Today we remember the bravery of all those involved in Operation Chastise, better known as the “Dambusters” Raid, 80 years ago in the Second World War.

The raid was one of the war’s most celebrated and successful aerial operations, with an attack on dams in Germany’s industrial heartland, the Ruhr Valley.

The dams were considered an important target for the Allies and would be attacked using newly invented ‘bouncing bombs’ – depth charges that could bounce along the water’s surface before sinking and then exploding.

617 Squadron was formed to carry out the raid and included airmen from Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States.

Australians played an important role in the operation, and acknowledge the bravery of all the Allied airmen who carried out the Dambusters Raid.

“Out of a group of 133 airmen, 13 Australians took part in this operation,” Minister Keogh said. “One of them was Harold ‘Mick’ Martin, who was considered one of the finest bomber pilots of the Second World War.”

Mick Martin and fellow Australian Jack Leggo were later knighted for their part in the raid. British Squadron leader Guy Gibson received the Victoria Cross for leading the operation and 33 other allied airmen were decorated.

The courage and skill these men showed while flying heavy bombers at an altitude of just 18 metres while maintaining speeds of 370 km per hour is truly remarkable.

Today, we acknowledge the courage and sacrifice of the aircrews of 617 Squadron and all those who served in the Second World War.”

The Australian War Memorial’s display about the Dambusters Raid features the original topographical model of the Möhne Dam which was used by the pilots and aircrew to familiarise themselves with the target ahead of the operation.


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