The raid on the Mhne, Edersee and Sorpe dams by 617 Squadron was the most famous RAF sortie of the Second World War. Its leader, 24-years-old Wing Commander Guy Gibson, was one of the Second World Wars more enigmatic and controversial characters. Together, the facts behind both the Dambusters raid and Gibson's dramatic career make for the most compelling story of human strengths and weaknesses, of great skill and ingenuity and unrivaled courage.
Little about Gibson's life is not cloaked in mystery. From his troubled childhood to his mental state and the confusion surrounding his death, Gibson's life was complex and complicated. Even since Gibson's death, his beloved dog, Nigger, has been the subject of considerable controversy.
This latest book on Gibson draws together all the available evidence in examining Gibson's remarkable life and, probably avoidable, death. In this latter respect, much new information has only come to light in recent times allowing a more complete assessment of the facts to be made. Here, too, is the story of the relationship between Arthur Harris and Guy Gibson, as well as Gibson's relationship with the diverse group of men he recruited to join him in that remarkable raid upon the dams in 1943.
Gibson might well have been a flawed hero, but hero he unquestionably was. The raid on the dams was only one operation in nearly 200 sorties, but it is the one for which is remembered and the one for which he was awarded the highest gallantry medal of all the Victoria Cross.
Geoff Simpson has studied the Battle of Britain for 35 years and has frequently written, broadcast and spoken on the subject. He was a long serving trustee of the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust and acted as the organisation's historical consultant. He is a member of the Royal Historical Society and the RAF Historical Society.
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