Dambusters event to mark World War Two missions

The two Lancaster Bombers reunited EMN-140822-154720001
The two Lancaster Bombers reunited EMN-140822-154720001

Evocative memories of two of the Second World War’s most important missions will be created at a special event in Horncastle.

The town’s Rotary Club are holding a fundraising Dambusters Tribute Night on Wednesday May 6 at Stanhope Hall.

It will feature a screening of the film “The Dambusters” when Lancaster bombers destroyed vital German dams.

The raid is one of the most famous in war-time history. Horncastle born George ‘Johnny’ Johnson is the only British survivor.

The tribute evening will also mark the importance of another important World War Two event - Operation Manna.

That took place towards the end of the war in 1945 and involved Allied aircraft dropping over 11,000 tons of food to help save the lives of thousands of Dutch people who were in danger of starvation.

Ironically, one of the Dutch towns helped by the food drop was Den Helder.

The Den Helder Rotary Club is ‘twinned’ with their counterparts in Horncastle.

One Den Helder Rotarian, who witnessed the food drop, will hopefully attend the tribute event.

Horncastle Rotary Club spokesman Peter Foster said: “It should be a very special night.

“A lot of people are aware of the Dambusters but perhaps less so of Operation Manna.

“They were both very important missions in their own right and the Den Helder connection should make it even more fascinating.

“I know one of the Dutch people coming across can still recall looking out and seeing the aircraft flying over his head before the food drop.”

The Tribute Event will start at 7pm with an official welcome for guests.

There will be an introduction to the 70th anniversary of Operation Manna.

That will be followed by a short sequence of official war-time slides from the Operation, along with a commentary from a Dutch guest about the importance of the raid.

The showing of “The Dambusters” will start at 7.30pm with refreshments served during the interval.

Raffle tickets will also be sold for a large canvas photograph of the BBMF’s Lancaster.

Slides advertising local businesses - each featuring a war-time message - will also be shown.

Mr Foster, who formerly ran a photographic business in Horncastle, has been selling the slides and reports plenty of positive interest.

After the film, the evening will end with newsreels of the raid.

It is also hoped archives from the Horncastle News will be on display as part of the evening.

The proceeds will go towards the Horncastle Rotary Club’s charity fund which helps a number of local organisations.

Mr Foster added: “We hope it will be a very popular evening and there’s already been a lot of interest. Businesses in the town have been really supportive and the plan is to sell 20 slides which will be shown on the night.

*Tickets will be limited to 200 people. More details will be announced over the coming weeks.