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Duration: 29 minutes

Martin Shaw takes a fresh look at one of the most famous war stories of them all. The actor, himself a pilot, takes to the skies to retrace the route of the 1943 raid by 617 Squadron which used bouncing bombs to destroy German dams. He sheds new light on the story as he separates the fact from the myth behind this tale of courage and ingenuity.

Using the 1955 movie The Dam Busters as a vehicle to deconstruct the raid, he tries to piece together a picture of perhaps the most daring attack in the history of aviation warfare.

Along the way, Shaw hears from the last RAF veteran of the raid, as well as a German survivor of the tsunami which resulted from the Moehne dam's destruction.

Last on

Sun 2 Jun 2013 17:00 BBC Two

  • DAMBUSTERS DECLASSIFIED

    Television actor and vintage plane enthusiast Martin Shaw uncovers new information about the RAF's famous wartime Dambusters raid. 
      
    Executive Producer Ian Cundall said: "Many people think they know the story of the Dambusters but the truth is even more extraordinary than the famous movie version of the raid.

    "Our interview with Guy Gibson's girlfriend sheds new light on a complex character who led his men to success on what was an almost impossible mission."
       
    Martin Shaw, who holds his own private pilot's licence and flies vintage planes, can be seen in the documentary flying over the Upper Derwent Valley in the Peak District above Sheffield where 617 squadron famously practised their bomb runs before embarking on their mission to destroy dams in Germany during World War II. 
     
    He is joined in the cockpit of the Piper Navajo plane by war hero and Dambusters expert Wing Commander Chris Norton, who led the Harrier jump jets of the RAF's elite No1 Squadron against targets in Kosovo and the latest Gulf War.   
     
    The pair trace the entire wartime route from RAF Scampton - home to the original 617 Squadron - to the Ruhr Valley in Germany where a local survivor talks about the raid. 
     
    Shaw said: "This has been an amazing journey for me... I've learned so much about a story that I knew very well.

    "So what have I learnt along the way? Well the Dambusters story and the men who made it possible.

    "It's not like the movie at all... oh, no in truth it's a far more unbelieveable, a far more amazing story than that."

  • The Dambusters Squadron

    The Dambusters Squadron

  • The Mohne Dam

    The Mohne Dam

    The Mohne Dam after being attacked in the Dambusters raid in 1943.

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Credits

Presenter
Martin Shaw
Producer
Sam Wichelow
Executive Producer
Ian Cundall
Executive Producer
Nicola Addyman

Broadcasts

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