16 May 1943: Wing Commander Guy Gibson, flying AJ-G (“G – George”), leads the first wave of Lancaster bombers over the North Sea and into occupied Holland on the way to bomb the Ruhr dams in Operation Chastise – the Dambusters raid. The Upkeep depth charge or “bouncing bomb” is slung beneath the specially modified Type 464 (Provisioning) aircraft.
The mission was flown at extremely low level but they rose to clear the dunes along the coast and to get their bearings: a stronger than expected wind over the sea had pushed them to the south of their intended track. Ahead of the attackers, the almost full Moon brilliantly illuminated the landscape. Flying alongside Gibson were John “Hoppy” Hopgood in AJ-M, ED925/G and Harold “Micky” Martin in AJ-P, ED909/G.
This picture is part of the Flight Artworks Dambusters series. It includes my extensive modifications to a standard Lanc that was originally photographed by Ronnie Macdonald (used with permission).