British Flight Marked Anniversary of Dambuster Raid

16 May 2008

On 17 May 1943, British bombers flew a bombing mission against German dams in the Ruhr River region. When the new "Upkeep" bombs hit the dams, 300 million tons of water flooded mines, farms, houses, factories, and infrastructure. 1,294 died from the flooding, many of them civilians, but it also interrupted German industrial production in the region for at least one month while the Germans cleaned up the damage.

Today, on the 65th anniversary of the attack, a Lancaster bomber flew three times over the Derwent Reservoir in Derbyshire in England, United Kingdom celebrated the famous raid. New Zealander Squadron Leader Les Munro, the last surviving pilot of the mission, Operation Chastise, was the guest of honor. The flight was also meant to remember the 53 crewmembers lost during the attack.

After the war, in 1977, Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions prohibited unjustified attacks against installations such as dams, dykes and nuclear power stations for their potential consequences on the civilian population. The 1943 Dambuster Raid, and the devastation it caused, was part of the inspiration for this international agreement.

For more information on this celebration, including a video of the celebration flight, please see the BBC article Dambusters remembered 65 years on. For more information on the raid, please see WW2DB: Dambuster Raid.

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"I have returned. By the grace of Almighty God, our forces stand again on Philippine soil."

General Douglas MacArthur at Leyte, 17 Oct 1944