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The man behind the Dambusters 'bouncing bomb' was from the Midlands

The inventor of the 'bouncing bomb', Sir Barnes Wallis. Credit: RAF/MOD

Sir Barnes Wallis – the engineer who designed the 'bouncing bomb' that destroyed German dams in 1943, was from Ripley in Derbyshire.

He was born in 1887 and died in Effingham, Surrey, in 1979.

Sir Barnes Wallis is still remembered across the Midlands: a pub is named after him in his birth town of Ripley; Nottingham Trent University has a building named after Wallis on Goldsmith Street; and there is also a Barnes Wallis Drive in Lincolnshire and Shropshire.

Inspirational words from one of the last Dambusters

One of the last survivors of the Dambuster raid is Johnny Johnson who lives in Lincolnshire.

He was a sergeant during the raid 70 years ago and has been awarded many medals including a Distinguished Flying Medal for his part in 617 Squadron's 1943 blitz on the Nazi-occupied dams along the Ruhr Valley in Germany.

The raids destroyed the Nazi's hydro-electric power source.

In an inspiring interview Johnny Johnson told ITV News Central why he is a lucky man.

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Dambusters veteran recalls famous 1943 raid

The only British surviving airman who took part in the 1943 Dambusters raid, George "Johnny" Johnson, has spoken to ITV News about his memories of the operation.

Mr Johnson - who was awarded a host of medals including the Distinguished Flying Medal - was a bomb-aimer whose mission was to target Germany's Sorpe Dam.

Despite his squadron's failure to breach the dam, he said there was a sense of achievement that they had damaged it.

He also described how, as they set course for home and flew over the Mohne Dam, what they saw boosted morale: "It was just like an inland sea. There was water everywhere".

"The defences by this time were non-existent...we had at least the satisfaction of seeing the damage that had been done. For that we were quite grateful."

Follow the telegraphy signals of the famous WWII Dambuster air raid

For the first time the Royal Air Force will today transmit the original wireless telegraphy signals of the famous Second World War 'Dambuster' air raid on the Ruhr valley dams on Twitter.

Today, the 70th anniversary of the raid, the tweets, which will substitute the original Morse code signals, will be posted on the RAF's official Twitter account @RoyalAirForceUK minute by minute as the raid occurred.

In addition tweets will be posted highlighting events that were unknown at the time, such as when aircraft were lost during the action.


70 Year anniversary of the Dambusters

It is 70 years since the 617 squadron formed as part of the Second World War before carrying out the daring attack on three defended dams in Germany, for which they became known as the Dambusters.

It was one of the most daring raids of the Second World War.

They flew from Lincolnshire to Nazi Germany to destroy dams and flood industries. The ultimate test for the bouncing bomb.

Its inventor Sir Barnes Wallis was immortalised in the movie The Dam Busters. Wallis died in 1979.

Although the raids made him a national hero, he remained deeply upset about the 53 men who died on this mission, a 40 per cent casualty rate.

His daughter Mary Stopes-Roe lives in Birmingham surrounded by an archive of many of his private papers.

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