The famous Avro Lancaster with its four Merlin engines approached Penarth over a calm sea – providing a German dam-defender’s view of the mighty bomber as it headed for Cardiff. (This remarkable photo is by Graham@Graham7777777)

A Lancaster bomber has overflown Penarth sea front and Cardiff Bay to celebrate and commemorate the 75th anniversary the famous RAF Dambuster’s raid on vital German reservoirs in WW2. 

The Lancaster approached from Lavernock at 18:45 last night and flew Northwards along the coast , skirting Penarth Head and then heading towards the Welsh Assembly building on Cardiff Bay.

…Just the weather for bouncing a few bombs. Penarth Rowing Club captured this image of the big Lancaster approaching Penarth with the islands of Flatholm and Steepholm in the background. (Photo Penarth Rowing Club)

The only remaining flyable Lancaster waggled its wings as it flew past Penarth

The Lancaster flies past Penarth Head – bound for the Welsh Assembly building on Cardiff Bay

The route  provided a fine view for spectators on Penarth Esplanade – although not many people were actually aware of the event in advance.

Guy Gibson searches the sky as he and Eve Moore leave All Saints Church Penarth after their wedding in 1940

The Dambusters’ raid – one the major episodes of WW2 – was a successful mission to destroy three vital dams in Germany using bouncing bombs. It was led by Wing Commander Guy Gibson.

Gibson had got to know Penarth well during his courtship with  Eve Moore – an actress who was the daughter of a local shipping executive who lived in No 2 Archer Road, Penarth.

The famous WW2 hero frequently drove from his base  to  Penarth and sometimes did the commute in a borrowed RAF aircraft , landing a Cardiff Airport –  which was then at Pengam Moors.

Gibson sunbathed on Penarth beach, played golf at the Glamorganshire golf club and, in 1940, married his fiancee Eve Moore at Penarth’s All Saints Church .

A commemorative plaque at the Moore family’s  former home marks Wing Cdr Gibson’s association with the house – and the town.

Eve and Guy Gibson outside 2 Archer Road Penarth with Eve’s parents . (Note the sticky paper on the windows to prevent glass fragmentation in the event of a bombing raid ).

The Luftwaffe later bombed All Saints Church – although the German attack had no connection with the Dambusters’ raid.

Wing Cdr Gibson – who was awarded the VC for his leadership of the dams raid – was subsequently killed in 1944 by “friendly fire” when his  Mosquito was mistaken by another RAF aircraft for a German plane as it flew over Holland. Gibson was only 26 years old.


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  1. OB says:

    What a wonderful sight — I saw it in the distance and I am so cross I didn’t know about it in advance. BTW, there’s one other still flying, based in Canada.

  2. whatsoccurin says:

    Heard it pass over, but again no warning. Today saw an RAF Exhibition on the City Hall grounds-decent attendance but quite a few people there saying they were not informed of it-think it is there over the week-end.

    • Richard Williams says:

      I also understand the Germans whinged at the time that they weren’t given any advance warning either.

  3. mikeyorke says:

    Such a massive shame there wasn’t more information about this in advance as would have loved to have taken my children to see a bit of history.

    Perhaps rather than sticking a daft bright yellow billboard poster up that doesn’t mean anything and certainly doesn’t provide any info could be swopped with a whole list of events with dates across it. That way we can at least have a rough idea when things of interest are going to happen locally.

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