Lancaster flypast pays 80th anniversary tribute to Dambusters
The only remaining airworthy Lancaster bomber in the UK took to the skies on Tuesday to mark the 80th anniversary of the Dambusters raid.
The plane, one of only two Lancasters still in operation, flew over former air bases in Lincolnshire on the anniversary of the mission to attack German dams on 1943.
Part of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF), plane PA474 took off from its base at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire for a flypast over the RAF Museum at Hendon, London.
Its return journey took it over 28 former Bomber Command air bases in Lincolnshire.
Spectators lined the perimeters of bases and nearby roads to catch a site of the plane.
Squadron Leader Mark Sugden, Officer Commanding the BBMF, said: “The Dambusters Raid was one of the most audacious raids in the history of the Royal Air Force, and we at the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight are proud to commemorate the bravery, dedication and sacrifice of all those involved.”
Nineteen Lancasters, crewed by 133 airmen, took part in Operation Chastise on the night of May 16-17, 1943.
Led by Wing Commander Guy Gibson, the raid targeted three dams in the industrialised Ruhr region of Germany using the “bouncing bomb” invented by Barnes Wallis.
They successfully breached the Mohne and Eder dams while the Sorpe was damaged.
Eight Lancasters were shot down during the raid, which was immortalised in the 1955 film The Dam Busters, with 53 airmen killed.
The anniversary was marked with a tribute evening at the International Bomber Command Centre at Lincoln which included excerpts from interviews with George “Johnny” Johnson, the last surviving member of the Dambusters who died in December aged 101.