RAF Scampton entrance 190520 CREDIT BFBS
UK

Dambusters' Dog Memorial Changed To Remove Racial Slur

The headstone with the dog's name at Scampton has been removed by the RAF as part of an "ongoing review of its historical assets".

RAF Scampton entrance 190520 CREDIT BFBS

The headstone of a grave to the Dambusters' dog, whose name was a racial slur, has been replaced.

617 Squadron, based at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire during the Second World War, famously completed daring night attacks on German dams in 1943.

The black Labrador, whose name Forces News is not using, was the squadron's mascot.

His name was used as a codeword by Wing Commander Guy Gibson to say the dams had been breached, with the dog dying on the same night as the Second World War raid.

The original headstone bearing the dog's name at RAF Scampton been removed by the Royal Air Force as part of an "ongoing review of its historical assets".

It will, however, be stored in a safe location while the Air Historical Branch considers its next steps.

Film versions of 'The Dam Busters' have already edited out the name or replaced it with 'Trigger' instead.

Wing Commander Guy Gibson 261042 CREDIT EMPICS PA
Wing Commander Guy Gibson owned the dog who was commemorated with the headstone (Picture: EMPICS/PA).

Local Conservative MP Sir Edward Leigh said: "Undoubtedly we are both more sensitive and more sensible today when it comes to the delicateness of racialist and derogatory terminology which had been used with unfortunate informality in the past.

"It is perfectly understandable that this is a tricky matter to which there are no simple or easy solutions.

"I am, however, very fearful of our ability today to erase or re-write history.

"The past needs to be explained, taught about, and learned from – not re-written.

"Wing Cdr Gibson’s dog was much loved by the Dambusters and was killed while he was on a raid risking his life to defend our country."

An RAF spokesperson said: "As part of an ongoing review of its historical assets, the RAF have replaced the gravestone of Guy Gibson’s dog at RAF Scampton.

"The new gravestone tells the story of Guy Gibson’s dog, but its name has been removed."