2 August 1918 – 19 September 1944
Wing Commander Guy Gibson was the officer in charge of the “Dam Busters” raid; a mission to destroy two German dams in the industrial Ruhr area of Germany. As a result of the success of this extremely high-risk mission, Gibson was awarded the Victoria Cross for gallantry.
Gibson joined the RAF in 1936 and at the outbreak of World War Two was flying as a bomber pilot. By the time Gibson was twenty-three years old, and after successfully completing forty-six sorties, he was promoted to wing commander. After his initial operational tour of twenty-seven sorties, Gibson refused to accept the standard rest position at a training facility, and volunteered himself to Bomber Command.
At twenty-five years of age Gibson was selected to lead 617 squadron, the unit put together to destroy the Moehne and Eder dams. On the night of the raid Gibson led the initial bombing run on the first dam, and, upon completion, he continued to fly over the dam, drawing enemy anti-aircraft fire for 30 minutes, so as to leave a free run for the rest of the squadron. Having broken the first dam, Gibson then repeated his tactics at the second dam, again at huge personal risk.
Gibson returned to operations after a propaganda tour of the Allied nations, but on 19 September 1944 crashed and died whilst flying over the Netherlands. He was twenty-six years old and had personally completed 174 missions over German soil.