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The Dambuster Who Cracked the Dam (Paperback)

The story of Melvin 'Dinghy' Young

Aviation > Aviation Biography & Memoirs Aviation > Dambusters Aviation > WWII

By Arthur G Thorning
Imprint: Pen & Sword Aviation
Pages: 192
Illustrations: 60
ISBN: 9781783030156
Published: 15th May 2013
Expected Re-release Date: 30th July 2024


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On 25 September 1939 Melvin Young reported to No.1 Initial Training Unit. He was selected as a bomber pilot and served two tours, with 102 and then 104 Squadrons.

In 1943, having undertaken a Lancaster conversion course, Melvin and his new crew were posted firstly to 57 Squadron at Scampton and then to the new 617 Squadron. On 15 May the Order for Operation Chastise was issue - the raid to be flown the next night, 16/17 May. The plan for the operation was that three waves of aircraft would be employed. The first wave of nine aircraft, led by Gibson, would first attack the Mohne Dam, then the Eder followed by other targets as directed by wireless from 5 Group HQ if any weapons were still available. This wave would fly in three sections of three aircraft about ten minutes apart led by Guy Gibson, Melvin Young and Henry Maudslay. At 00.43 Melvin and his crew made their attempt on the Mohne dam. Gibson recorded that Young's weapon made 'three good bounces and contact'. Once the dam had been breached Gibson with Melvin as his deputy led the three remaining armed aircraft towards the Eder Dam. On the return trip Melvin Young and his crew fell victim to enemy guns. At 02.58 gunners at Castricum-an-Zee reported shooting down an aircraft and several batteries also reported firing at it. AJ-A crashed into the sea. Over the North Sea, Guy Gibson called Melvin on the radio…there was no reply.

When the famous raid took place against the Mohne dam, it was the bomb delivered by Melvin Young's aircraft that, according to Guy Gibson, made “three good bounces and contact”. This is the story of that young man from childhood, through his days at Oxford and his career in the RAF which culminated in the most memorable air raid of all.

Britain at War
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