New edition of Barnes Wallis Book for 80th Anniversary of the Dambusters’ Raid

A new and improved edition of the popular, short book written in 2019 by local Effingham historian Vivien White about Sir Barnes Wallis is being published to mark the 80th anniversary of the Dambusters’ Raid. The original book was written at the request of Sir Barnes’ daughter, Elisabeth Gaunt for the 2019 exhibition EFFRA held about him for Heritage Open Day at the Little Bookham Tithe Barn and includes information on his life supplied by his family together with family photographs of him that have not been previously published. The new edition has a new Foreword by Elisabeth and is titled: “Not Just Bouncing Bombs! The Life and Career of Sir Barnes Wallis.” It is being sold at Brooklands Museum where Sir Barnes used to work and where a new exhibition on Sir Barnes is opening. It can also be bought at Parkers and Son at 2 The Laurels, The Street, Effingham KT24 5LH for £8 or through the EFFRA website here.
May 16th was the 80th anniversary of Operation Chastise, also known as the Dambusters’ Raid, made famous by the 1955 film of the same name, for which former Effingham resident Sir Barnes Wallis is well known. Operation Chastise was an airborne raid carried out on 16th May 1943 by the RAF which used large bombs to breach three German dams on the Ruhr. The raid was the brainchild of Sir Barnes who also invented the famous bouncing bombs used in the raid to circumvent the Nazi defences. Whilst celebrated as a great success at the time, 53 of the 133 RAF aircrew involved were killed in the raid and some 700 slave labourers were drowned by the breaching of the dams. The raid did however affect German morale and boost the Allies’ morale by disrupting the heavy industry that relied on the electricity generated by the dams.

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