The Bouncing Bomb

The inspiration for the bouncing bomb, which some say is more legend than truth, came on the backyard patio at the Wallises’ Effingham home in the spring of 1942. Easter vacations brought the entire Wallis family together – Barnes and Molly and their four children, as well as their two adopted nephews. The gathering sparked…

Britain at Bay

When Prime Minister Chamberlain’s ultimatum to Germany expired on 3 September 1939, World War II found the home-based Royal Air Force established with a strength of: 55 Bomber Squadrons with Bristol Blenheim IVs Vickers Wellington Is and IAs Armstrong Whitworth Whitley IIIs and IVs Handley Page Hampdens 35 fighter squadrons with   Hawker Hurricanes Supermarine…

Group Captain Geoffrey Leonard Cheshire

  Baron Cheshire VC, OM, DSO & Two Bars, DFC ; 7 September 1917 – 31 July 1992, was a highly decorated World War II Royal Air Force pilot and philanthropist. Early Life Leonard Cheshire was the son of Geoffrey Chevalier Cheshire, a barrister, academic and influential writer on English law. He had one brother, Christopher Cheshire, also a wartime pilot. Cheshire was born in Chester, but was…

Operation Chastise

  Operation Chastise was an attack on German dams carried out on 16–17 May 1943 by Royal Air Force No. 617 Squadron, subsequently publicised as the “Dam Busters”, using a purpose-built “bouncing bomb” developed by Barnes Wallis. The Möhne and Edersee Dams were breached, causing catastrophic flooding of the Ruhr valley and of villages in…

Women Aloft and Hanna Reitsch

Farther, faster, higher For German women, it was not easy to even attempt record flights during the years between the Wars. Under the terms of the Versailles Treaty, Germany was prohibited from having aircraft that might conceivably be employed for military purposes. Fliers were generally restricted to gliders or small sport planes, and they were…