DAMBUSTERS' Memorial, Woodhall Spa

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DAMBUSTERS’ Memorial, Woodhall Spa

The Dambusters Memorial in Woodhall Spa commemorates members of 617 Squadron Royal Air Force who lost their lives in World War Two.

617 Squadron was formed at RAF Scampton in 1943, specifically for attacking dams in the Ruhr Valley using the ‘bouncing bomb’ designed by Barnes Wallis.  The Dams Raid, Operation Chastise, took place over the night of 16/17 May 1943 and was led by Wing Commander Guy Gibson (1918-44) flying modified Lancaster bombers. Two dams were breached, the Möhne and the Eder, at a cost of eight Lancasters, with fifty-three of the participating crew being killed and three becoming POWs.  The raid also killed an estimated 1600 German civilians and Russian POWs.

617 had a distinguished record after the Dams Raid, which included precision bombing based on targets being marked by low-level flying Mosquito aircraft.  From RAF Woodhall Spa, 617 Squadron began dropping the 12,000lb Tallboy and, later, 22,000lb Grand Slam bombs. The squadron also supported D-Day by the precision dropping of ‘window’ to spoof enemy radar. Between them, IX and 617 Squadrons, both employing Tallboys, sank the German pocket battleship Tirpitz.

The memorial at Woodhall Spa was erected in 1987 on the site of the former Royal Hydro Hotel and Winter Gardens which were destroyed in a Luftwaffe bombing raid in 1943. Shaped to depict a dam the memorial features a slate slab which represents water flooding through a breach, upon which the Squadron's crest and battle honours are engraved. It commemorates 204 aircrew of 617 Squadron who died in the Second World War.

A newer memorial to 617 Squadron in Royal Square commemorates members of the Squadron who have lost their lives in service since World War Two.

Après moi le déluge.

Region/Nation
Location/Address
Royal Gardens
Woodhall Spa
East Lindsey
County
Lincolnshire
Post Code
LN10 6QL
Main Historic Period
Modern
Tip/Nearby
Woodhall Spa is a pleasant little place, worth exploring, and has a cottage museum. The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight is not far away.
Primary Management
Local Authority

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