I’m pleased to announce that my new book, The Complete Dambusters, will be published by History Press on 1 May.
“On 16 May 1943, nineteen Lancaster aircraft from the RAF’s 617 Squadron set off to attack the great dams in the industrial heart of Germany. Flying at a height of 60ft, they dropped a series of bombs which bounced across the water and destroyed two of their targets, thereby creating a legend. The one-off operation combined an audacious method of attack, technically brilliant flying and visually spectacular results, but while the story of the raid is well known, most of the 133 men who took part in the raid are just names on a list. They came from all parts of the UK and the Commonwealth and beyond, and each of them was someone’s son or brother, husband or father. This is the first book to present their individual stories.” Continue reading →
Sincere congratulations to Charles Foster, creator and doughty editor of the Dambusters Blog, which has just passed the million hits mark. In noting this achievement, Charles comments on the enduring fascination of the Dambusters raid:
“I think the reason may be because although the raid itself is the stuff of legend, it also represents a bigger story: that of the ‘greatest generation’ who fought tyranny, came through the years of austerity which followed, and built a better society in which all could flourish.”
Many of those who today visit the Squadron Bar, our lovingly preserved 617 Squadron Officers’ Mess here at the Petwood Hotel, former home to those who flew in the 1943 raid, might agree. | Related posts
Ever since the much-loved Waddington Air Show was scrapped last year, calls for a replacement show in Lincolnshire have grown louder, so aviation enthusiasts will be cheered to learn that The Minister of State for Defence, Earl Howe, and the RAF Charitable Trust (RAFCT) have announced that an agreement has been made with the Royal Air Force to organise an air show at RAF Scampton from 2017.
This is especially welcome news for Woodhall Spa, whose residents include many retired and working RAF personnel, and which has so many historic connections to those who were stationed hereabouts during world war 2. Continue reading →
“This was my sixth stay at the Petwood, and no less a pleasure than all of the others. Parking is never a problem, and the splendid grounds never fail to lift the spirits as soon as I enter the gate. The staff were helpful and friendly, and I was soon relaxing in the comfortable oak panelled rooms of this remarkable country mansion turned hotel, by way of a spell as the home of officers of the famed ”Dambusters” Squadron.
That wartime history is not just a memory in this grand mock Tudor to Jacobean house; the bar once serving pints of beer to those heroic airmen is an atmospheric oasis of artifacts of those grim days, in a setting not too far removed from the cosy sanctuary of respite it once was. Continue reading →
My first visit to the Petwood Hotel was for a dinner and concert, and since I was a passenger in someone’s car and it was an evening in winter, I had only a vague impression of Edwardian splendour and an enjoyable evening in good company. I was aware of the hotel’s role as an Officer’s Mess for 617 Squadron, but had little opportunity to see what, if anything, commemorated this period. Continue reading →