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29 August 2014
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Myths and Legends
Lancaster bomber
Essential: the Lancaster bomber

© Crown Copyright
Home of the Dambusters

The legendary World War II tale of the Dambusters, British pilots destroying German industry with bouncing bombs, has been immortalised over the years. But how much of the Dambusters legend is myth and how much is based on the truth? The popular perception of the Dambuster’s Operation Chastise comes from the 1954 film, Dambusters, which promoted the wartime engineering ingenuity of the Brits and the legendary “bouncing bomb”. But how much of this legend is nothing more than war time propaganda? More...

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Your comments

1 Dr Eric Dormer Former Flight Lieutenant RAF Lincolnshire and 617 Squadron from Loughton, Essex - 14 February 2004
"In 1943 I was a meteorological officer and honorary mess secretary at RAF Scampton. With three squadrons of Lancasters, including 617, the notice board in the officers' mess quickly filled. A cigarette lighter applied to the lowest notice cleared that 'bumph'. Scampton had been a pre-war station and retained mess servants from those earlier days. In the mess one morning I was addressed by one who, standing to attention, said: 'Excuse me, sir, but there was a party in the mess last night and the young gentlemen set light to the notice board and some smoke has blackened the ceiling, but the young gentlemen were enjoying themselves, sir'. Meteorological officers were encouraged to go on training flights so that they had greater appreciation of what weather meant to aircrew. On one such exercise I flew with 617. Coming in over the Wash, landfall was made at Sutton Bridge where the road runs along a high causeway. I was in the leading plane and could see ahead a woman wheeling a pram along the causeway. I presume she looked out to sea and saw heavy bombers roaring at her, possibly uncertain whether they were friend or foe. In the next few seconds the whole squadron, flying in tight formation at 60 feet, swooped over the causeway. I looked back. She had rolled herself, the pram and the baby for protection down the lee side of the slope. Landing shortly after at Scampton the hope was that she and her baby had suffered no harm. "

2 Bob Cloney from Pasadena, Maryland, USA - 16 January 2004
"I lived in Lincolnshire for one year and visited several of the old airfields, one of which had a reading room with books that were written during WW2. These cover the squadrons & men who flew these missions. I was very proud that we fought together to defeat the common enemy, and humbled by the fact that someone over there cares enough to maintain the records. Too bad some people don't know anything of the sacrifices made back then. Cheers"

3 Peter King from Lincoln - 13 January 2004
"It's all true. I lived in Lincoln at that time - the home airfielsd of Scampton was the Dambusters home base and I knew Guy Gibson and other pilots of the Dambusters squadron. "




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Look back into the past using the Legacies' archives. Find nearly 200 tales from around the country in our collection.

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