Dambusters - Breaching the Eder Dam
by Robert Taylor
|Pilots Shannon and Maudsley tried time and again to position their laden bombers correctly before managing to release their weapons – but the dam still held. Now success depended solely on Knight carrying the last bomb! With time and fuel now a concern, Knight’s first effort to position, like Shannon and Maudsley before him, failed, but his second run favoured the brave. Knight released his bomb with absolute precision, striking the wall at precisely the crucial point. With a tremendous explosion the Eder Dam collapsed before their eyes. In the cockpit Knight and flight engineer Ray Grayston fight the controls to clear the dam, combining their physical strength to haul the lumbering Lancaster up and over the dam and to clear the high ground that lies ahead. Below and behind them, the second of Germany’s mighty western dams lies finally breached.|
|Overall size: 21¾" x 36½"||Available in the following editions|
|400||Limited edition||Signed by two 617 Squadron veterans||$320|
|350||Collectors edition||Signed by six 617 Squadron veterans||$425|
|Limited edition signatures|
|Sergeant Raymond E. Grayston||Squadron Leader George L. Johnson DFM|
|Collectors edition signatures|
|Sergeant Raymond E. Grayston||Squadron Leader George L. Johnson DFM||Squadron Leader Les Munro|
|Sergeant Frederick E. Sutherland||Flight Sergeant Grant S. McDonald||Corporal Kenneth Lucas|
|Sergeant Raymond E. Grayston
Ray Grayston joined the RAF in 1940 and had been serving in Lancasters with 50 Squadron at RAF Skellingthorpe, when, in March 1943, he was posted to join Guy Gibson’s 617 Squadron at RAF Scampton. Ray was the flight engineer on Lancaster AJ-N piloted by Les Knight, and on the night of 16/17 May 1943 they attacked and successfully breached the Eder Dam, arriving safely back at base at 04.20. Four months after the Dams Raid on the night of 16 September,
Ray was shot down and taken Prisoner of War. He was sent to Stalag Luft III where he remained in captivity until the end of the war.
|Squadron Leader George L. Johnson DFM
Joining the RAF in 1940, George Johnson had flown 28 operations on Lancasters with 97 Squadron at Woodhall Spa before joining 617 Squadron on 25 March 1943. Bomb Aimer on American Joe McCarthy’s reserve Lancaster AJ-T, they attacked the Sorpe Dam. Being a reserve aircraft, this Lancaster had not been fitted with the twin spotlights necessary for accurate height keeping, and it was on their tenth attempt that George released their bomb, hitting the Dam successfully but the earth dam survived the blast. For his actions he was awarded the DFM. Commissioned in November 1943, he remained in the RAF after the war and retired in 1962.
|Squadron Leader Les Munro
New Zealander Les Munro was the Captain and pilot of Lancaster AJ-W assigned to attack the Sorpe Dam, and one of three flight commanders on the Dams raid. Les Munro was forced to turn back en-route to the target after his Lancaster received heavy flak-damage over the Dutch island of Vlieland, which rendered his aircraft unable to carry on with the operation.
|Sergeant Frederick E. Sutherland
Canadian ‘Doc’ Sutherland joined 50 Squadron in September 1942 and was posted to 617 Squadron on 29 March 1943. He was the front gunner on Les Knight ’s Lancaster AJ-N that went first to the Möhne Dam, and then successfully attacked and breached the Eder Dam.
Shot down four months later, he successfully managed to evade capture and escaped back to England with the help of the Resistance movements, returning through Holland,France and Spain.
|Flight Sergeant Grant S. McDonald
Grant McDonald was the Canadian rear gunner on Lancaster AJ-F flown by Ken Brown, flown in the third wave on the raid. Flying at low level on the way to the Rühr they were forced to take violent evasive action when they encountered flak, several large electricity pylons and tall trees. Grant and the other gunners still managed to shoot up and damage three trains in this eventful trip before reaching, and attacking the Sorpe Dam.
|Corporal Kenneth Lucas
Ken Lucas joined the RAF in June 1940, and trained as ground crew for Bomber Command. He was sent first to 49 Squadron at RAF Scampton, before transferring to 617 Squadron upon it's formation. Involved in all the major servicing of the aircraft, Ken was heavily involved in carrying out the modifications to the aircraft before the raid, including fitting the motors that drove the belt that spun the bomb, and attaching the crucial lamps to the underside of the aircraft.