0038 on 17 May 1943. Goner 58A from P-Popsie. Australian RAF pilot Flt Lt Harold ‘Mick’ Martin becomes the third member of 617 Squadron to attack the Mohne Dam in Germany on the Dambusters mission, Operation Chastise.
Martin and his crew in their specially modified Lancaster, AJ-P, have just seen the aircraft before them miss the target and get shot down, exploding in flames. As they run in, spotlights marking their height at 60ft, they are also hit in the near-empty starboard outer fuel tanks and aileron by 20mm cannon shells from the ‘flak’ defences on the dam.
Bomb aimer Bob Hay – struggling to see through all the smoke and spray – releases their Upkeep revolving depth charge to bounce its way across the lake as designed, but it will veer to the left and explode 20 yards short of the dam without apparently damaging it.