Wreaths laid at Bomber Command Memorial on 80th anniversary of Dambusters raid

Commemoration wreaths were laid at the Bomber Command Memorial in London's Green Park to mark 80 years since the legendary Dambusters raid.

Air Vice-Marshal Chris Elliot, on behalf of the RAF Benevolent Fund, and Assistant Chief of the Air Staff, Air Vice-Marshal Simon Edwards, on behalf of the Royal Air Force, laid poppy wreaths to commemorate those who took part in the raids on the night of 16 and 17 May 1943.

Members of the RAF's 617 Squadron were assembled to conduct a bombing raid to destroy three dams in Germany's Ruhr Valley during World War Two. 

The mission, known as Operation Chastise, involved 133 aircrews flying 19 specially adapted Lancaster bombers. Fifty-three men were killed during the operation and three were captured.

RAF Benevolent Fund controller Air Vice-Marshal Chris Elliot said: "The fund are immensely proud to commemorate Operation Chastise on the 80th anniversary of the Dambusters Raids.

"We pay tribute to the brave legacy of the members of the RAF's 617 Squadron.

"Their loss must never be forgotten, and we will continue to honour their memory by supporting the Second World War and National Service veterans who require our help," the Air Vice-Marshal added.                        

The RAF Benevolent Fund provides financial, emotional, and practical assistance to serving and retired RAF personnel and their families. This includes grants to help with financial difficulty, mental health support and Airplay youth clubs.

This comes after other commemorations for the Dambusters raid have taken place across the country, including a Lancaster bomber taking to the Lincolnshire skies and a planned service at St Clement Danes.

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