70th Anniversary of the Dambusters Raid

Apr 22, 2013 No Comments by
 
With a month to go to the 70th anniversary of the Dambusters Raid, the Royal Air Force Museum London has unveiled the various activities that it has organized to commemorate this historic campaign and the men of 617 Squadron.

From 13
th to 17th of May the Museum will have on display  a selection of artefacts from the Dambusters Raid not normally on view to the public. These include photo-reconnaissance of the Dams before and after the Raid, a facsimile of Guy Gibson’s logbook and the original draft of his book ‘Enemy Coast Ahead’, plus letters from various crewmembers to family members on the home-front and part of the Möhne Dam itself. These items will be located in display cases by the Museum’s Lancaster Bomber.

On 17th of May, the Museum’s London site will be open late to the public for ‘Dambusters Night’ as part of this year’s international Museum’s at Night Festival.  Members of the public, aged 18 and above, will be able to watch a short film on the preparations and testing of the bouncing bomb as well as seeing test footage (from our film archive) on the big screen. They’ll also be able to see the original testing equipment used in the film ‘The Dam Busters’ and attend a mini-lecture on the subject of the development of bombing from the First World War up to the Dams Raid before taking part in a debate about the effectiveness of the Raid, itself.

The Museum will also have on display, in a newly refurbished permanent exhibition, a replica of Sir Barnes Wallis’ Brooklands office which will feature his actual drawing board and the models, photos and books that inspired him to create the bouncing bomb; whilst members of the Museum’s curatorial team will be on hand to answer any questions that visitors might have about the artefacts on display.
 
There will be 1940s music and guests are encouraged to dress from the period to make the event a totally immersive experience. Those who are unable to come in 1940s dress will be able to try on an authentic 1940s RAF uniform from the Museum’s Handling Collection and have their photograph taken as a memento of the evening. Admission to this event is free of charge.
 
London commemorations will finish on 19th of May with the fourth annual Hendon Model Show which is dedicated, this year, to the men of 617 Squadron. Over 50 clubs from across the UK will have on display the various models that they have created throughout the last 12 months. The show will also display a series of dioramas specially commissioned for the 70th anniversary of the Dambusters’ Raid, each of which will depict various aspects of this campaign. Admission to the Hendon Model Show is free of charge and doors open to the public at 10 am.
 
If you are unable to attend any of the above events, but would like to learn more about the Dambusters, the Museum currently has an online exhibition that reveals the hidden stories behind Upkeep, the development of the Bouncing Bomb, and Operation Chastise, the Dams Raid. 

This online exhibition can be viewed by visiting 
www.rafmuseum.org.uk/research/online-exhibitions.aspx . Contained within it is government correspondence of the day, as well as original drawings and papers from Barnes Wallis’s Office. This exhibition will be further supported by three podcasts that talk about the Raid and the men of 617 Squadron.
 
The first was recorded in 2009 by the late Richard Todd, who played Guy Gibson in the film The Dam Busters, and who tells the story of the Raid. The second ‘Remembering Guy Gibson’ by renowned historian Richard Morris, examines the character of the Wing Commander who inspired his crews to succeed over insurmountable odds. The third by Robert Owen, Official Historian of 617 Squadron Aircrew Association examines the history of the Squadron post the Dams Raid including the destruction of Hitler’s mountain redoubt at Berchtesgaden. These podcasts will be available to members of the public from 10th May.

The Royal Air Force Museum London is open daily from 10am. Admission to the Museum is free of charge.
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