Dam Busters

The beam of light shines on the water so calm.

The German people are all in bed sleeping, thinking of when they will be at peace. Will Hitler deliver? Will Germany take Great Britain?

The faint sound of a aircraft engine echoes through the mountains of the Mohne reservoir, east of Dortmand.

The BMW 850 GS rolls into the dark forest, fully loaded with my kit for the four day journey in Germany.

We came to the dam to see for ourselves the vast scale, and to appreciate the task it was for the huge aircraft flown by young men in their teens to drop the Bouncing Bomb on the dam.

We settled next to the dam, lit a fire and made a mug of tea. Tired and exhausted, I could not help thinking what it must’ve been like flying a plane at night, taking off not knowing if your plane would make it there, complete the mission and get back safely.

I walked out and stood on the road that ran alongside the dam. Lighting up a cigarette, I leant over the wall looking into the dark water. The reflections told the story of how a man in England would invent a Bouncing Bomb that would burst the dam.

1600 German civilians, 600 German and 1000 Russian labourers died in the attack, but the factory was up and running again after flooding by September the same year.

Looking up, I could imagine the massive Lancaster Bomber flying low between the hills, with limited movement. When you stand in a place you know was a part of history, it brings it all back.

We started out the next day and made our way to the resting place of the seven crew of one of the planes of 617 Sqn that was hit by anti-aircraft fire and crashed killing all the crew.

They are together in peace in Bergen General Cemetery.

Written by

I am 63 years old and and since a boy have had an interest in wildlife and in particular birds. I help my Dad with the rearing of young finches and other birds. I had many small birds as pets and as i got older and joined the Military i purchsed my first Camera, and fold out Kodak. Over a 22 year period i enjoyed many countries outside the uk and observed many species of birds. When i left the military in 2000, i bought my first digital camera a Canon 450D with a Tamron 70-300 and started my journey on capturing images of birds and animals. I quickly learned that there was a lot more to getting a good image of a bird, so i started to research the best settings for my camera in order to capture a better image. Over a 12 month period i realised that needed to invest in a better camera and lens and after research bought a Canon 50D and a 100-400 Lens. It was 2013 when i really got to grips with the setup and came across a lovely Short Eared Owl. From that meeting i started to concentrate on Owls as they fasinated me. From Canon to Olympus i recently jumped ship again to Sony. The variety of birds i have captured over a 10 year period is vast and at present i have a wildlife hide in lancashire where most of my images are captured.

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