(Central Band of the Royal Air Force)
The exploits of RAF Squadron 617 on 16–17 May 1943 – Operation Chastise – are engrained in the British psyche. Not only did the damage to the Möhne and Edersee Dams significantly shorten the second world war, but the operation was immortalised in the 1955 Warner Brothers film ‘The Dam Busters‘.
While Richard Todd and Michael Redgrave were credited as ‘stars’ of the film, the real stars of the film are – to many people – the Avro Lancaster bombers that 617 Squadron used to deliver Barnes Wallis’s ‘bouncing bomb’. Some 7,377 Lancasters were built by Avro, but, sadly, now only seventeen remain, of which only two are airworthy.
One forms part of the RAF’s Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF), the other is flown by the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum.
In the summer of 2014, the Canadian Lancaster was flown to the UK for a series of joint displays with the BBMF’s Lancaster, one of those displays was at Clacton on Sea, only fifty miles from my home, and while I was ‘seeking my next challenge’ it seemed an opportunity to good to miss.
That the world’s last remaining flying Avro Vulcan was also scheduled to take part in the display on Thursday August 21st was a bonus.
These are some of the pictures I took on the day, using a Canon EOS 1100D, 300mm lens, full automatic, and have not been tweaked.