617 Squadron (Dambusters) history
RAF 617 Squadron Kings Crown Badge
© Air Historical Branch (RAF)
617 Squadron was formed at RAF Scampton on 17 March 1943. Under command of Wing Commander Guy Gibson they began an intensive training, mainly in low-flying (60 feet). Low-flying is necessary for an attack on the German Ruhr dams with a so-called "Bouncing Bom" (Upkeep), developed by the Aviation Engineer Barnes Wallis. The Möhne, Eder and Sorpe dams are the main targets. On 16 May 1943, Operation Chastise took off with nineteen modified AVRO Lancasters. In the night of 17 May 1943, the Möhne and the Eder dam were successfully destroyed. Eight Lancasters did not return, fifty three crew members were killed. During the war years this squadron has many specific precision operations, including the sinking of the German battleship Tirpitz with a Tallboy bomb.
After the war the Lancasters were replaced by the AVRO Lincoln, following those in 1952 with the English Electric Canberra. In December 1955 the squadron was disbanded and reformed on 1 May 1958 at RAF Scampton with the AVRO Vulcan, equipped with nuclear weapons. In December 1981 the squadron was disbanded and reformed in January 1983 at RAF Marham, and equipped with the Tornado. In 1993 there was a change in the role of 617 Squadron, in 1994 they are operational from RAF Lossiemouth. After various operations (invasion in Iraq), it was announced that in July 2013 - 617 Squadron will be the first operational Royal Air Force squadron to fly the new F-35B Lightning II. On 1 April 2014 the squadron was disbanded.
After a training in the United States, Beaufort, South Carolina; 617 Squadron was reformed on 23 March 2018 with the new F-35B Lightning II. In June 2018, 617 Squadron returned to England to RAF Marham (Norfolk) and consists of both Royal Air Force and Royal Navy personnel.
The 617 Squadron Netherlands Aircrew Memorial Foundation