Feature Video – 17th May – Dambusters Raid

As we are changing our feature videos on a weekly basis, I thought I would take the opportunity to share some of the interesting facts and research material that I find out for each video that we post on our website.

This weeks feature video is to commemorate the anniversary of Operation Chastise, carried out by Squadron 617 of the Royal Air Force on the water supply system of the Germans. This daring raid took place at night and the specially adapted Lancaster bombers were carrying bombs that had been specially invented for this task by the aircraft engineer Dr Barnes Wallis, the designer of the Wellington bomber. The raid became popularly known as the Dambusters Raid, and immortalized in a film in later years. (1954) Despite the high rate of casualties, amongst the bomber squadron, and on the ground, as well as the fact that the bombs did not disrupt the amount of water supply to the German war machine that was expected, the operation was considered a success.

This is all information that is well known to scholars, researchers and general interested parties of World War II events but gives you some background information to the historical day in question that we have chosen to display our featured video. In this case the clip, short though it is, shows footage from a medal ceremony at Buckingham Palace to honor the Canadian pilots that took place in the raid. The men shown on the video have been identified as:

Flight Lieutenant J. C. McCarthy, who received the Distinguished Flying Cross and Distinguished Service Order.

Flying Officer D. R. Walker receiving DFC.

Pilot Officer H. T. Taerum, DFC.

Pilot Officer K. W. Brown, Distinguished Flying Medal.

Pilot Officer G. A. Deering, DFM.

Sergeant S. Oancia, DFM.

They are accompanied by:

Royal Air Force Wing Commander G. P. Gibson receiving DSO and DFC.

The interesting thing about this clip is that 2 of these men were killed  a month after this film was taken, on the 16th of September 1943, in another raid over Germany, as a part of Operation Dortmund. These were: Pilot Officer H. T. Taerum and Pilot Officer G. A. Deering, Navigator and Front Gunner on Wing Commander Gibson’s crew for the raid. Gibson himself was killed a year later on the 19th of September 1944. As far as we know, this short film clip could be the only footage of these men together.

You can watch this video here: http://library.sc.edu/mirc/playVideo.html?i=148

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