I actually set out to write about John Nichol’s book:
After the Flood
What the Dambusters did next
By John Nichol
Published by William Collins; Dist. by Harper Collins
RRP $29.99 in paperback ISBN 9780008100841
And then I discovered that the book arose from John Nichol’s involvement with the TV documentary What the Dambusters Did Next.
(John Nichol, incidentally, was a navigator with the RAF and he was shot down over Iraq in the first gulf war and taken prisoner by Saddam Hussein’s henchmen.)
So having read that tidbit about the documentary in the acknowledgements to the book, I then thought – well, what’s this documentary about and has it been shown in Australia?
So getting completely sidetracked from the book, I found the full documentary on YouTube (see here) – but a warning, it’s 1 hour 7 minutes long so make sure you’re comfortable when you start. If you’re planning to watch it at work just turn down the audio or put on ear phones.
About the book: On the 17th May 1943, 133 airmen set out in 19 Lancasters to destroy the Möhne, Eder and Sorpe dams. 56 of them did not return. Despite these catastrophic losses, the raid became an enormous propaganda triumph. The survivors were feted as heroes and became celebrities of their time.
They had been brought together for one specific task – so what happened next? Of the 77 men who made it home from that raid, 32 would lose their lives later in the war and only 45 survived to see the victory for which they fought.
Few are aware of the extent of the Dambuster squadron’s operations after the Dams Raid. They became the ‘go to’ squadron for specialist precision attacks, dropping the largest bombs ever built on battleships, railway bridges, secret weapon establishments, rockets sites and U-boat construction pens. They were involved in attempts on the lives of enemy leaders, both Hitler and Mussolini, created a ‘false fleet’ on D-day which fooled the Germans, and knocked out a German super gun which would have rained 600 shells an hour on London.
So, here’s a treat for you: an excellent book and an excellent TV documentary. The lawnmowing can wait!