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Dambusters rehearse at 'Colchester Lake'

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617 Squadron rehearsed for Operation Chastise, the attack on the Ruhr dams in May 1943, by practising on three reservoirs in England in particular: the Derwent, the Eyebrook, and this one – then newly built, Abberton Reservoir in Essex, referred to in the squadron’s records as “Colchester Lake”. It was the substitute for the target at the Eder. The specially adapted Type 464 (Provisioning) Lancaster bombers were flown at just 60ft above the water – purely by eye until spotlights were devised, converging at the correct height.

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