THE DAMBUSTERS RAID
An illustrated talk by Rob Kirby
The dams raid of May 1943 is arguably the most audacious and skilful operation ever staged in modern warfare. The novel bouncing bomb used in the raid was devised by inventor and engineer, Barnes Wallis. Though the general circumstances, and indeed details, of the raid are well known, the speaker will offer a new dimension arising from his detailed discussions with one of the pilots. The talk will focus on the intensity of demands on the bomb aimers, flight engineers and especially the pilots.
To succeed, every crew needed to attack at the exact height, speed, heading and range, with wings absolutely level, from a height of just 60 feet. The specially-created, hastily-trained, unit included a number of less-experienced recruits, and faced anti-aircraft gunfire, yet managed to burst both the Mohne and Eder dams, causing severe flooding and the loss of hydro-electric power in the Ruhr cities for many weeks. Sadly, though, this achievement came at a heavy price.
Rob Kirby, who lives locally and is a committee member of the Woolton Society, has had a lifelong interest in aviation history. Meanwhile, he tells us, his professional career has 'slid' from geology to oceanography, thence into 'ocean engineering'. He has been an adviser to governments and port authorities around the world, and holds a number of prestigious engineering awards.
Various 'Covid safe' procedures will be in force within the Chapel. Face coverings are optional. To regulate the number of people attending, this will be a 'Gateacre Society members only' event - though membership application forms will be available at the door for anyone wishing to join on the day.