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Chance to visit sites of Dambuster raids
8:00am Saturday 23rd March 2013 in News
THIS year marks the 70th anniversary of one of the most daring missions of the Second World War.
The Dambusters raid in May, 1943, was aimed at crippling Germany’s industrial capacity.
Lancaster bombers flying just 60 feet off the ground breached the Mohne and Eder Dams causing catastrophic flooding of the Ruhr valley. The Sorpe dam sustained minor damage.
The legendary mission grew out of a concept for a ‘bouncing bomb’ designed by Barnes Wallis and developed by his team at Vickers.
And this August, Worcestershire people are being offered a rare opportunity to visit the sites where Allied aircrew risked their lives to bring the war to an end.
No. 617 Squadron was a single squadron formed during the war to carry out this single special and dangerous task. Out of 133 aircrew who took part in the attack, 53 were killed, a casualty rate of almost 40 per cent. Thirteen of those who died were members of the Royal Canadian Air Force, while two belonged to the Royal Australian Air Force.
Several thousand Germans and prisoners-of-war died in the resulting floodwaters.
Of the surviving aircrew, 34 were decorated at Buckingham Palace with attack leader Guy Gibson being awarded the Victoria Cross.
The trip – which will also include a stay at the notorious Colditz Castle – is being run by the Birmingham War Research Society, a voluntary and charitable supporting group.
Organiser Alex Bulloch said: “The dams trip will be the journey of a lifetime for anyone interested in this aspect of the 1939-45 conflict.
“We will not only visit the sites of the Ruhr dams raids, exploits immortalised in the 1955 film The Dambusters, but also stay one night at Colditz Castle, scene of many daring escape attempts by allied prisoners.
“In addition, our tour will take in Nordhausen rocket factory tunnels and the German Border museum which contains many fascinating artefacts from the Cold War period.”
The trip will be running August 9-14, the coach leaving Birmingham on the evening before the first day. For more information, visit www.battlefieldtours.org.uk call Mr Bulloch on 0121 4599008 or Brian Long on 01629 650780.