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Type : Lancaster
Last Flew : 10th December 1943
Known Codes :
|16th May 1943||Took part in the Dambuster raid and was the only aircraft of the second wave to reach the dams, attacking the Sorpe dam but failing to breach it. Returned safely. Crew : Flight Lieutenant Joseph Charles McCarthy (Pilot), Sergeant William Radcliffe (Flight Engineer), Flying Officer Donald Arthur MacLean (Navigator), Flight Sergeant Leonard Eaton (Wireless Operator), Sergeant George Leonard Johnson (Bomb Aimer), Sergeant Ronald Batson (Front Gunner), Flying Officer David Rodger (Rear Gunner).|
|May 1943||Joined No.617 Sqn with code AJ-T, with code AJ-E from June 1943.|
|10th December 1943||Shot down and crashed in France.|
|Pilots and Aircrew who flew : Lancaster ED825|
|A list of all aircrew from our database who are associated with this aircraft. A profile page is available by clicking their name.|
Click the name above to see a profile of Batson, Ronald
| Batson, Ronald |
He was Front Gunner of Lancaster ED825 AJ-T of No.617 Sqn for the Dambusters raid of 16th - 17th May 1943. His aircraft dropped its mine on the Sorpe dam, but it failed to breach. The aircraft returned safely.
Click the name above to see a profile of Eaton, Leonard
| Eaton, Leonard |
He was Wireless Operator of Lancaster ED825 AJ-T of No.617 Sqn for the Dambusters raid of 16th - 17th May 1943. His aircraft dropped its mine on the Sorpe dam, but it failed to breach. The aircraft returned safely.
|Johnson, George Leonard|
Click the name above to see a profile of Johnson, George Leonard
| Johnson, George Leonard |
Joining the RAF in 1940, George Johnson served with 97 Squadron before joining 617 Squadron. Bomb aimer on American Joe McCarthy’s Lancaster AJ-T, they attacked the Sorpe Dam, for which he was awarded the DFM. Commissioned a few months later, George retired from the RAF in 1962.
|MacLean, Donald Arthur|
Click the name above to see a profile of MacLean, Donald Arthur
| MacLean, Donald Arthur |
He was Navigator of Lancaster ED825 AJ-T of No.617 Sqn for the Dambusters raid of 16th - 17th May 1943. His aircraft dropped its mine on the Sorpe dam, but it failed to breach. The aircraft returned safely.
|McCarthy, Joseph Charles|
Click the name above to see a profile of McCarthy, Joseph Charles
| McCarthy, Joseph Charles |
In March 1943, a special Royal Air Force (RAF) unit, 617 Squadron, was created to try a new tactic--low altitude bombing using deep penetration bombs that weighed from 9,500 to 22,000 pounds. Their first targets were three dams in the Ruhr industrial area of western Germany: the Mohne, the Eder, and the Sorpe. These dams supplied water for Ruhr steel mills and hydroelectric power. Twenty Avro Lancaster bombers were specially modified for this mission to carry a new, rotating skip bomb that would bounce across the lake, sink, and then explode at the base of the dam. So secret was the dambusting mission, that the pilots and navigators were briefed only the day before as to the actual targets. The three dams were struck, and two were breached, on the night of 16 May 1943. "Joe " McCarthy, from Long Island, New York, was an original member of 617 Squadron. He joined the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) in 1941 and soon transferred with his crew to RAF Bomber Command. From 1941 until late 1944, he flew the Hampden, Manchester, Lancaster, and Mosquito bombers and compiled a total of 80 combat missions. As Officer Commanding, German Aircraft Flight, he tested and flew over 20 different German aircraft, which had been taken from captured German airfields back to Farnborough for extensive engineering evaluation. During this period, McCarthy flew the first British operational jet, the Meteor, and the experimental Windsor bomber. Upon returning to Edmonton, Canada, he continued flight testing a variety of aircraft for cold weather operations as well as the experimental Canadian flying wing. During 28 years in the RCAF, he flew 64 different British, American, German, and Canadian aircraft. Later assignments included base executive officer for an F-86 NATO installation in France; Commander, Flying Training School, RCAF Station Penhold, Canada; and Commanding Officer of the 407 Maritime Squadron, flying the P2V Neptune. From 1961 to 1962, he was Chief of Air Operations for the United Nations' forces in the Congo, and from 1963 to 1966, worked in plans and policy for CINCLANT/CINCLANTFLT. Wing Commander McCarthy's final assignment was as base operations officer for two maritime squadrons flying the Argus antisubmarine warfare aircraft in Nova Scotia. He retired from the RCAF in 1969 and, after a second career in real estate, fully retired in 1986. Passed away 6th September 1998.
Click the name above to see a profile of Radcliffe, William
| Radcliffe, William |
He was Flight Engineer of Lancaster ED825 AJ-T of No.617 Sqn for the Dambusters raid of 16th - 17th May 1943. His aircraft dropped its mine on the Sorpe dam, but it failed to breach. The aircraft returned safely.
Click the name above to see a profile of Rodger, David
| Rodger, David |
Born in Sault Ste marie, Ontario on February 23rd 1918, the son of a Scots carpenter, David Rodger was an avid collector of aeroplane magazines as a boy, that began his interest in flying. David Roger went to the local technical school, then worked for Algoma Steel while serving in the Canadian Militia. Rodger joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in October 1941 and trained as an air gunner before being commissioned as pilot officer, and then arriving in England in 1942. David Rodger converted to Lancaster bombers, and joined No 97 Squadron at Woodhall Spa near Lincoln, and it was here he teamed up with McCarthy. During their time with 97 squadron they attacked the main industrial cities on the Rhur and also Hamburg and Berlin. By the time they joined No 617 Squadron, they were recognised as an experienced crew. Rodger and McCarthy had already completed more than 20 bombing raids together when they were selected to join No 617 Squadron, forming at RAF Scampton in March 1943 under the command of Wing Commander Guy Gibson. David Rodger was the rear gunner in "Big Joe" McCarthy's Lancaster, which attacked the Sorpe Dam during Operation Chastise, the Dam Buster raid of May 16th 1943. On the night of the raid their aircraft was unservicable due to an engine problem, so they took the reserve aircraft which had been fitted with the upkeep bouncing bomb, but not had time to be fitted with the crucial spoptlights which were used to keep the aircraft at the height of 60 feet. As McCarthy took the bomber across the coast at 100ft, Rodger, in the rear turret, was soon in action trying to douse the searchlights before "having a lively exchange with a light flak gun". By the time they arrived at the Sorpe, McCarthy's men were the only survivors of the team charged with attacking the dam, which was shrouded in mist as they arrived. With a tall church spire on the approach and a hill to be avoided after the attack, McCarthy had great difficulty getting into position to drop the mine. The lack of the height-finding spotlights made the job almost impossible. The crew made nine dummy attacks before releasing their weapon accurately at last. But the force of the explosion was insufficient to breach the earth dam, and McCarthy and his men set course for base. After the success of the Dam raids 617 squadron now under the command of Wing Commander Leonard Cheshire specialised in the attack of pinpoint targets, and Cheshire and his four senior crews from the dam buster raid developed daring and accurate low-level target-marking techniques. Rodger was appointed the gunnery leader of the squadron in September. Rodger then attacked targets in Italy, and made pinpoint raids against viaducts and the huge concrete constructions associated with the V-1 rocket programme in the Pas de Calais. In addition to their marker role, the Lancasters of No 617 carried the massive 12,000-ton "Tallboy" bomb, which was used to devastating effect against V-sites and railway tunnels. During the night of June 5 1944, 16 Lancasters of No 617 carried out a unique operation, dropping a dense screen of "window" (foil strips) which advanced slowly across the Channel to simulate a large convoy of ships approaching the French coast between Boulogne and Le Havre, north of the real invasion area. After 14 months on No 617, McCarthy and his crew were finally rested in July 1944. Rodger, who had flown 50 bombing operations, including 24 with No 617, was awarded the DFC for "his calm resolution in the face of the heaviest opposition, which has been an inspiration to his crew". Rodger returned to Canada in September 1944, where he married, and was released from the RCAF the following year. He returned to work at Algoma Steel, where he became a superintendent. Always a keen outdoorsman, he loved fishing and played his last game of ice hockey at 84. David Rodger died on September 1st 2004 in Canada aged 86.
|Squadrons for : Lancaster ED825|
|A list of all squadrons known to have flown Lancaster ED825. A profile page is available by clicking the squadron name.|
No.617 Sqn RAF
Country : UK
Founded : 23rd March 1943
Apres mois, le deluge - After me, the flood
|No.617 Sqn RAF|
Full profile not yet available.
|Aircraft type : Lancaster|
|A profile page including a list of all art prints for the Lancaster is available by clicking the aircraft name.|
Manufacturer : Avro
Production Began : 1942
Retired : 1963
Number Built : 7377
The Avro Lancaster arose from the avro Manchester and the first prototype Lancaster was a converted Manchester with four engines. The Lancaster was first flown in January 1941, and started operations in March 1942. By March 1945 The Royal Air Force had 56 squadrons of Lancasters with the first squadron equipped being No.44 Squadron. During World War Two the Avro Lancaster flew 156,000 sorties and dropped 618,378 tonnes of bombs between 1942 and 1945. Lancaster Bomberss took part in the devastating round-the-clock raids on Hamburg during Air Marshall Harris' Operation Gomorrah in July 1943. Just 35 Lancasters completed more than 100 successful operations each, and 3,249 were lost in action. The most successful survivor completed 139 operations, and the Lancaster was scrapped after the war in 1947. A few Lancasters were converted into tankers and the two tanker aircraft were joined by another converted Lancaster and were used in the Berlin Airlift, achieving 757 tanker sorties. A famous Lancaster bombing raid was the 1943 mission, codenamed Operation Chastise, to destroy the dams of the Ruhr Valley. The operation was carried out by 617 Squadron in modified Mk IIIs carrying special drum shaped bouncing bombs designed by Barnes Wallis. Also famous was a series of Lancaster attacks using Tallboy bombs against the German battleship Tirpitz, which first disabled and later sank the ship. The Lancaster bomber was the basis of the new Avro Lincoln bomber, initially known as the Lancaster IV and Lancaster V. (Becoming Lincoln B1 and B2 respectively.) Their Lancastrian airliner was also based on the Lancaster but was not very successful. Other developments were the Avro York and the successful Shackleton which continued in airborne early warning service up to 1992.
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|RECENT UPDATES TO OUR AVIATION HISTORY DATABASES|
|Sergeant I H Norris added to aircrew database :|
On 4th July 1943 he was rear gunner in Stirling BK718 WP-M of No.90 Sqn when it was shot down and crashed near Cologne. He managed to escape from the doomed aircraft and parachute to the relative safety of captivity, reportedly 'through' his turret. The rest of the crew did not make it out of the aircraft and were killed. It is known that he visited at least some of the families of his lost crewmates some time after the war.
|New victory claim added : Fw190 claimed on 24th June 1943 by Stanislaw Brzeski of No.302 Sqn RAF|
|Updates made to Aircrew database for : Aircraftsman 1 Edwin Vick : First name updated (now Edwin), Service number updated (now 540323), Squadron service dates updated|
|Updates made to Aircrew database for : J. Badcock : Squadrons updated (added No.83 Sqn RAF), Squadron service dates updated|
|Updates made to Aircrew database for : Pilot Officer Jim Weston : Squadron service dates updated|
|Updates made to Airframes database for : Blenheim Z5877 : Airframe notes updated (added 10-02-1941 : Blenheim was shot down in the airfield circuit by a Ju88. )|
|Updates made to Aircrew database for : Flight Lieutenant P M H S Hunt : Squadrons updated (added No.12 Sqn RAAF), Squadron service dates updated|
|Updates made to Airframes database for : Whitley P5013 : Airframe notes updated (added 11-02-1941 : Whitley was unable to comply with diversion order and subsequently was abandoned at Hatfield Military Complex.)|
|D. N. Beal added to aircrew database.|
|Updates made to Airframes database for : Whitley P4981 : Aircrew updated|
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