Dambusters honoured at Lincoln Cathedral: The Church of England Newspaper, May 26, 2013, p 6. May 27, 2013Posted by geoconger in Church of England, Church of England Newspaper.
Tags: Dambusters, Guy Gibson, Lincoln Cathedral, RAF
Lincoln Cathedral played host last week to a Service of Commemoration and Thanksgiving for 617 Squadron, the “Dambusters”, on the 70th anniversary of the squadron’s raid on the Ruhr valley dams in Germany.
On the night of 16–17 May 1943 617 Squadron led by Wing Commander Guy Gibson, using a specially developed “bouncing bomb” invented by Barnes Wallis attacked and destroyed the Möhne and Edersee Dams. The flooding of the Ruhr Valley submerged factories and mines significantly impacting the German war effort.
A congregation of approximately 1,500, including 617 Squadron veterans Les Munro and Johnny Johnson, remembered in prayer the men of the squadron. The Dean of Lincoln, the Very Rev. Philip Buckler, in his opening prayer said, “We remember all who have served and still serve in that Squadron. We honour all who fight in the service of freedom.” He went on to add, “Today we especially pray for the Royal Air Force and all those who continue to work, often in immense danger, for justice and peace.”
In his sermon the RAF Chaplain-in-Chief, the Ven. Ray Pentland said the memory of 617 Squadron “stands to challenge our standards, our values of history.,
Laying the squadron’s standard on the cathedral’s altar he said, ” here then encapsulated in this material is the story of those who have gone before. It is their story but it is also your story; it is the Squadron’s heritage. Those who serve today tread in the footsteps of those we remember, celebrate and commemorate this day.”
Reading from the Funeral Oration of Pericles, Squadron Leader Duncan Mason, told the congregation: “Remember that posterity can only be for the free; that freedom is the sure possession of those alone who have the courage to defend it.”
At the conclusion of the service, two Tornados from 617 Squadron over flew the cathedral followed moments later by a lone Lancaster bomber in honour of their comrades’ sacrifices.