The 75th anniversary of one of the most daring raids of the Second World War was due to be marked with a series of special events.
A flypast by a Lancaster Bomber over Derwent Dam, down the Derwent Valley and into Leicestershire that was scheduled for the Royal Air Force Battle of Britain memorial flight has been postponed.
The planned Lancaster Bomber flight which was set to mark the 75th anniversary of the Dambusters raid has been called off due to bad weather.
The flyover will now be conducted by a 29 Sqn Typhoon aircraft on Monday after the wind, were considered too dangerous for the BBMF Lancaster.
The plane will take off from RAF Coningsby and will pass over RAF Scampton – the original home of the Dambusters squadron – as well as the Derwent Dam in Derbyshire’s Peak District,
the Rolls-Royce factory in Derby and Eyebrook Reservoir in Leicestershire.
“The wind conditions were well beyond the limits the Lancaster is placed under… the Royal Air Force has arranged for a 29 Sqn Typhoon from RAF Coningsby to fly as much of the route as possible,” confirmed a Battle of Britain Memorial statement.
As well as the 75th anniversary of the raid on major German dams by 617 Squadron, later known as the Dambusters, the flypast will also commemorate the 100th anniversary of the RAF.
Family of those who took part in the 1943 raid and an RAF bugler will signal a minute’s silence to pay respects.
An aircrew of 133 left for the raid on board 19 Lancaster bombers from RAF Scampton, led by Wing Commander Guy Gibson. The aircrew were seriously depleted during the mission with 53 men killed and a further three were taken captive.
The squadron Leader George “Johnny” Johnson, who is Britain’s last surviving Dambuster, was part of 617 Squadron, which carried out a night of raids on German dams in an effort to disable Hitler’s industrial heartland.
The 96-year-old, from Bristol, said the Dambuster anniversary emphasises the importance of the raid and acts as a reminder for younger generations.
When asked what advice he would offer to the current aircrew in his former squadron, he said: “Do your utmost to maintain the performance and prestige of the squadron.”
His crew was one of five selected to target the Sorpe dam, and had to fly along its length at as low an altitude as possible and drop the bomb in the centre.
Although Mr Johnson’s aircrew did not destroy their target, the Germans had to empty the dam to repair it, causing major disruption to the war effort.
Asked about the most significant thing he remembers from the night of the raids, he said: “It was an exhilarating feeling, flying low level into the Ruhr Valley in bright moonlight.
“Once we had recovered from the early disappointment of the target – the Sorpe didn’t require us to spin the bomb or use any of our practised techniques – the most significant memory was the sight of the burst Mohne dam as we flew home.”