Lancaster Bomber to fly over Derbyshire this weekend to mark Dambusters anniversary

A Lancaster Bomber is set to soar through the skies above Derbyshire this weekend to mark the anniversary of the historic Dambusters raids during World War Two.

Tuesday, 10th May 2022, 9:40 am
Updated Tuesday, 10th May 2022, 10:51 am

The iconic aircraft will stage a flypast in the Doe Lea area on May 14 and 15 - nearly 80 years on from the famed bouncing bomb raids on Germany in 1943.

The legendary plane will fly over Hardwick Hall at around 1.25pm as part of the RAF Bomber Command Remembrance flight on Sunday.

On Saturday, it will be seen above the skies of the hilltop estate between 1.50pm and 2.30pm.

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A Lancaster bomber will perform a flypast over Hardwick Hall this weekend to mark the anniversary of the historic Dambusters raids during World War Two (pic: Andrew Yates/AFP/Getty Images)

Derbyshire played a large part in World War Two, with the Ladybower and Derwent Reservoirs being the site of practice Dambuster bombing missions.

The top-secret Dambusters raids, officially known as Operation Chastise, were carried out on the night of May 16 and 17, 1943, by 133 airmen in 19 Lancaster bombers from the specifically formed 617 squadron RAF Bomber Command, using special "bouncing bombs".

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Developed by Ripley-born inventor Barnes Wallis, the bombs were a revolutionary device designed to be dropped by modified Lancaster Bombers and bounce across the water, avoiding torpedo nets, to sink and explode under water next to the target.

The Möhne and Edersee dams in Germany were breached during the raids, causing catastrophic flooding of the Ruhr valley and of villages in the Eder valley with two hydroelectric power stations destroyed along with factories and mines.

An estimated 1,600 civilians – about 600 Germans and 1,000 forced labourers, mainly Soviet – were killed by the flooding. Despite rapid repairs by the Germans, production did not return to normal until September.

Fifty-three RAF aircrew were killed and three captured in the Dambusters mission, which required them to fly the Lancaster bombers at just 60ft above the ground, incredibly low when compared to the 250ft aircraft must fly at nowadays, while a total of eight aircraft were destroyed in the historic raid.

A 1955 film, titled The Dam Busters and starring Richard Todd and Michael Redgrave, told the dramatic story of the raids which helped change the course of World War Two.

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