by Philip West.
During the night of May 16/17, 1943, 19 Lancaster's of the newly formed 617 Squadron carried out daring raids against four dams in the Ruhr. The Primary target was the Mohne dam. Here we see Flt Lt Maltby and crew in AJ-J flying clear of the Mohne before their Upkeep mine exploded against and breached the dam. Operation Chastise became a legend in the annals of the RAF and military history.
PRIMARY EDITION prints are signed by the artist and also Dambuster Squadron Leader George ‘Johnny’ Johnson DFM (Bomb Aimer 617 Squadron) who flew on AJ-T, with American pilot Joe McCarthy when his crew attacked the Sorpe Dam, for which Johnny was awarded the DFM. Before then, he had been part of 97 Squadron. Johnny went on to fly 40 missions with Joe McCarthy at the controls.
ARTIST PROOFS and REMARQUED PRINTS are signed by the artist and are also signed by Dambuster Flying Officer Raymond E Grayston (Flight Engineer – 617 sqn) who 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.