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Thread: Last Dambuster TV programme

  1. #1
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    Last Dambuster TV programme

    After a premature thread just after the dig, here are some photos of the excavation of ED825G. It was McCarthy's aircraft on the raid and his bomb aimer George Johnson attended the dig and talked us through the attack in front of a model of the dam. The only large piece uncovered was the ventral Vickers K mount, a very fortunate discovery. A wheel from the mid upper taboo rail also came out, proving the aircraft was refitted with a turret. It was a fascinating weekend and I hope the TV programme does it justice.
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    Last edited by ian_; 4th June 2010 at 20:09.

  2. #2
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    The only large piece uncovered was the ventral Vickers K mount
    I take it that's the piece lying in the grass in the second photo?

    Any idea as to what sources identified the piece, e.g. are there any contemporary drawings or photos to i.d. it with?
    jumble 'til I crumble!

  3. #3
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    Any idea when it will be aired?

    Ken.

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    Tuesday June 17th, Ch 5, at 8pm.

    There might be some merit in merging what are now three threads on same topic?
    http://andysaunders.tumblr.com/


    German Embassy on WW1 commemorations: 'We would prefer not to have any celebrations, having lost.' Well, yes.

  5. #5
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    The attached photo of the mount isn't exactly conclusive but there are a couple of drawings extant of the ventral mount, which the wreckage compared with well. ED825 was photographed extensively at Boscombe Down before the raid and the Vickers K is visible in a couple of the shots. Other bits shown are the face of a crew position oxygen gauge, an escape compass and a section of flak damaged skinning. The Lanc was lost dropping supplies to the resistance and there were many cooked off 9mm rounds and grenade remains. There were also a number of fired .303 rounds, so ED825 did not go down without a fight.

    The programme is on Tuesday 17th June, 8pm, Channel 5.
    Last edited by ian_; 16th June 2011 at 17:59.

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    Lots more info on Simon Parry's Red kite site. Link here:
    http://www.redkitebooks.co.uk/aa/ex0...r_Doulens.html

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    Thanks for the extra info regarding the gun mounting.

    The photo appears in one of Harry Holmes' books on the Lancaster, but he doesn't identify it as the type intended for the Upkeep aircraft, so I've always wondered about it.

    As you say, there are certainly some similarities.

    I'm spending part of next week at The National Archives and will hopefully return with oodles of info on Lancaster modifications. Who knows what will turn up in some of the more obscure stuff I hope to get access to?
    jumble 'til I crumble!

  8. #8
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    You're right Air Ministry, From Harry Holmes 'Definitive Record'. It would be interesting if you could find any more 464 provisioning photos. The published record is pretty scant. As an aside, a work colleage's father was a ventral gunner on Lancs late in the war. His log book mentions manning a .5 Browning.

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    *BUMP*

    Just a reminder, folks!

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    I thought it was an excellent programme..well made, seriously presented and thoughtful. George Johnson is a star. I usually approach these TV reconstructions with trepidation, but this one was very good indeed...a credit to all involved.

  11. #11
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    Absolutely marvelous..

    Thank you Mr Johnson for sharing with the nation your views of then and now.

    I think a big thank you to all involved is deserved as it came across very well.

    Brian.
    Tact is the knack of making a point without making an enemy.

  12. #12
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    I thought it was good.

    Was it just coincidence that Stephen Fry was narrator???

    Roger Smith.
    A Blenheim, Beaufighter and Beaufort - together in one Museum. Who'd have thought that possible in 1967?

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    It really was an excellent programme. The pace was not too hurried and Mr johnson was given plenty of time to be heard. Apparently Stephen Fry has a great interest in the Dambusters and jumped at the chance to narrate. It's a pity the whole series doesn't cover similar ground.

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    Well, I've just watched "The Last Dambuster" and I was pleasantly surprised.
    Quite well made, I thought.

    I was particularly interested with Mr Johnson's take on the events 65 years ago, and rather moved when he visited the crash sites of his comrades' aircraft.

    Well done, Channel 5, and a huge "Thank you" to Mr Johnson.

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    I think they did quite well in not over doing it. It was certainly better than the last few such programmes I have seen.

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    Agree with all that is said above.

    I watched the first few moments cranky CGI and feared the worst, but the programme just got better and better after that.

    Mr Johnson and all the Germans came over well, very well.

    Moggy
    "What you must remember" Flip said "is that nine-tenths of Cattermole's charm lies beneath the surface." Many agreed.

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    One point arising from the programme. The claim was made that the ventral Vickers "K" gun was only fitted to this one particular Lancaster. I thought this gun was fitted to every "Upkeep" Lanc? The 1976 Tamiya kit of the Dambusters Lanc features this gun.

    On a related issue - any news on the "Dambusters" remake ? I notice on IMDB that the film is now due to come out in 2010 not 2008. Has the filming been put back two years?


    Colin

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    Hello,

    As to any updates regarding the remake, the security in preventing leaks in regards to the real raid, is nothing compared to the lack of updates regarding filming of the remake!

    Last I could find was this:

    http://www.thisislincolnshire.co.uk/...=sidebarsearch

    Cheers

    633

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    Quote Originally Posted by colin.barron View Post
    One point arising from the programme. The claim was made that the ventral Vickers "K" gun was only fitted to this one particular Lancaster.

    Colin
    I was also a bit sceptical about this statement!!But i am sure somebody on here will be able to give us a definitive 'definite maybe' answer about it
    Other than that I enjoyed the programme,quite well made.

    cheers baz

  20. #20
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    An excellent programme, and very moving at the end after he had met the locals. He was a fantastic character, a little frail but mentally very agile. He was obviously becoming more uncomfortable throughout the programme with the consequences of what they had achieved with regard to the deaths, not only amongst the local population but of the aircrew taking part. He didn't show his emotions on the surface, but they were obviously bubbling away underneath.

    It was interesting to see that his mission involved flying along the crest of the dam, the Upkeep being used in a conventional way, I couldn't see the point of that, couldn't it have bounced off the ground in any direction. I assume that had the other Lancasters arrived, that the same technique would have been used, it left me very puzzled, but what do I know.

    Another question, when were the dams finally repaired, presumably as soon as possible, I don't understand why 617 didn't go back later in the war and finish the job with Tallboys or Grand Slams, out of pride if not for any other reason. It would have been a little safer to have used these earthquake inducing bombs dropped from a great height, obviously they were in short supply and needed for more pressing missions such as La Coupole and the Tirpitz, but I'm sure it would have affected the German morale no end.

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    Using Upkeep on the Sorpe was always going to be a compromise, and not a very good one at that- poor planning there, I reckon.

    Anyway, a good programme, spoilt only by the naff CG- here's hoping it's better in the movie remake!

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    I enjoyed the programme very much. It was nice that so much of it was given over to the views of those who were there but I was a little saddened how the views of George Johnson were changed by his meetings with former enemies and his visits to the various sites.

    The documentary had the modern ‘light’ feel about it but that is the reality of time and money pressures I’m sure. If those are the conditions under which these documentaries get made it, is better that they are made than way than not made at all.

    The attitude of the German contributors was most interesting also, particularly the German couple who tended the memorial at the crash site of that Lancaster (Astell’s aircraft?) lost on the Dams Raid.

    The ‘recently discovered’ photo of damage to the Sorpe Dam was a bit strange as it looked like a huge crater in the earth at the back of the dam and the only other post-raid photo I’ve seen just showed evidence of water being ‘washed’ over the dam by the mine exploding in the water.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete Truman View Post
    I don't understand why 617 didn't go back later in the war and finish the job with Tallboys or Grand Slams...
    As for attacking the Sorpe later in the war with a Tallboy wasn’t this done by number 9 Squadron on 15th October 1944?

    Possibly the ‘recently discovered’ photo shows damage from this raid?
    WA$.

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    Quote Originally Posted by colin.barron View Post
    One point arising from the programme. The claim was made that the ventral Vickers "K" gun was only fitted to this one particular Lancaster. I thought this gun was fitted to every "Upkeep" Lanc? The 1976 Tamiya kit of the Dambusters Lanc features this gun.
    The ventral gun was fitted to the prototypes but not to the aircraft earmarked for the raid itself. ED825 only flew that night because of technical problems with another aircraft (Hence the crew's delayed departure from Scampton). It was therefore the only Lancaster that flew during the mission to be fitted with the ventral gun.

    I also enjoyed the programme and found the meetings between Johnson and the locals who were there at the time quite moving - especially the man who shot down one of the Lancasters that night, and the couple who maintain the memorial. The whole trip must have been very emotional for those involved.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Creaking Door View Post
    I enjoyed the programme very much. It was nice that so much of it was given over to the views of those who were there but I was a little saddened how the views of George Johnson were changed by his meetings with former enemies and his visits to the various sites

    Isn't time a healer and the future a moment for reflection on things past. How can you be saddened by his change of mind, isn't that the best way to be, isn't it a good thing that this lovely old boy is capable of thinking that way and won't shuffle off this mortal coil full of hatred for his enemies of 60 years ago.
    My old man fought some horrendously savage battles with the Germans, but did he hate them afterwards, no way and wer'e talking about the immediate aftermath here.
    When I took him back to the 50th anniversary of D-Day, he was disgusted that the Germans weren't represented in any shape or form, he made a point of walking through the Allied Cemeteries and paying his respects to the German dead that were inevitably tucked away in the corner.
    Is this attitude unique amongst the old boys, I wouldn't like to say, each one must have had his own experiences, some of them must have been very traumatic which they no doubt find it difficult to forget.
    Lets appreciate those that can and respect them greatly for that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete Truman View Post
    How can you be saddened by his change of mind, isn't that the best way to be, isn't it a good thing that this lovely old boy is capable of thinking that way and won't shuffle off this mortal coil full of hatred for his enemies of 60 years ago.
    I couldn’t agree more. It is always fascinating to me to see the way that old enemies often have a common bond because of the, usually terrible, events that they lived through and that this bond seems to overcome any former animosity.

    What I actually meant was that before meeting the German contributors and visiting (or revisiting) the sites of conflict he had been a staunch defender of the effects of the raid, the effect on wartime production in Germany, and the positive effect on British morale, and he felt that the raid was justified and that the many lives lost (on all sides) had not been lost in vain.

    As the programme went on he seemed less sure that this had been the case.....and that in itself takes a different kind of bravery.
    WA$.

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    Interesting point about the ventral machine gun. I have a Keith Broomfield print signed by AVM Sir Arthur Harris and 16 of the original crews, which depicts AJ-G and it shows the ventral gun. Artistic licence perhaps?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lancman View Post
    Using Upkeep on the Sorpe was always going to be a compromise, and not a very good one at that- poor planning there, I reckon.

    Anyway, a good programme, spoilt only by the naff CG- here's hoping it's better in the movie remake!

    I saw a programme some years ago about the Sorpe Dam, because it was basically an earth bank wider at the base, it is now considered the bombs would not have been able to breach it had they all been dropped, the Mohne Dam was a concrete construction and more brittle.

  28. #28
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    I thoroughly enjoyed the program, found it very humbling to hear the thoughts of George Johnsonn.

    I did fill with pride when he pushed the pylon that claimed one of his Sqn's aircraft, saying "You bitch!" as he did so.

    I was very happy with the way it was made, telling the story from his point of view in his words, without someone constantly asking interview like questions.

    I was also humbled by the way he changed through the program after visiting the dams and meeting the German survivors and the people who maintained the memorial at the crash site. They greeted each other like long lost friends or loved ones, not like the enemies they were some 65 years ago.

    Well done Channel 5, more programs like this please!
    "If you kick a Tiger in the ass, you'd better have a plan to deal with it's teeth!"

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    I've just found out that it is to be repeated on Channel 5 on Sat eve at 18.15 to 19.05.
    I think I'll put a seperate HU out for people who may not come back to this thread.

    Roger Smith.
    A Blenheim, Beaufighter and Beaufort - together in one Museum. Who'd have thought that possible in 1967?

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    Sorpe Dam

    Quote Originally Posted by Junk Collector View Post
    I saw a programme some years ago about the Sorpe Dam, because it was basically an earth bank wider at the base, it is now considered the bombs would not have been able to breach it had they all been dropped, the Mohne Dam was a concrete construction and more brittle.
    The Air Staff produced a report in April 1943- "Economic & Moral Consequences of the Destruction of German Dams". Here's a few extracts from the Economic Effects;
    "The destruction of this dam (Mohne) would not necessarily have any large or immediate effect on the supply of industrial & household water in the Ruhr region".
    "The Sorpe dam is essentially complementary to the Mohne dam & its simultaneous or subsequent destruction would reinforce the effects of the destruction of the Mohne dam......For this reason the destruction of both dams would be worth much more than twice the destruction of one & it is most strongly urged, if operational possibilities hold out any reasonable prospect of success, that an attack on the Mohne dam be accompanied, or followed as soon as possible, by an attack on the Sorpe dam".

    Here I suggest is the reason for using Upkeep in a manner for which it was not designed. See: After the Battle book - "The Dams Raid - Through the Lens" from which I have quoted.

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