Breaching the Möhne

by Gerald Coulson

The Dambusters by Gerald Coulson, Lancaster

Aircraft - Lancaster

An Outstanding Limited Edition celebrating the 60th Anniversary of one of the most famous bombing missions in history.

Each print is personally signed by original Aircrew from the Dambusters Raid.

On the night of 16/17th May 1943 Wing Commander Guy Gibson led a small force of 19 Lancaster’s of 617 Squadron on what was to become one of the most daring and ingenious raids in history. Flying from RAF Scampton their mission – code named Operation Chastise – was to breach the mighty hydroelectric dams of the Rühr; the Möhne, Eder and Sorpe, a task which Arthur Harris had earlier described as impossible.

Months of preparation had preceded the attack with the Squadron practising the use of their unique bouncing bombs – code named ‘Upkeep’ – the brain child of the brilliant Barnes Wallis. The actual targets were only revealed to the crew’s a short time before their departure however this elite unit were under no illusions as to the dangers of their mission. Flying at altitudes as low as fifty feet and observing strict radio silence they would face heavy flak and ground fire crossing Holland to Germany. On the run in to the target, using their height finding spotlights they would have to fly in complete darkness at precisely 60 feet before their lethal cargo could be released.

Gerald Coulson has used his undeniable skills to recreate the attack on the Möhne Dam as Mick Martin’s aircraft pulls away from the target. His 9,250lb bomb explodes behind him and although not actually breaching the dam wall, sends a huge plume of water into the air leaving a fine mist hanging in the atmosphere. Guy Gibson having already made his run flies to Martins right, lights on full drawing gun fire from the towers. Below them the power station, hit by John Hopgood’s bomb on the previous run is still engulfed in flames.

The Dambusters Raid was probably the most brilliant air attack of the Second World War but the success was not without its cost. Of the 19 aircraft that took part in the mission eight failed to return, in fact only 6 returned unscathed, with the loss of 53 aircrew. The destruction of the Möhne and Eder Dams released over 150 million gallons of water into the Rühr valley and caused widespread flooding and severe interruption to industry, communications and various utilities. One of the most important consequences was that over 20,000 men has to be redeployed by the enemy to repair the damage.

Following the raid no fewer than 33 aircrew received decorations for gallantry, including Gibson’s award of the Victoria Cross.

This outstanding painting from one of the worlds foremost Aviation Artists pays tribute to the men who took part in this famous mission. This edition was actually produced in 2001 and personally signed by every Dambuster Aircrew alive at that time. It has been held in storage for the 60th Anniversary release.

Overall print size: 33½" wide x 25½" high

Limited worldwide and countersigned by original Dambusters this is destined to become a truly classic edition from one of the worlds most collected Aviation Artists.

The Signatures

Flight Lieutenant George Chalmers DFC DFM
Joining the RAF in 1938 he served with 10 Squadron on Whitleys and also 35 and 7 Squadrons. When he joined 617 Squadron he was a Flight Sergeant and served as wireless operator on Lancaster AJ-O during the Dambusters raid which was piloted by Bill Townsend. Awarded the DFM for his part in the attack on the Ennepe Dam he was commissioned a few months later and awarded the DFC after 65 operations. He left the RAF in 1954.

Flight Lieutenant Edward Johnson DFC
Known as ‘Johnny’ Johnson he joined the RAFVR early in the war and served initially with 50 and 106 Squadrons. When he joined 617 Squadron in 1943 he was the bomb aimer on Lancaster AJ-N piloted by Les Knight on the Dambusters raid. During that raid they first flew to the Möhne Dam and then went on to attack and actually breach the Eder Dam, for which he was awarded the DFC. In September 1943 he was shot down but evaded capture and during a two month journey returned to England via Holland, France, Spain and Gibraltar.

Sergeant Raymond Grayston
Serving with 50 Squadron he was posted to 617 Squadron in March 1943 as the Flight Engineer on Lancaster AJ-N piloted by Les Knight and the same crew as Edward Johnson. Taking part in the Dambusters raid in May 1943 he was involved in the attack on the Möhne followed by the successful breach of the Eder Dam. Shot down in September that year he was captured, taken to Stalag Luft III and spent the remainder of the war as a POW.

Squadron Leader George Johnson DFM
After joining the RAF in 1940 he initially served with 97 Squadron. Having later been posted to 617 Squadron as a Flight Sergeant, he became Bomb Aimer on Lancaster AJ-T, piloted by Joe McCarthy on the Dambusters raid. During the raid they attacked the Sorpe Dam for which he was awarded the DFM and was commissioned shortly after. He left the RAF in 1962.


The Dambusters Edition
Edition size -400 Signed and numbered prints – personally countersigned by Four original Dambuster Aircrew.

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