"They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them. We will remember them."
WHEN YOU'RE READY…to celebrate Canadian heroism.
And those heroes who bought our PRESENT DAY freedom.
Far too many times with their very own blood. In places, far from Canada.
I REMEMBER…and not just in November!
30 Canadians were among the 133 airmen who participated in "Operation Chastise" which was a bombing raid on Germany's Ruhr Valley hydro-electric dams. 617 Squadron was a specially formed elite squadron of lads who used specially modified Lancasters to drop cylindrical 9500 pound bombs at low level.
And at night.
Not since General Doolittle's secret squadron of USAAF's best of the best, matched with modified Mitchell bombers had such precision flying, and bombing, been needed.
This time to bring the industrial heartland of Germany to an unexpected halt.
Yes, on May 16, 1943, in ink pool darkness…skimming the surface of the water at an unbelievable 60 feet with your massive Lanc, all the while maintaining a white-knuckle speed of 230 miles-per-hour, was not for the faint of heart. Now closing, closing, nary 450 yards from the dam…these elite Dambuster aircrews dropped their heavy payload of unforgivable bombs with deadly accuracy.
The Barnes Wallis (the same man who designed the Wellington Bomber) designed bombs were released rotating backwards at 500rpm! As these bombs skipped along the surface of the water, they would vault over any defensive Nazi torpedo nets, and slam into the dam wall.
And here is where the real magic took over.
Since these massive 5 tonne bombs were already spinning backwards, they would roll DOWN the dam wall going underwater…and proceed down, finally exploding at a pre-arranged depth!
Talk about wrecking havoc!
The dam wall now severely weakened, but with the great weight and expanse of water still pushing up against it…well, soon enough, these factors caused the dam to be overwhelmed, and the area to be flooded for 40 miles.
More importantly, Britain was now, on the attack!
Some info about F/Lt. John Fraser, the Canadian mentioned in the video clip can be found here: www.lancastermuseum.ca/fraserhoppy.html
He was the only member of his particular Lancaster crew to survive the bombing raid.
John was captured and sent to Luft Stalag III where he participated in the Great Escape.
Get the Bomber Boys right here from the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum: