Nazi Germany Unleashes Bombers on London

Germans Bomb London

Bomb damage to HMV (His Master’s Voice) gramophone shop, Oxford Street, London, 1940. The shop had been opened by Sir Edward Elgar in 1921Photograph: Cecil Beaton/Imperial War Museum

 

The Blitz, London, 1942. A workman with a wheelbarrow clears up fallen debris from the roof of St Mary-le-Bow after its first bombing. Subsequently the church was completely destroyed. The church was rebuilt after the war. It was said that a genuine Cockney was a person born within the sounds of the bells of St. Mary-le-Bow.  Photograph: Cecil Beaton/Imperial War Museum

 

Bomb damage to the church of St Lawrence Jewry, Guildhall, London, 1940. Designed by Sir Christopher Wren, the church suffered major damage during the Blitz and was rebuilt to Wren’s original design in 1957.  Photograph: Cecil Beaton/Imperial War Museum

 

London Blitz:  Young woman pulled alive from rubble of bombed building by London Air Raid Precaution emergency workers

Payback is a Bitch
Stuttgart after a visit from RAF Bomber Command in 1943

ROYAL AIR FORCE BOMBER COMMAND, 1942-1945. (CL 3437) Low-level aerial photograph of the devastated city centre of Stuttgart from the south-west, after 53 major raids, most of them by Bomber Command, destroyed nearly 68 percent of its built-up area and killed 4,562 people. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205022152

 

 

Astounding Courage Dambusters Breach Critical German Dams

One of the Great Actions of World War Two

The breach in the Mohne Dam four hours after the Dambusters raid in May 1943. (courtesy Imperial War Museum, Foreign Office Political Intelligence Department, Classified Print Collection). 

It would be interesting to know who took this photograph and how soon after it was taken that the British had it. While not well known today, Polish Intelligence, which went underground after Poland’s defeat by the Nazis, provided the majority of the human intelligence which flowed to the Allies from occupied Europe in World War Two.

 

OPERATION CHASTISE (THE DAMBUSTERS’ RAID) 16 – 17 MAY 1943  reconnaissance photo of the Ruhr Valley at Froendenberg-Boesperde, some 13 miles south from the Moehne Dam, showing massive flooding. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections

 

THE VISIT OF HM KING GEORGE VI TO NO 617 SQUADRON (THE DAMBUSTERS) ROYAL AIR FORCE, SCAMPTON, LINCOLNSHIRE, 27 MAY 1943 (TR 1002) Wing Commander Guy Gibson, VC, DSO and bar, DFC and bar, with members of his Squadron. In the front row are Gibson’s flight commanders, on his right Squadron Leader Dave Maltby, and on his left Squadron Leader Mick Martin. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205123885

 

Wing Commander Guy Gibson, who trained and led 617 Squadron known as Dambusters was an incredibly brave man although according to temporary accounts not a very likeable man. His crew disliked him and said he didn’t even know most of them by name just position in the crew. Gibson had a stormy marriage to put it mildly and was living with another woman instead of his wife when he died in 1944.

Gibson drank more than most pilots in a time when heavy drinking by pilots when they finished operations was normal and one of the few ways they had of relaxing. He often insulted other officers in the mess who didn’t have his decorations for bravery and no one could say anything because of who he was.

For leading the Dambusters mission, Gibson was awarded Great Britain’s highest honor, the Victoria Cross, the equivalent of the US Medal of Honor.That he deserved it cannot be questioned. Not only did he lead the squadron in and drop the first bouncing bomb, he circled the dam under a constant stream of ack-ack fire while the other bombers made their runs.

Gibson already held the Distinguished Service Order and Bar (which meant he was given the medal twice). The DSO was awarded for brave and meritorious service in combat. In addition, he also had been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and bar, which was only given for bravery in operational flying against the enemy.

 

Dramatized on film and in print, the Dambusters raid has become one of the most well known small operations of World War Two in Europe. The raid was conceived of

 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0046889/

www.rottentomatoes.com/m/the_dam_busters/

617 SQUADRON (DAMBUSTERS) AT SCAMPTON, LINCOLNSHIRE, 22 JULY 1943 (TR 1129) Flight Lieutenant Dave Shannon, pilot of ED929/`AJ-L’ on the dams raid, with Flight Lieutenant R D Trevor-Roper, who flew as Gibson’s rear gunner on the dam’s raid; and Squadron Leader G W Holden. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205123902

 

The King has a word with Flight Lieutenant Les Munro from New Zealand. Wing Commander Guy Gibson is on the right and Air Vice Marshal Ralph Cochrane, Commander of No 5 Group is behind Flight Lieutenant Munro and to the right.

King George VI visited the survivors of 617 Squadron, Royal Air Force, Bomber Command on 27 May 1943. The successful raid had taken place on the night of 16/17 May 1943.

 

WING COMMANDER GUY GIBSON, VC, DSO AND BAR, DFC AND BAR, COMMANDER OF 617 SQUADRON (DAMBUSTERS) AT SCAMPTON, LINCOLNSHIRE, 22 JULY 1943 (TR 1127) Wing Commander Guy Gibson with members of his crew. Left to right: Wing Commander Guy Gibson, VC, DSO and Bar, DFC and Bar; Pilot Officer P M Spafford, bomb aimer; Flight Lieutenant R E G Hutchinson, wireless operator; Pilot Officer G A Deering and Flying Officer H T Taerum, gunners. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205123900

 

AIRCRAFT OF THE ROYAL AIR FORCE, 1939-1945: AVRO 683 LANCASTER. (ATP 11384B) Type 464 (Provisioning) Lancaster, ED825/G, at Boscombe Down, Wiltshire, during handling trials with the Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment. One of some twenty aircraft specially built to carry the ‘Upkeep’ weapon on Operation CHASTISE, ED825/G was delivered to No 617 Squadron RAF at Scampton as a spare aircraft on 15 May 1943, but was subsequently flown on the raid by Flight Lieut… Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205125316

 

ROYAL AIR FORCE BOMBER COMMAND, 1942-1945. (IWM FLM 2360) Operation CHASTISE: the attack on the Moehne, Eder and Sorpe Dams by No. 617 Squadron RAF on the night of 16/17 May 1943. No. 617 Squadron practice dropping the ‘Upkeep’ weapon at Reculver bombing range, Kent. Third launch sequence (1): Flight Lieutenant J L Munro in Avro Lancaster ED921/G drops his bomb from below 60 feet. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205022916
LEST WE FORGET

133 RAF aircrew participated in the Dambusters attack.

Of those, 53 lost their lives–a casualty rate of almost 40 percent. The dead were all young men in the prime of their lives.

Life, to be sure,
Is nothing much to lose,
But young men think it is,
And we were young.

From the poem Here Dead We Lie

by A.E. Housman

 

All photos courtesy of the Imperial War Museum

iwm.org.uk/collections/dambusters

movie poster courtesy of Wikipedia

wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Dam_Busters_(film)

Canadian Built Lancasters Bomb Nazi Germany

Given its relatively small population, Canada made an immense contribution to Allied victory in WW Two. Canadian troops, most of whom were volunteers, fought all over Europe although mainly in the Italian campaign and the battles in Northwest Europe. The 3rd Canadian Infantry Divison comprised a part of the Allied forces on D-Day.

 

Lest We Forget
44,000 Canadian soldiers, sailors, and airmen lost their lives in World War Two.

 

British built R5727, the pattern Lancaster, in Gander 23 August 1942.

photo courtesy of Bomber Command Museum of Canada

“On September 18, 1941, a decision was made to build Lancasters in Canada and the first drawings arrived in January 1942. For a country still largely agrarian and just recovering from a decade of depression, the challenge was immense. 500,000 manufacturing operations were involved in building a Lancaster which was made up of some 55,000 separate parts even when engines and turrets were only considered as one and small items such as rivets, nuts, and bolts were not included. A Lancaster from England was flown across the Atlantic in August 1942 to act as a “pattern” and a Crown Corporation named Victory Aircraft was formed to do the work in Malton, Ontario.”

More than 130,000 Allied pilots trained in Canada which also “hosted” tens of thousands of German prisoners of war. Famed U-Boat ace Otto Kretschmer was held in a Canadian POW camp.

KB-882 is one of over 400 Mk-10 Lancasters built in Canada.

 

Workers at the Victory Aircraft Plant in Malton, Ontario
celebrating the rollout of KB799, the one-hundredth Canadian built Lancaster.

 

Lancaster R-5727 over Montreal 24 Aug. 1942

The first Canadian-built Avro Lancaster B Mark X, KB700 “The Ruhr Express”, taxying after landing at Northolt, Middlesex, following a delivery flight across the Atlantic. KB700 was the first of 300 aircraft built by Victory Aircraft of Malton, Ontario, and flew operationally with Nos. 405 and 419 Squadrons RCAF.
CH 11041
Part of
AIR MINISTRY SECOND WORLD WAR OFFICIAL COLLECTION
Royal Air Force official photographer
Crouch F W (F/O)

 

11 Jan 1945
Moose – Ghost Sqn
Snow’s snow and fun’s fun, but when snow hits the stations of the Canadian Bomber Group, it just means a lot of work for all personnel, air crew and ground crew types alike. Up a-top the starboard wing of a Canadian-built Lancaster on the station where the Moose and Ghost squadrons are based, four of the boys scrape off the stubborn snow. They are, left to right, LAC F.J. Chapioniere, a fitter from Champion, Alta.; LAC B. Holiday, Elgin, Ont.; LAC J.G. Chagnon, St. Hyacinthe, P.Q., and LAC W. Van Norman, Guleph, 90 Nottingham St., Ont.

 

ground crew of a Canadian Lancaster

 

Untitled, 4/23/04, 1:34 PM, 8C, 9590×6580 (1650+8275), 150%, A.I. Basic, 1/60 s, R83.9, G77.6, B95.0

Let’s Go Canada! by Henri Eveleigh 1939–1945

(Issued by the World War Two agency, Canadian Bureau of Public Information)

U-Boat Bunker St. Nazaire

 

nazaire1

Vizeadmiral Dönitz during the opening (photo courtesy Uboat.net)

 

U-Boat Bases and Bunkers: Saint Nazaire: The U-Boat Bunker suffered thirty major raids through the war with three being extremely heavy. The 28 February 1943 raid consisted of 430 bombers, the 22 March 1943 raid consisted of 350 bombers, and the 28 March raid consisted of 320 bombers. The town was almost completely destroyed in these raids while the bunker saw minimal damage.

From Uboat.net:

“The construction work started in February 1941. The bunker, built on the western side of the basin at Saint-Nazaire, was 295m wide, 130m long and 18m high and contained 14 U-boat pens.

After only 4 months the first pens were ready and so Vizeadmiral Dönitz opened on the 30th June 1941 the bunker. U-203 under Kptlt. Rolf Mützelburg was the first boat to use one section of the newly completed shelter.

Later a sluice bunker was also built, which the U-boats used to reach the sea.”

uboat.net/flotillas/bases/saint_nazaire.htm