The raid of the Dambusters is one of the most exhilarating episodes in British history. In his new book CHASTISE The Dambusters Story 1943, our most brilliant military historian, Sir Max Hastings, uncovers the truth behind the legend.
Max Hastings grew up embracing the legend of the Dambusters, from the classic movie to the memory of Guy Gibson, the 24 year old wing commander who led the raid.
But as a Times columnist, editor of the Telegraph and Evening Standard, and author of bestselling military histories including Vietnam and The Secret War, he built a formidable reputation for untangling fact from myth, revealing the complex shades behind the headlines.
Now he turns his powers as a storyteller and truth-seeker to Operation Chastise, the destruction of the Mohne and Eder dams in North-west Germany by the RAF’s 617 Squadron.
Were the aircrew as heroic as their movie counterparts? Was Barnes Wallis as brilliant as his reputation suggests? Did Air Marshal Sir Arthur ‘Bomber’ Harris deserve the credit he received for the raid? Was it truly a crippling blow to the Third Reich – or only a temporary distraction? And what of the 1400 civilians who perished in the biblical floods that followed – more than half of them enslaved Russian and Polish women?
Max interviewed many of the Dambusters – including Barnes Wallis himself. He flew in the last operational Lancaster. Now he joins How To: Academy to retell the story of the Dambusters for the 21st century – a tale of bravery, genius, mistakes and missed opportunities. Don’t miss this opportunity to hear this extraordinary story from a master of narrative art.
This event is in the Main Hall on the ground floor. For accessibility info: https://conwayhall.org.uk/about/visiting-us/