Battle of Britain Memorial Flight commemorate 80th anniversary of Op Chastise
The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) are preparing to commemorate the 80th anniversary of Operation Chastise, commonly known as the Dambusters Raid, which took place in May 1943.
Op Chastise was an attack on the German Dams, taking place during the night on the 16th - 17th May 1943, where 617 Squadron of the Royal Air Force (RAF) carried out the raid which involved 133 aircrew and 19 Lancaster Bomber aircraft.
The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, based at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire, continue to maintain a number of historic war time aircraft in airworthy condition in order to commemorate those who have fallen in the service of this country. On the evening of the 16th of May 2023, the BBMF Lancaster will be flying a special route over all Bomber Command bases in Lincolnshire to commemorate the anniversary of the raid.
Speaking about the plans to commemorate the anniversary, the Flight Lieutenant Giles Croft, BBMF Operations Officer said:
"We are working hard to produce an achievable plan that allows us to showcase the Lancaster, commemorate the unsung heroes of Bomber Command and also incorporate the tasking we already had for the evening of 16 May. At this stage, the Lancaster sortie for that evening includes 34 flypast locations which is far more than we would normally plan in a single sortie. We will try to "make up the time" by reducing most events to a single overflight so that we can meet our fixed time over the RAF Museum in Hendon but still manage a tour of the Lincolnshire Bomber Command Airfields prior to landing before sunset. I personally can't wait to see our Lancaster over her home turf, against the same backdrop she would have had in the 1940s; I just hope that backdrop is clear evening skies with less than 15kts crosswind!"
BBMF Lancaster Locations before the Lincolnshire fly overs:
• 16 May - BBMF Lancaster - Maidwell, Northamptonshire - between 5.22 & 5.52pm
• 16 May - BBMF Lancaster - Colindale, Hendon, London - between 5.46 & 6.16pm
• 16 May - BBMF Lancaster - High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire - between 5.57 & 6.27pm
• 16 May - BBMF Lancaster - RAF Halton, Buckinghamshire - between 6.03 & 6.33pm
• 16 May - BBMF Lancaster - Wyton AD, Cambridgeshire - between 6.22 & 6.52pm
The timings for the Lincolnshire fly overs are as follows:
01 • Spitalgate, Lincolnshire - 18:58
02 • Fulbeck, Lincolnshire - 19:02
03 • Swinderby, Lincolnshire - 19:04
04 • RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire - 19:07
05 • Lincoln- IBCC, Lincolnshire - 19:08
06 • Skellingthorpe, Lincolnshire - 19:12
07 • Scampton, Lincolnshire - 19:15
08 • Dunholme, Lincolnshire - 19:16
09 • Wickenby, Lincolnshire - 19:18
10 • Faldingworth, Lincolnshire - 19:19
11 • Ingham, Lincolnshire - 19:21
12 • Hemswell Cliff, Lincolnshire - 19:22
13 • Blyton, Lincolnshire - 19:24
14 • Elsham Wolds, Lincolnshire - 19:30
15 • Kirmington, Lincolnshire - 19:31
16 • North Killingholme, Lincolnshire - 19:32
17 • Grimsby, Lincolnshire - 19:37
18 • Binbrook, Lincolnshire - 19:39
19 • Ludford, Lincolnshire - 19:41
20 • Kelstern, Lincolnshire - 19:42
21 • Strubby, Lincolnshire - 19:47
22 • Spilsby, Lincolnshire - 19:51
23 • East Kirkby, Lincolnshire - 19:53
24 • Bardney, Lincolnshire - 19:58
25 • Fiskerton, Lincolnshire - 20:00
26 • Metheringham, Lincolnshire - 20:03
27 • Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire - 20:05
28 • RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire - 20:07
The plans to commemorate the anniversary will be subject to weather and serviceability caveats due to the nature of operating historic aircraft, and the timings published may be subject to change.
Squadron Leader Mark Sugden, Officer Commanding the BBMF said:
"The Dambusters raid was one of the most audacious raids in the history of the Royal Air Force"
• Royal Air Force News.