Dambusters raids remembered, 70 years on

A Lancaster bomber flew over the Derwent reservoir today
A Lancaster bomber flew over the Derwent reservoir today Photo:

Hundreds of well-wishers gathered at Derwent Reservoir today to watch a flypast by a Lancaster bomber to mark the 70th anniversary of the wartime Dambuster raids.

The dam, in the Hope Valley in Derbyshire, was where the 617 Squadron tested the 'bouncing bomb' used in their mission.

The flypast was accompanied by two Tornado GR4s used by the current squadron.

The flypast was one of several events that took place to mark the anniversary of the daring Dams Raid of May 16-17, 1943 during the Second World War.

At the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire, more than 10,500 crests bearing messages for the brave aircrew who took part in the Dambusters raids were planted on the slopes of the site's main Armed Forces Memorial.

More than 2,000 people turned up to visit the temporary memorial to 617 squadron's achievements on the raids over the Ruhr valley in Nazi Germany.

Arboretum spokesman Andrew Baud said there were some touching tributes among the messages, which had been gathered together by the Royal British Legion:

There was one from a seven-year-old boy which read simply: 'Thank you for making our country safe'.

We were inundated with people today, which was fitting tribute to the Dambusters aircrew and what they did.

– Andrew Baud
The 617 Squadron pictured in front of a Lancaster bomber
The 617 Squadron pictured in front of a Lancaster bomber Credit: RAF/MoD

More than a hundred men known as the Dambusters set out from RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire to attack a series of dams in Germany's industrial heartland with a newly invented bouncing bomb.

Two of the main dams were badly damaged, but eight of the aircraft were shot down and more than 50 crew killed.