In May 1943, aircraft from the 617 squadron of the Royal Air Force attacked and breached two large dams in the Ruhr Valley, Germany. This was done using the famous “bouncing bomb” developed by Barnes Wallis.
This memorial to the fallen members of the squadron (initially formed specifically for raid) includes the names of crew members from the eight Lancasters lost during the raid. Around 53 of the 133 crew members were killed. Many others died later in the war, when the squadron was used for highly specialized missions such as the sinking of the Tirpitz, a German battleship in 1944 and the destruction of the Bielefeld Viaduct in March 1945. The striking memorial is in the form of a stylized masonry dam complete with a breach in the middle represented by a single slab of carved slate. The names are listed on the memorial in alphabetical order without rank, but all decorations and honors are listed.
The RAF Woodhall Spa airbase was the last home of the squadron during World War II. The village still celebrates with pride its link to the squadron.