Emsworth artist's painting celebrates 80th anniversary of the Dambusters Raid

Emsworth based artist Steven Massey has painted the Avro Lancaster of Wing Commander Guy Gibson attacking the wartime Mohne Dam during Operation Chastise, the Dambuster raid to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the event this month.
Dambuster Lancaster Dambuster Lancaster
Dambuster Lancaster

This month will be the 80th anniversary of Operation Chastise. More popularly remembered as The Dambusters Raid, this World War two mission was carried out on the night of May 16/17 1943.

It saw a force of Avro Lancasters from the specially formed 617 Squadron Bomber Command take off from RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire. The mission required the squadron to undertake an extremely dangerous and audacious low level attack on the Mohne, Eder and Sorpe dams in the Ruhr valley, deep in the industrial heartland of wartime Germany.The Lancasters were using the now famous `Upkeep 'bouncing bomb designed by the famed engineer and inventor Barnes Wallis. The bombs, large cylindrical barrels of high explosive, were spun up within the bomb bay of the aircraft and released at a height of approximately 60 feet - incredibly low for a large four engined bomber.

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The bombs bounced with tremendous splashes across the surface of the dammed reservoirs and collided with the dam. There they sank until a charge detonated the bomb directly against the wall of the dam, the water pressure concentrating the huge force of the explosion against the dam itself.The Mohne and Eder dams were breached causing widespread flooding and destruction over the key industries areas of the Ruhr valley. Over 1600 people perished as a result with more than a thousand of these being enslaved prisoners and captured Soviet labourers. Eight Lancasters failed to return home with 53 aircrew losing their lives in the raid.

Dambuster Lancaster Dambuster Lancaster
Dambuster Lancaster

How much the raid ultimately achieved is a subject of historical debate but there can be no denying the extraordinary skill and courage of the young men drawn from around the world that undertook this most hazardous of missions.

To mark the occasion of the 80th anniversary of Operation Chastise, Emsworth based artist Steven Massey has painted a portrait of 'G' George, the lead Lancaster of the raid flown by Wing Commander Guy Gibson attacking the Mohne Dam. The painting will be on display and can be viewed at Vin Wines, Queen Street, Emsworth between May 12 and 28.

Steven wanted in some small way to commemorate just a a few extraordinary people from that wartime generation of men and women who are now passing quietly from our time.

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