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Rob Pollock
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Last of the Dam-Busters

January 25, 2017 · in News · · 10 Comments

A quick dedication to the last surviving Dambusters pilot, Sqn.Ldr. Les Munro, who has died at the age of 96.

The legendary ‘Dambusters Operation’ of RAF 617 Squadron flew from RAF Scampton, near Lincoln, in 1943 and successfully used “bouncing bombs” to attack German dams.

On the night of 16 May 1943, 19 bombers left RAF Scampton near Lincoln in three waves.

The first headed to the Mohne and the Eder Dams, the second and third to the Sorpe Dam.

Out of the 133 crew that set off, only 77 returned, including Sqn Ldr Munro, who made it home after flak destroyed the internal and external communications in his Lancaster bomber over the Netherlands.

He had been briefed to attack the Sorpe Dam by releasing the bomb from the lowest possible height, while flying at 180 mph (290 km/h) The Sorpe Dam was damaged but the Mohne and Eder Dams were destroyed, flooding the Ruhr valley.

10 responses

  1. RIP, Squadron Leader.
    It's amazing to me that any of them survived the raid itself.
    The survivors then went on to additional tours or duties, 'til the end of the war. Or until they fell afoul of the law of averages.

  2. Sorry to hear about this. These men sacrificed so much for the rest of us. Unfortunately they can't escape the hands of time. My condolences go out to his surviving family and friends.
    Rest in Peace Sir... May you rest in God's hands now.

  3. A fine and fitting tribute...both to Off. Munro and to ALL who served.

  4. Sad when the best of the best are leaving. I didn't actually know that he passed away. Blue Skies, Sqn Ldr.

  5. Sir Les was a New Zealander, incidentally, and died on 4 August 2015,

    • I picked up the story from a military history forum. I knew it wasn't actually 'news' as such but the story seems to gave slipped by. Judging from the responses here it wasn't a passing many were aware of, so I thought I'd repost it.

  6. Thanks for sharing a wonderful story on those daring pilots who knew what they would face on this mission they trained for. Fearless, they were RAF pilots, scared like anyone else, but the job was to finish their mission. They did, at a great cost. God bless them, this story will definitely motivate me into finish my Tam Lancaster.

  7. One VC, 5DSOs, 10 DFCs with 4 Bars, 12 DFMs, and 2 Conspicuous Gallantry Medals after Operation Chastise. Les Monro's medals are in The MOTAT, a museum in Aukland NZ. He accepted an offer of £75K from Lord Ashcroft, and the money was immediately donated to the upkeep of the Bomber Command memorial in London's Green Park. The Museum donated a further £10K to the cause as part of an agreement with Ashcroft to keep the medals in NZ. His memory, and the memories of his comrades, live on in many ways!

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