As you will have seen from previous web posts we were looking for somewhere to put on our Dambusters-themed display. When we first decided to do the display, originally developed for a consumer fireworks competition back in 2011, we couldn’t have dreamed where we would end up.
On Saturday 18th May we put on the display at the 617 Squadron Association’s dinner to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Operation Chastise. The audience included two veterans of the 1943 raid and after the display was over we were privileged to be introduced to one of them. The display was described as a “fantastic and fitting tribute to the Dambusters” by the Association.
The display took place at the Petwood Hotel in Lincolnshire which served as the Squadron’s Officers’ mess between 1943-45. Requisitioned by the RAF in 1942, originally Officers of 97 and 619 Squadrons were based at the Petwood. When it was decided that the 617 ‘Dambusters Squadron’ should be made into a special duties squadron which would work in isolation and secrecy, Woodhall airfield was selected as the operational base. So 619 Squadron was moved out of the Petwood and 617 Squadron was moved in. Today, the Squadron Bar hosts a range of memorabilia and tributes to Guy Gibson VC, Leonard Cheshire VC and their Officers.
A video of the display can be seen below along with some photos. Various members of the Knights of Fire team had family who served in the air services during the second world war and they are now lost to us but the memories are very much still there. Our greatest thanks to both 617 Squadron Association and the Petwood Hotel for letting us be (a small) part of their day.
The display was designed by Nick with Kevin developing a truly outstanding musical tribute.
If you like the video or have been moved by the recent commemoration of Operation Chastise then please consider making a donation to the RAF Benevolent Fund.