Lancaster bomber RAF Cosford flypast marks Dambuster raid anniversary

The 70th anniversary of the Dambusters air raid was celebrated this afternoon with a spectacular flypast at the RAF Museum in Cosford.

The Lancaster bomber completed three circuits over the airfield.

More than 800 onlookers assembled to watch the spectacle – the first time Cosford has seen the iconic bombers perform a flypast.

Today marks 70 years since 19 Lancaster bombers took off from RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire, on a mission to destroy German dams with a revolutionary “bouncing” bomb.

The flypast was one of dozens of events going on around the country today.

A Lancaster also flew low this afternoon over the Derwent Reservoir, in Hope Valley, Derbyshire, where the pilots completed practice runs before the legendary bombing raid.

And tonight there will be a sunset ceremony at RAF Scampton.

The Dambusters raid was an attempt to cripple the Nazi war economy by attacking three dams in the industrial heartland of Germany.

The planes, armed with scientist Dr Barnes Wallis’ bouncing bombs, flew to the Ruhr Valley either side of midnight on May 16, 1943.

The raids, carried out by 133 airmen, required the planes to fly just 60ft above the ground to allow the revolutionary bouncing bombs to work.

Although 56 men died on the top secret mission, it was hailed as a success.

Les Munro, the last surviving pilot of the raid, today said he believed the raids were justified due to the effect on morale in Britain.

The 94-year-old, who was born in New Zealand, said: “I believe from an operational point of view they were very successful. The general feeling was the effect on the British morale was really significant and I think from that point alone it was justified and can be categorised as successful.”

RAF Cosford will tonight mark today’s anniversary with a lecture on the Dambusters raid at the museum.

Philip Bebb travelled to Cosford this afternoon with his wife Rosemary from their home in Shrewsbury, to see the flypast.

Mr Bebb, who was in the RAF and trained at Shawbury in 1959, said: “It is not the first time we have seen it – we saw it at Shawbury and at the flower show before. It’s wonderful to see and it was flying quite a lot lower than normal.”

Paul Naylor, from Wem, who was there with his wife Penny, said: “I’ve seen it probably three or four times and its always impressive. It was nice to see it so low.

“I actually met Barnes Wallis when he gave a lecture at university so have always been interested in the Dambusters.”

Shropshire's role in legendary Dambusters raid - See today's Shropshire Star

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Comments for: "Lancaster bomber RAF Cosford flypast marks Dambuster raid anniversary"

Shame it wasn't more widely known that this was going to happen today, I'm sure many more would have loved to have seen it, including myself


Fantastic!! What heroes! I wonder what these brave men would think of youth of today who go around killing swans and cutting ears from sheep!


Bit unfair to generalise about 'youth of today' based upon two extreme and isolated incidents isn't it?


isolated !! dont think so


As "one of the youth of today" I believe these men are heroes. Do not generalise it only makes you look arrogant, I can safely bet that your generation was not perfect.


If you missed this fly past, there is a flypast of a Spitfire at RAF Shawbury on Thursday May 23rd (weather permitting)

For full details of flypasts of Spitfires, Hurricanes, Lancaster at all UK venues see

Display timings for the specific days are only released through the web site above about a week in advance

eva land

You don't really think that similar behaviour didn't go on in those days do you?


Well it didnt in my Town !! or County as our dads would have sorted it out


Looking around these days it makes you wonder with hindsight why those brave men did what they did?

Colin Dodd.

Quite agree Phil, and I wonder what the 3 surviving members of the Busters, thought of BBC news yesterday. "Where do we start"?, said one presenter. "Well, there's only one place we can start", said the other, then straight into the story of Beckham retiring. What an insult, but very predictive really when the UK seems to be obsessed with sporting achievements. Ferguson, given a knighthood, Wiggins, etc. etc. At least these people knew that when they left home for "work" in the morning, they would be home at night. 70 years ago, these true heroes did not have that security for the duration of the war, and on that night, 53 of them never made it home. Without the efforts of men like them, these overpaid sports people would have had a very different life indeed.

Rant over.

H. St. John Peasbody

How can we ever hope to build a better society and peaceful world if we continue warmongering?

would you prefer to be speaking German today then

H. St. John Peasbody

What a silly comment. Are we ever going to move on from WWII?

I think you need to have more respect for History Sir


Where any of the royals present? - They should have been

Dr Richard Muller

From the USA--Many of us still remember when Britain stood alone. In May 1943 the Nazi state was still powerful. Indeed, war is a terrible thing but 1939-45 was as "just" a war as could be...and we should always remember the Dambusters.


I enjoyed the article and BBC's program last night on. I was however dismayed at the complete lack of mention of the Lancaster bombers designer Roy Chadwick. Roy was chief designer for AV Roe when he died in a crash in the late forties having laid down the plans of thousands of aircraft including the blueprints for new-age jet Vulcan bomber. I believe his daughter, Rosemary Lapham, still lives in Shrewsbury. This would have been an ideal opportunity for the aircraft and its designer to receive due credit.

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