Experience day

Win a fantastic Experience Day at the BBMF

Header image: A previous winner of the BBMF Experience Day prize, Neil Ashworth, and his guests chat with Spitfire pilot, Sqn Ldr Mark ‘Disco’ Discombe, after he had landed from a sortie in Spitfire IIa P7350. (All photos: Clive Rowley)

The RAF Memorial Flight Official Club's ballot prize for March is a fantastic, ‘money cannot buy it’, chance of a lifetime for Club members to win an Experience Day with the BBMF at RAF Coningsby.

Attack on Sorpe Dam poster

‘Attack on Sorpe Dam’ – New film screening

Header image: A scene from the new film ‘Attack on Sorpe Dam’, with George “Johnny” Johnson, the Lancaster bomb aimer and the film narrator. (Publicity stills courtesy of Piotr Forkasiewicz)

A new film by producers Andrew Panton and Piotr Forkasiewicz is set to premiered in May to coincide with the 80th anniversary of the famous ‘Dams Raid’. ‘Attack on Sorpe Dam’ is narrated by George “Johnny” Johnson who, as a young 21-year-old Lancaster bomb aimer, was part of a 617 Squadron ‘Dambusters’ crew which attacked the dam on the night of 16-17th May 1943. Johnny provides a first-hand account of his story, from joining 617 Squadron for a top secret, special operation that has the potential to shorten the war in Europe, the dangerous low flying training and events leading up to the operation, the attack on the Sorpe dam and the devastating aftermath of the Dambuster’s operation.

Wellington with 427 sqn badge

12th March 1943 – Bomber Command bravery

Header image: In March 1943, Vickers Wellingtons like this Mk X were still in frontline use and 427 Sqn RCAF flew them during the initial stages of the Battle of the Ruhr.

Eighty years ago, in March 1943, RAF Bomber Command’s campaign against the German war factories in the Ruhr Valley intensified into what became known as the Battle of the Ruhr. The five-month campaign saw concentrated attacks against the heavy German industrial targets in the Ruhr, which included armament factories, coke plants, steel works and synthetic oil plants. The area was heavily defended with searchlight belts and 400 batteries of heavy ‘flak’, some radar controlled – the Bomber Command crews referred to it as “Happy Valley” – and the routes to and from the target area were patrolled by the Luftwaffe’s numerous night-fighters. During the campaign Bomber Command made 43 raids on 39 nights against targets in the Ruhr, with considerable success but at great cost. Some 900 bombers and 6,000 aircrew – 4.7 percent of the attacking force – were lost over enemy-occupied territory. In total, around 1,000 Bomber Command aircraft were lost to all causes and over 2,000 were damaged during the campaign.


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