On the night of 16/17 May 1943 nineteen specially modified Lancasters of 617 Squadron departed from RAF Scampton on one of the most secret and daring bombing operations undertaken during World War II
The ultra-secret operation to destroy the huge hydro-electric dams that powered a significant part of Germany’s industrial war machine in the Ruhr valley, codenamed Operation Chastise, had been planned in stealth for months. Using a revolutionary 10-ton ‘bouncing bomb’ developed by the brilliant designer Barnes Wallis, a special squadron comprised of the most talented crews that RAF Bomber Command could muster would be formed to attack primarily the Möhne, Eder and Sorpe Dams.
Using highly modified Lancaster bombers to carry the secret bomb, Operation Chastise was to become one of the most dangerous precision bombing raids ever undertaken, and Robert Taylor astutely captures all the atmosphere in his drawing Bomb Away!, the latest addition to his highly acclaimed Graphite Collection.
At 00.38 hrs the attack on the Möhne Dam is already well underway. The commander of 617 Squadron and leader of the raid, Wing Commander Guy Gibson, had made the first successful attack, but the dam wall had held. And then tragedy had struck as Flight Lieutenant Hopgood’s Lancaster, hit by flak during his attack, had exploded in a ball of flame.
Gibson called in Flight Lieutenant Mick Martin to make the third assault and Robert Taylor captures this moment with graphic precision. As enemy flak and tracer illuminate the night sky, Guy Gibson boldly attempts to draw the enemy’s fire as Martin holds Lancaster AJ-P steady at 60ft above the waters of the Möhne Dam to release the cylindrical, bouncing bomb and send it spinning towards the dam wall. In a few moments a huge explosion will erupt up in to the night sky as the hydrostatic bomb detonates against the mighty granite walls. Once again, though, the Möhne dam held, but not for long.
THE LIMITED EDITION
Each print in every edition of BOMB AWAY is signed by SIX distinguished veterans who were part of Operation Chastise on the night of 16/17 May 1943:
Sergeant RAY GRAYSTON
Squadron Leader GEORGE JOHNSON MBE DFM
Corporal KEN LUCAS
Flight Sergeant GRANT MCDONALD
Squadron Leader LES MUNRO CNZM DSO QSO DFC
Sergeant FRED SUTHERLAND
THE PUBLISHER PROOFS EDITION
The unique NINE signature piece includes all of the signatures of the Limited Edition, but have also been beautifully conservation matted to include the extra original signatures of two further Dambuster aircrew together with an instrumental figure in the success of the bouncing bomb:
Flight Lieutenant EDWARD JOHNSON DFC
Flight Lieutenant GEORGE CHALMERS DFC DFM
Draughtsman NORMAN “SPUD” BOORER OBE (COMPANION)
Overall Matted Size: 25 ½” x 22 ¾”