On 26 February 1943 – 75 years ago today – the Royal Air Force's most daring operation of the Second World War, Operation Chastise was given final approval by the Air Ministry. This later became known as the legendary Dambusters Raid.
To launch the 75th anniversary of the raid a 23ft original Lancaster Bomber cockpit was displayed outside the Royal Albert Hall alongside presenter Dan Snow, Sir Barnes Wallis' grandson Jonathan Stopes-Roe, historian and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Barnes Wallis Foundation, Paul Beaver and re-enactors in Second World War RAF uniform.
On 17 May 2018 The Dam Busters with Dan Snow will commemorate the iconic raid itself – 75 years to the day.
Dan Snow will reflect on the work of the mastermind behind the operation, Sir Barnes Wallis, whose bouncing bomb was carried by 19 Lancasters for the attack on the dams of Germany's Ruhr valley. The event will also pay tribute to Wing Commander Guy Gibson and his comrades of 617 Squadron.
Families of crew members, including those of Guy Gibson, will remember the raid's legacy while a large screen will show never before seen images of the Dam Busters and unreleased memoirs from the film's director, Michael Anderson.
An on-stage bouncing bomb experiment will show how Sir Barnes Wallis realised his invention and music from the Glenn Miller Orchestra will transport audiences back in time while honouring those who perished on both sides of the war.
The first half of the evening will be simulcast to cinemas nationwide between 7.15pm and 8.15pm, before a screening of The Dam Busters starring Sir Michael Redgrave and Richard Todd in stunning 4K. At the Royal Albert Hall the film will be shown on a huge 40ft screen. The event supports the RAF Benevolent Fund.
Directed by Michael Anderson and starring Richard Todd as Wing Commander Guy Gibson and Sir Michael Redgrave as scientist and engineer Dr Barnes Wallis, the 1955 film The Dam Busters is regarded as a timeless British classic.
The film captures all the thrilling action and suspense of the magnificent exploits of a group of young pilots and their crews, charged with taking out the supposedly impenetrable Ruhr river dams of Germany with an ingeniously designed bouncing bomb.
On the film's lasting legacy, director Michael Anderson, who recently marked his 98th birthday recalls: "The great George Lucas, while preparing Star Wars, would run the film time and time again to watch the low flying sequences, and would be inspired by them."