Welcome to the WWII Forums! Log in or Sign up to interact with the community.

The Last Dambuster

Discussion in 'WWII Today' started by GRW, Mar 17, 2013.

  1. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

    Oct 26, 2003
    Likes Received:
    Stirling, Scotland
    Sorry, hit the post button too soon. Squadron Leader Les Munro is still very much alive and well, of course.

    "The last of the Dambusters has spoken for the first time how he celebrated the squadron's heroic raid - with a nice cup of tea.
    Almost 70 years after the night-time bombing attacks, Squadron Leader George 'Johnny' Johnson, 91, told of the daring raid over occupied territory that dealt a decisive blow that crippled the Nazi war effort.
    George was festooned with a raft of medals including a Distinguished Flying Medal for his part in 617 Squadron's daring 1943 blitz on the Nazi-controlled dams along the Ruhr Valley in Germany, destroying their hydro-electric source of power.

    [SIZE=1.2em]Widower George, who lives in Bristol, was a sergeant at the time of the raids, conducted under the name Operation Chastise, which smashed the Mohne, Sorpe and Eder dams.[/SIZE]
    He said: 'We were about half an hour late because our plane had a hydraulic leak and we had to swap.
    [SIZE=1.2em]'We took off at 22.01, and flew in over Sorpe dam in brilliant moonlight. We had to get the aim right - we went in six or seven times and I'd shout 'Dummy Run'.[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=1.2em]Piloted by Joe McCarthy, the plane nicknamed 'T for Tommy' was one of five planes that made it to the dam, which was the most difficult of the three targets to crack.[/SIZE]'It was a totally different dam from the other dams. It was impossible to fly low over, so it had to be a drop, not a spinning bomb.'
    It took bombardier George and his crew nine attempts to fly at a perilous 30ft, before the bomb, codenamed Upkeep, was finally loosed, seconds before they had to pull up to avoid smashing into the hillside behind the dam.
    He said: 'I could see where to drop and shouted 'Bomb Gone' to cheers of 'Thank Christ' from the crew who were yelling for me to get the bomb out.
    'At 00.46 on May 17 we dropped our bomb with 8,500lb of explosives.'
    George added: 'There was a spout of water 1,000ft high. We circled and the dam crumbled about 10yards wide.
    'But it didn't seem as if the other five aircraft had been there. We needed six bombs to crack the dam and the water would do the rest.'
    After smashing the dam, the heroic airmen flew their Lancaster bomber over the Mohne Dam, which has been blown by another plane in the same daring raid.
    The Sorpe dam was badly damaged by the daring night-time raid, orchestrated by wing commander Guy Gibson and bouncing bomb inventor Barnes Wallace.
    George said: 'I will never forget the sight. It was like an inland sea with all that water overflowing.
    'It gave us a lot of satisfaction when we heard over the radio that the Eder had been breached as well.'

    [SIZE=1.2em]It was only when they flew back to RAF Scrapton in Lincolnshire that the brave crew realised they had been hit several times by an armoured train on their way to the dams, and the pilot's chair was pockmarked with bullet holes.[/SIZE]
    He said: 'I was tired and exhausted - I went to the mess and had bacon and powdered scrambled egg and a cup of tea. It tasted good.'
    The five-hour raid came at a heavy price - 53 of the 133 brave airmen, hand-picked for the secret mission, did not come home.
    George said: 'The waitresses in the sergeants' mess were all in tears as so many places were empty.'
    The brave airman married sweetheart Gwyn, a phone operator in the Women's Royal Air Force, days before the sortie, after being given special permission from chiefs despite all leave being cancelled."
    Otto likes this.
  2. syscom3

    syscom3 Member

    Mar 18, 2008
    Likes Received:
    Nice to know he's still with us.
  3. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

    Dec 23, 2002
    Likes Received:
    Its the tea...It keeps you lively...One would never want to leave too soon without Tiffin....or tea and crumpets...Long life to the gentleman..
  4. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

    Jun 6, 2006
    Likes Received:
    May he live many more years :poppy:

Share This Page