Dambusters 75th Anniversary – Simon Weston in Conversation with George ‘Johnny’ Johnson MBE, Britain’s Last Remaining Dambuster

There were many important raids carried out by Allied crews against the Axis powers during World War II but few have captured the imagination of the public like Operation Chastise. Carried out by the specially formed No.617 Squadron flying the Avro Lancaster and led by Wing Commander Guy Gibson VC, DSO & Bar, DFC & Bar, the operation aimed to breach the Edersee, Möhne and Sorpe dams which would result in the catastrophic flooding of the strategically important Ruhr Valley.

In order to breach the dams, the Lancasters utilised the now famous “bouncing bomb” designed by the gifted engineer Barnes Wallis. As its name suggests, this weapon bounced on the surface of the water over the defensive torpedo nets the Germans had laid before hitting the dam wall. It then dropped down to the base of the dam where it exploded for maximum effectiveness. Deploying the weapon was extremely dangerous for the crews who had to fly at just 60ft above the water at the time of release or the weapon would fail. Afterwards, No.617 squadron would forever be remembered as “the dam busters”.

While historians continue to debate the success of the mission, few would deny the boost it gave to British and Allied morale in those dark days. May 16th 2018 marks the 75th anniversary of this incredible mission.


Filmed at the Royal Air Force Museum, Falklands War Veteran Simon Weston CBE talks with George ‘Johnny’ Johnson, the last remaining member of the dambusters about his experience during Operations Chastise.

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Wartime Wheels 2018 at Caldicot Castle

Held on May 6th – 7th, Wartime Wheels 2018 was the second year of the event at Caldicot Castle which replaced the previous and popular Fortress Wales events. Blessed with glorious weather, the event dwarfed last year in terms of displays and attendance.

All photos were taken on May 6th 2018
Photos: Tony Wilkins


 

News Round-up – April 26th 2018

Eurofighter Typhoon FGR.4 Brimstone

Here are some of the latest British military news stories making the headlines this past week.


General Defence News

Anzac Day 2018: How do Australia and New Zealand remember soldiers killed in combat?
(The Independent)

Special forces need to face scrutiny from parliament, say MPs
(The Guardian)

Business Secretary clears £8.1bn GKN takeover deal
(St Helens Star)

Red-faced US Navy Seal gets struck in a tree after embarrassing parachuting fail
(Cambridge News)

NATO helps Iraqi forces strengthen vehicle maintenance skills
(NATO HQ)


British Army News

British Army has lowest number of troops available for front-line action since World War 1
(Daily Mirror)

Call for Army veteran to get UK passport
(BBC News)

US, British Army Signal Soldiers exercise technical, tactical interoperability at Stoney Run
(DVIDS)

British Army continues search for robot tech
(Shephard Media)

British Army reveals more MIV details, including price tag
(Shephard Media)

Britain’s oldest army unit headed for Barryville
(The River Reporter)

British soldier ‘not justified’ in shooting dead pregnant teenager, inquest rules
(The Independent)


Royal Air Force News

Head Of The Air Force On Russia Threat And War Memorials Given Protection
(Forces Network)

British Typhoon aircraft return to Romania for air policing mission
(Romania-Insider.com)

RAF Sentinel R1 hunting IS again
(IHS Jane’s 360)

UK to invest £80m for new air command and control system
(Airforce Technology)

RAF 100: Queen Sends Message To RAF
(Forces Network)

Last ever Tornado jet flypast at RAF Marham’s Freedom of the Borough parade
(Norfolk Eastern Daily Press)

New facility for RAF’s P-8 Poseidon fleet
(Shephard Media)


Royal Navy & Marines News

UK Ministry of Defence launches Submarine Delivery Agency
(Naval Technology)

Tiny navy vessel HMS Magpie tackles her sea trials
(The News)

GPS jamming during military exercise Joint Warrior
(BBC News)

UK Royal Navy eyes rotary-wing UAV capability
(Flightglobal)

Royal Navy make a splash with their tribute to royal baby
(Daily Mail)

Royal Marines march through Deal to mark launch of new heritage trail
(Kent Online)


Disclaimer: All news stories are the property of their respective publishers. Any opinions expressed in the articles are of the person making them. An effort is made to vary news sources as much as possible to avoid political bias.

April 10th 1795 – Capturing La Gloire

In 1795, the forces of Britain and Revolutionary France had been at war for over two years and the Royal Navy was engaged in a blockade of the main French ports. For their part, the French sent some of their faster ships out in an attempt to bypass the blockade and engage in guerre de course or commerce raiding against British ships along the east coast of England.

At 1000hrs on the morning of April 10th 1795, a British flotilla under the command of Rear-Admiral John Colpoys spotted three French vessels attempting to break out through the Bay of Biscay. The French vessels were led by the 32-gun Gloire and when they realised the British had spotted them, the French commander ordered his force to scatter in the face of the superior British force after the 74-gun HMS Colossus had started firing on them.

Gloire swung north-west while its two compatriots – Gentile and Fraternité – turned west with HMS Hannibal and HMS Robust in hot pursuit of them. Gloire had managed to evade much of the British force except for the frigate HMS Astraea under Captain Lord Henry Paulet, also of 32-guns, which managed to stay in sight of the French warship throughout the afternoon. Finally, at 1800hrs Astrea succeeded in bringing Gloire within range of its quarterdeck cannon and fired several shots which saw Gloire respond with its sternchaser guns.

Royal Navy capture of La Gloire April 10th 1795 by Thomas Whitcombe 1816For over four and a half hours the two warships exchanged cannon fire shot for shot until 2230hrs, when the Astraea finally managed to come alongside the Gloire allowing both to unleash the full fury of their armament on one another. Gloire’s gunners aimed specifically for Astraea’s masts and rigging in an effort to disable the British warship and indeed succeeded in inflicting enough damage on Astraea’s topmast that it eventually collapsed. The British gunners however, concentrated their firepower on the French ship’s hull to silence the opposing gunners or sink the French ship altogether. Among the wounded aboard the Gloire was its captain and at 2328hrs, after sighting two more British warships sailing toward him he ordered the French colours to be lowered signalling the ship’s surrender.

Both vessels were heavily damaged in the engagement with Astraea needing to return to port for repairs to the mast but incredibly had not lost a single man in the engagement even as the topmast collapsed. This was thanks in no small part to the Gloire’s captain ordering his men to try to disable the British ship. By contrast, the Gloire lost 40 men killed or wounded. Sufficient repairs were made to both ships to enable them to sail to Portsmouth for more permanent repairwork with Gloire being sailed by a British prize crew under the command of Astraea’s Lieutenant John Talbot.

More success for the British would come the next morning on April 11th. HMS Hannibal and HMS Robust had continued their pursuit of the Gentile and Fraternité through the night until they managed to surround the Gentile and force its captain to surrender without having to engage in battle. The captain of the Fraternité decided to turn back towards Brest and had his men throw their armaments overboard to lighten the vessel and increase its speed. After several days evading pursuing British ships the Fraternité succeeded in reaching its home port.

Both Gloire and Gentile were pressed in to Royal Navy service with HMS Gloire being kept on charge until 1802.

News Round-up – February 14th 2018

HMS Enterprise H88 Echo-class multi-role Hydrographic and Oceanographic Survey Vessel SVHO south georgia

Here are some of the latest British military news stories making the headlines this past week.


General Defence News

UK missed 2% defence spending target, report claims
(Financial Times)

Ministry of Defence to let soldiers work part-time in bid to attract new recruits
(Express.co.uk)

Ministry of Defence has spent £100mn in abuse compensation from Iraq and Afghanistan
(The Sun)

NATO chief backs bigger alliance training mission in Iraq
(Reuters)

Nato’s stance and strategy in Europe
(AOL UK)

BAE proposes UK government financing to Malaysia for Typhoon jet deal
(Reuters)

Increase in US jets flying from RAF Lakenheath
(Norfolk Eastern Daily Press)


British Army News

British Troops Undertake ‘Incredibly Important’ Winter Exercise In Estonia
(Forces Network)

Senior Rhyl Army officer leading UK troops in Estonia ‘to counter intensifying aggression’ from Russia
(Daily Post North Wales)

British Army Chief visits Kohima
(United News of India)

Beaten soldier awarded £1 million damages against Ministry of Defence
(St Helens Star)

Mum’s agony over not being able to tell children what happened to their soldier dad as ‘Army refuse to reveal how he died’
(The Sun)

‘We’ll also find traces of the fighting from 1914 and 1917 including the remains of British and German soldiers” Belgian Trench Excavation
(Daily Mail)


Royal Air Force News

Royal Air Force says ‘We love Lossie’ ahead of massive expansion at base
(Press and Journal)

Red Arrows death: Ejection seat failure a ‘once every 115 years’ event
(BBC News)

RAF Typhoon to Get Unparalleled Armaments
(Aviation Today)

Dhadnah event marks 75th anniversary of WWII crash
(Gulf Today)


Royal Navy & Marines News

HMS Queen Elizabeth in maiden Rock call
(Gibraltar Chronicle)

Britain trying to ‘headline grab’ in South China Sea, says state media
(The Guardian)

Royal Navy ship ‘sails within METRES of Russian boat’ during show of force NATO mission
(Daily Star)

London City Airport reopens after World War II bomb removed by Royal Navy
(Independent.ie)

Fascinating pictures show Royal Marines in action aboard navy’s mighty warships during World War Two
(Daily Mail)

Hundreds of mourners salute Royal Navy doctor who saved hundreds of lives in the Falklands War
(Mirror.co.uk)


Disclaimer: All news stories are the property of their respective publishers. Any opinions expressed in the articles are of the person making them. An effort is made to vary news sources as much as possible to avoid political bias.

 

News Round-up – January 30th 2018

 

HMS Forth 2018 P222 offshore patrol vessel boat opv

Here are some of the latest British military news stories making the headlines this past week.


General Defence News

How the UK armed forces would look if you started from scratch
(The Guardian)

Your Fitness Tracking App May Have Revealed the Location of Secret Army Bases
(Futurism)

Gavin Williamson anger at Ministry of Defence for flying EU flags despite Brexit vote
(Express)

Russia mocks Gavin Williamson’s attack warning
(BBC News)

Two UK pilots fly F-35 jet following training
(Naval Technology)

Arms deal watchdog to get new teeth to stop defence companies profiteering
(Telegraph)

Ministry of Defence loses up to £4bn on property deal under which it rents 7000 empty homes 
(Telegraph)

More than £1 billion spent on armed forces recruitment
(Daily Mail)


British Army News

Soldier Who Died At Deepcut ‘Needed Constant Watching’
(Forces Network)

Op-Ed: Has the British army gone soft?
(SOFREP)

Ex-Army Head Calls For Better Mental Health Treatment
(Forces Network)

Withdrawal Of Troops From Germany Could Be Halted And “When Not If” For Major UK Cyber-Attack
(Forces Network)

Chester MP joins British troops on border with Russia
(The Chester Standard)

DUP split over ‘amnesty’ for security forces, says Beattie
(Belfast Telegraph)

Inside the British army training programme for Somali soldiers fighting one of the world’s most feared terrorist groups
(Telegraph)

Defence jobs plea over £3bn vehicle contract
(BBC News)


Royal Air Force News

RAF to scrap twin-seat Typhoons
(IHS Jane’s 360)

RAF eyes the skies in Shetland
(Shephard Media)

RAF reveals reason why Coningsby jet declared ’emergency’ mid-air over the North Sea
(Lincolnshire Live)

Investigation into missing Corrie McKeague has cost £2.1m
(Norfolk Eastern Daily Press)

‘Tail spotter’ hobbyists counted on by UK, US militaries to watch for suspicious behavior
(Stars and Stripes)

Canada sends three aircraft to RAF Fairford centenary show
(Swindon Advertiser)


Royal Navy & Marines News

Royal Navy accepts OPV
(Shephard Media)

Royal Navy Helps Out Islanders on Still-Devastated Anguilla
(The Maritime Executive)

Navy’s new £3.1bn aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth hit by flood after mystery sprinkler system sparks flood
(The Sun)

Wanted! A Site For Retired Nuclear Submarine Waste
(Forces Network)

HMS Raleigh offers training for HMS Queen Elizabeth’s new workboats
(Naval Technology)

Royal Navy gets new sonar training facility
(Shephard Media)

Royal Navy museum searching for designer for new exhibition
(Blooloop)

Disclaimer: All news stories are the property of their respective publishers. Any opinions expressed in the articles are of the person making them. An effort is made to vary news sources as much as possible to avoid political bias.