

Colin Hudson, the managing director of Buckinghamshire-based Aces High, who has helped bring the veterans together over the years, said: "We had a session for the men to meet the public and sign prints and books at the weekend and 2,000 people queued around the block to see them.
“Even though it’s been 65 years, their memories are still there - not only of their own actions but of the friends that didn’t come back.”
The raid, which was immortalised in the film The Dambusters, was led by Wing Commander Guy Gibson.

The Lancasters, each with a crew of seven men, took part in an audacious low-level attack on the Mohne, Eder and Sorpe dams, which were vital to Germany's industrial production.
The destruction of the dams caused widespread flooding and interrupted industrial production.
Eight of the Lancasters failed to return, 53 aircrew were killed and three survived to be taken prisoner.


By Aislinn Simpson and Laura Clout
Last Updated: 6:14PM BST 16/05/2008
Article HERE
 

witchy

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#4
None of us will ever know just how much we owe to these guys, hope they have a great day.
 

FUBAR69

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#5
Those magnificant men in their flying machines !! lol


I have sat on half of one of the original "bouncing bombs" , it truly was a genuinely brave act.
 

BelgyFaeEK

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#6
Fubar you dont seem old enough to have been in the war ;)

"Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few"

Still appropriate today
 

edds

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#7
I hope they have a good night; sad to read, though, that this is most likely the last ever meeting.

65 years eh?
Mr Grayston said: "I am surprised that anyone is still interested in the raid now but I suppose it's good they still are."
I hope we never forget, nor lose interest in, what these brave souls did for the war effort.
 

Munkey

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#8
I have sat on half of one of the original "bouncing bombs" , it truly was a genuinely brave act.
Unlucky for all it didn't detonate :)

With half of the Dambusters being killed during the operations these guys knew that their chances of survival were 50/50 yet they still flew these mission 60' off the ground under heavy fire in the complete dark. Brave brave men who fortunately receive the accolades that they deserve.
 

FUBAR69

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#9
Fubar you dont seem old enough to have been in the war ;)

Lol, I aint chum, they are either side of the Mohne Dam, spent some time there, very nice.


Unlucky for all it didn't detonate :)

With half of the Dambusters being killed during the operations these guys knew that their chances of survival were 50/50 yet they still flew these mission 60' off the ground under heavy fire in the complete dark. Brave brave men who fortunately receive the accolades that they deserve.

Your lucky that I don't have any feeling Munkey as that might have hurt !! :feck:


But at least my maths is better than yours, half ?
 
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#10
We do seem to have extremely brave armed forces (not forgetting the Ghurkas)

When I watched the film of the soldiers sitting on the outside of that helicopter in Afghanistan going to retrieve their buddies. I just felt WOW! look at that. (Pride)

Anyone else see it; f*cking brilliant!!!!!!!
 

FUBAR69

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#11
Our boys(and gals) in HMF are simply the best in the world end of story, but sadly the loss of their lifes are not treated with enough seriousness imo.

Just sad but the way it is. :(


But back to the point, yeah the Dambusters must have had nuts the same size as the bombs they dropped :Clap:
 
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