Enemy Coast Ahead
– The Dambusters
of 617 Squadron, led by Wing Commander Guy Gibson
begin their low level cross channel dash towards the enemy coast
on the way to the heart of the Ruhr.
Pilot Signed Print
Coast Ahead – The Dambusters by
of 617 Squadron, led by Wing Commander Guy Gibson begin their
low level cross channel dash towards the enemy coast on the
way to the heart of the Ruhr.
The aircraft were arranged in three waves. The first wave
comprised three groups of three aircraft at 10 minute intervals
and headed towards the Mohne, Sorpe and Eder dams. The second
wave of five Lancasters headed direct to the Sorpe whilst
the third wave of five, would act as backup. Eight Lancasters
failed to return from the raids, a high cost indeed, but the
courage and determination displayed by the crews were in the
best tradition of the RAF.
The Primary Edition is signed and numbered by
Artist Proofs are also signed by former Dambusters:
Flying Officer Raymond E. Grayston
(Flight Engineer of AJ-N, Les Knights Lancaster)
Grayston joined the RAF in June 1939, as an
engine fitter. In 1942 he volunteered for aircrew,
as a flight engineer. He was subsequently posted
to 50 Sqn at Skellingthorpe in Lincolnshire.
The crew had completed 30 ops. by January 1943.
Les Knight was then requested to continue flying
with his crew on Special Operations. This involved
moving to Scampton, to form 617 Sqn. On the
night of 16-17 May, Les Knight and his crew
took part in the raid on the dams and were responsible
for breaching the Eder Dam.
The crew continued on operations until September
1943, when trying to carry out a raid on the
Dortmund Ems canal in fog, the plane was damaged
and crashed. After ensuring his crew successfully
baled out, Les Knight remained on the aircraft
and was never seen again. Ray spent the remainder
of the war as a prisoner in Stalag Luft 3.
Squadron Leader George L. Johnson DFM
(Bomb Aimer on AJ-T, American Joe McCarthy’s
Johnson went initially to the USA for pilot
training. Frustrated at not qualifying and a
burning desire to get airborne Johnny applied
for the shortest possible training course; air
gunner. having completed this course successfully
Johnny was posted to 97 Squadron as ‘spare’
gunner – mid or upper, whichever was needed.
At this time Bomb Aimers were being sought for
the Lancasters and as this position warranted
extra pay, Johnny applied and passed the training
course. He was then chosen by Joe McCarthy to
join his crew before they were all transferred
to 617 Squadron. Flying in AJ-T, with American
pilot Joe McCarthy and crew they attacked the
Sorpe Dam from 30 feet, for which Johnny was
awarded the DFM. Johnny went on to fly 40 missions
with Joe McCarthy at the controls.
Print size: 28 x 19ins approx
- see below
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