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Amid the euphoria that followed the Dambusters raid in May 1943 was the sober realisation that the RAF had paid a high price. Fifty three airmen were killed, among them most of Charlie Crew.
Miraculously, one survived - rear gunner Fred Tees from Sussex. Correspondent Derek Johnson travelled to Germany with his nephew to find the crew and Fred's final resting place.
Britain's last surviving Dambuster - George ''Johnny'' Johnson - talks to ITV News Meridian about the famous wartime raid Seventy years ago, and why he is unhappy at historians who claim it was not a success.
The Dambusters raid Seventy years ago has taken its place in British military history as a stirring tale of daring and courage.
But the success of the raid on the great dams of Western Germany came with a high price for the RAF. Fifty three airmen were killed and eight of the nineteen aircraft lost.
Flight AJ/C and Charlie Crew were among the unlucky ones. Six of the seven airmen were killed when the Lancaster en route to the Lister dam crashed in Hamm.. The survivor was Fred Tees from Haywards Heath in Sussex.
Our Correspondent Derek Johnson travelled Germany's Ruhr Valley with Fred's nephew Mick Tees and his wife Lyn to find the last resting place of Charlie Crew - and discovers a twist in the tale.
Hundreds turned out for a service honouring the men of The Dambusters. It took place on the site of the former RAF West Malling airbase at Kings Hill in Kent, a place familier to Dambuster leader Guy Gibson.
We speak to Group Captain Patrick Tootal, author Robin Brooks and Dambuster veteran George Johnson. We also visit the grave of Dambuster pilot David Maltby and speak to two of his relatives, Mary and Jonathan Tapp.
Sir Barnes Wallis, was the engineer who designed the "bouncing bomb" that destroyed German dams in 1943 in the daring Dambusters raid.
The operation in the Ruhr valley during the Second World War, is believed to have claimed at least 1,300 lives, and 56 of the 133 man crew that flew the mission did not return.
In an interview with BBC Radio 2, Sir Barnes daughter said her father was driven to create the bouncing bomb by a sense of patriotism and belief in the importance of the "British family of nations".
Mary Stopes-Roe said: "He was not a man of war and that is often not, I think, properly understood.
"He was a man of peace but if you have to defend something you have to defend it and that's it, you do your duty."
On the evening of May 16th 1943, nineteen Lancasters attacked the great dams of Western Germany with a revolutionary new ''bouncing'' bomb. The crew became known as The Dambusters.
Two men from the South watched the tests in 1942 and 1943. Bob Payne lived at Chesil Beach in Dorset, where the early prototypes were put through their paces.
Ant Larkins saw some of the later tests at Reculver on the Kent coast, where the old church towers acted as marker posts for the pilots.
The pilot who led The Dambusters is remembered in a ceremony in West Malling in Kent this afternoon - 70 years to the day after the famous wartime raid. The only surviving British Dambuster George ''Johnny'' Johnson speaks to Meridian about Guy Gibson in this web exclusive.
70-years-ago today more than a hundred men flew on a mission that became known by their nickname - The Dambusters. 19 Lancaster bombers 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 despite that success eight of the aircraft were shot down and more than 50 crew killed. The bomb itself had been tested amid great secrecy in the New Forest in Hampshire and off the coast of Kent and Dorset.
In the first of three pieces, our Correspondent Derek Johnson takes a look at how this extraordinary device came into being and at the man whose genius dreamed it into being.
He speaks to Mary Stopes-Roe, the Daughter of Barnes Wallis and Bob Payne and Ant Larkins, who saw the bouncing bomb tests.