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Thursday, 16 May 2013

Dam busters raid anniversary
Today marks the 70th anniversary of the raid on the dams in the Ruhr valley by RAF Lancaster bombers of 617 squadron. Whether the raids had the effect intended or not remains contentious but the dam reconstruction work set back the Nazi war effort for several months.

My father was a flight engineer in Lancasters in the 482 Pathfinder squadron in WW2. He flew many night raids over Germany and crash landed on the return to England on one occasion narrowly cheating death. We rarely talked about his time in the RAF: he didn't want to relive the sheer terror he must have felt nightly setting out in the dark knowing his chances of seeing out the night alive were slim. I am sure the fact he dropped flares for the bombers following to kill innocent men, women and children deeply troubled him in later years. He was a very brave man and I wish I had acknowledged this in his lifetime.

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