DAMBUSTERS – THE LAST MOMENTS OF THE MÖHNE DAM
by Robert Taylor
Overall Print Size: 28" x 27"
Edition Size: 275
The largest dam in Europe, the fortress-like walls of Möhne held back nearly 140 million cubic meters of water essential to the industry and factories of the Ruhr. The Air Ministry had long ago decided that if the Möhne dam, and the two other major Ruhr dams – the Eder and Sorpe – were destroyed, it could deliver a massive blow to the Nazi war machine. But cracking open the mighty dams would require exceptional flying skills; and so, on 21 March 1943, a new squadron was formed specifically for the task, the only time this ever happened in Bomber Command. Known as 617 Squadron and led by Wing Commander Guy Gibson, it was not only the squadron that was unique, so was the weapon they would be using – Upkeep – a cylindrical, hydrostatic ‘bouncing’ bomb. The brainchild of Barnes Wallis, Upkeep was designed to skip across the surface of the water, sink against the dam’s massive wall, and explode with enormous force at a precise depth.
"DAMBUSTERS – THE LAST MOMENTS OF THE MÖHNE DAM" portrays the unfolding drama played out in those early hours of 17 May 1943. Guy Gibson and Mick Martin have both made successful runs, and 'Hoppy' Hopgood, hit by the flak, has crashed in flames. The dam wall, however, has held firm. Now it was the turn of Melvin 'Dinghy' Young in Lancaster AJ-A. In this vividly accurate scene, Gibson and Martin help draw the enemy’s fire as 'Dinghy' Young clears the dam's parapet seconds after releasing his bomb. A few moments later Young's bomb successfully detonated against the dam and deep groans rumbled through the granite wall as the shock ripped through it; under such stress the mighty blocks were imperceptibly shifting. The dam was mortally wounded.
Planned and created some years ago, the truly historic limited edition "DAMBUSTERS – THE LAST MOMENTS OF THE MÖHNE DAM" was personally signed by all of the living survivors of the Dambuster raid in preparation for the 70th Anniversary of Operation Chastise. Sadly some have passed away since signing the edition giving even greater meaning to this commemorative release. This is the last time that many of these heroic veterans' signatures will be found together on such a magnificent example of aviation art, providing connoisseurs with a historic and valuable future collectors' piece. In addition to the artist, this beautiful print was individually signed in pencil by these FIVE survivors of the Dambuster Raid:
- Squadron Leader GEORGE L. JOHNSON (DFM RAF - served as Bomb Aimer on Joe McCarthy's Lancaster AJ-T which attacked the Sorpe Dam)
- Corporal KENNETH LUCAS (RAF - served as Ground Crew for 617 Squadron carrying out the special modifications to the Lancasters before the raid)
- Sergeant FREDERICK E. SUTHERLAND (RCAF - served as front gunner on Les Knight's Lancaster AJ-N which breached the Eder Dam)
- Flight Sergeant GRANT S. McDONALD (RCAF - served as rear gunner on Lancaster AJ-F flown by Ken Brown)
- Squadron Leader LES MUNRO (DSO DFC RNZAF - pilot of Lancaster AJ-W assigned to attack the Sorpe Dam)
Comes with a Certificate of Authenticity.