One of the Famous Dambusters’ Pilots Was An American

One American Pilot in the RAF Squadron that Bombed Ruhr Dams. they became known as the “Dambuster Squadron”

 

“…chisel-jawed American pilot Joe McCarthy circled over the heart of Nazi Germany’s industrial machine.” (photo taken 1944 courtesy of Joe McCarthy, Jr.)

comment on his American pilot from interview with John “Johnny” Johnson, last survivor of the famous Dambusters from the Bristol Post of 13 May 2013

Photograph of the breached Möhne Dam taken by Flying Officer Jerry Fray of No. 542 Squadron from his Spitfire PR IX, six Barrage balloons are above the dam
Flying Officer Jerry Fray RAF – Chris Staerck (editor), Allied Photo Reconnaissance of World War II (1998)

 

 

Joe McCarthy (right) with his good friend Don Curtin two days after Don had been awarded the DFC in the fall of 1942. Sadly, F/L Donald Joe Curtin DFC and Bar was lost on a raid to Nuremberg on 25 February 1943.

 

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Dambusters American pilot Joe McCarthy

p_joemccarthy1

Then Flight Lieutenant RAF, American Joseph Charles “Joe” McCarthy DSO DFC and BAR, being introduced by Wing Commander Guy Gibson, VC to His Majesty King George VI after the Dambusters’ Raid.

Comments Charles McCain: “Joe McCarthy had made his way to Canada before the USA became a belligerent in World War Two and joined the Royal Canadian Air force. Many RAF bomber crews were comprised of men from different parts of the empire including the Royal Australia Air Force, Royal New Zealand, etc. So McCarthy was officially in the Royal Canadian Air Force but the only way to know that would have been a small patch on the standard RAF uniform which said, “Canada”.

Also, after they completed training and were dispatched to the manning depots, the men self-selected into their bomber crews. On a specific day, the command would put all the different men in their different specialties in one large hanger and they would mill about until they had found a crew they liked. The higher-ups never got involved.”

Harlo ‘Terry’ Taerum (left), Guy Gibson (centre-front) and Joe McCarthy (right).

As the war went on, however, the Canadian Government insisted that squadrons be formed in which the bombers had all Canadian crews. (All Canadian in armed forces in WW Two were volunteers). Of course, the British complied.

Unlike the other self-governing Dominions of the British Empire, the Canadians didn’t want to mix in their men in either Bomber Command or the Royal Navy. They created their own navy, the Royal Canadian Navy. Unfortunately, without the presence of the highly skilled and trained Royal Navy or Royal Navy Reserve or experienced Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve officers, their navy took several critical years to achieve even the lowest level of competence.

After the war, Joe McCarthy became a Canadian citizen and enjoyed a successful career in the Royal Canadian Air Force. You can read more about him here:

http://www.bombercommandmuseum.ca/s,joemccarthy.html

 

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

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copyright (c) 2018 by Charles McCain. Posted by writer Charles McCain, author of the World War Two naval epic:

An Honorable German.

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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)

53 RAF aircrew lost their lives in the Dambuster raids We Shall Remember Them

Upkeep_in_Lancaster

Bouncing Bomb code-named Upkeep underneath a Lancaster bomber.

Image: British Ministry of Defence, Air Historical Branch. 

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

 

OPERATION CHASTISE (THE DAMBUSTERS’ RAID) 16 – 17 MAY 1943 (CH 9750) The Targets: A vertical reconnaissance photo showing the breach in the Eder Dam. The awkward approach to the dam resulted in the failure of the first three attempts to place a bomb accurately enough to destroy it. The fourth aircraft to attack (AJ-N) succeeded, however. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205022178

 

Photograph collection of Dambusters IWM

World War Two: Childrens’ marbles Which led to World War Two’s Dambusters to go on sale for £600

 

A-World-War-Two-RAF-Avro-Lancaster-bomber-aircraft

A World War Two RAF Avro Lancaster bomber aircraft, complete with Guy Gibson’s serial number of AJG from 617 ‘Dambuster’ Squadron, flies past Teesside Airport  (photo Imperial War Museum)

 

 

Breathless, Inaccurate but Interesting Piece from the London Daily Mail

 

Inventor Barnes Wallis ran tests in his garden, using his daughter’s marbles and a tin bath filled with water before he came up with the daring plan.

Four marbles used to help develop the bouncing bombs dropped by the Dambusters are up for auction. Inventor Barnes Wallis ran tests in his garden, using his daughter’s marbles and a tin bath filled with water.

The 1943 raid on Germ­any’s Ruhr valley helped change the course of the Second World War. (THIS IS SIMPLY NOT TRUE Says Charles McCain)

The remainder of the story is here:

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/ordinary-marbles-led-world-war-5000622