On the night of 16/17th May 1943 a secret squadron formed from elite pilots set off from RAF Scampton on an audacious bombing raid to strike at the industrial heartland of Western Germany and attack the great dams of the Ruhr Valley. The mission, and the weapon which made it possible were devised by the inventor and aircraft designer Sir Barnes E. Wallis.
19 Avro Lancaster Bombers flew the mission. They had been extensively modified to carry a single 4 ton spinning bomb, codenamed 'Upkeep'. To breach the dam, each bomb had to be dropped at a precise distance, speed and height to enable it to bounce across the water, sink and then detonate at depth. The specially selected squadron, led by Wing Commander Guy Gibson, were required to fly at extremely low level, not only to drop the bomb but to keep below enemy radar enroute over the Netherlands.
Reconnaissance images depicting the raids dramatic outcome, coupled with the courage, skill and originality of the mission led to 617 squadron becoming famously known as The Dambusters.
To commemorate all the Pilots and Crew from Bomber Command who served during the Second World War. In particular, a tribute to the elite aircrew and ground staff of 617 Squadron, led by Wing Commander Guy Gibson.
To the dogged determination and creative ingenuity of Sir Barnes E Wallis.
And finally, in remembrance of all those lives, military and civilian, that were so tragically lost on both sides of the war.