Hear the memories of a Dambuster at Wellesbourne event
Ninety-two-year-old George Johnson, squadron leader in the Dams Raid on May 16 to 17 1943, will spend the day at St Peter’s church to share his memories of the night as its 70th anniversary approaches.
Some 55,573 members of Bomber Command, whose members carried out the raid, lost their lives in service.
Visitors to both a day-time exhibition and an evening talk will also be able to meet Dr Mary Stopes-Roe - whose father Sir Barnes Wallis was involved in devising the ‘Bouncing Bomb’, ‘Tallboy’ and ‘Grand Slam’ bombs - and Mike Gibson and Janet Penrose De Gaynesford, relatives of wing commander Guy Gibson, who was awarded the Victoria Cross for his part in leading the aircraft on the night of the raid.
Wellesbourne parish councillor Roger Wright has for many years had a personal interest in researching the events of the Second World War and organised an event in Wellesbourne four years ago to commemorate the Dambusters raid. When approached by Mr Johnson to organise another this year, he was only too keen to comply.
He said: “Wellesbourne made a contribution towards the Bomber Command’s offensive against Germany as the Wellington Bomber had been based in the village.
“One thousand airmen lost their lives in the Midlands area during just the training. I feel we have a responsibility to not lose sight of the fact that this sacrifice was made.”
During the day, there will be displays of art associated with the Dambusters Raid, as well as photographs, memorabilia and pencil prints from the time, which have been signed by eight veterans.
The daytime exhibition, which is free to attend, will be open from 10.30am to 4.30pm, while the evening talk, for which tickets cost £15, begins at 7.30pm.
Proceeds will go towards the RAF Bomber Command Memorial Maintenance Fund to help raise the £2.4 million needed to maintain the memorial in London and to the Barnes Wallis Memorial Trust, an educational foundation that supports engineering students and graduates.
For tickets, call 01789 841805 or 01789 840705.