In 1943 an elite RAF bomber squadron set out on a dangerous and unusual mission. They were armed with the product of one Yorkshire-born middleclass engineer. However, the genius of Barnes Wallis extended elsewhere, writes Official Historian No. 617 Squadron Association, Dr Robert Owen, as he details the life of one of Britain’s greatest ‘boffins’.
INNOVATORS | ENGINEER, VISIONARY, PATRIOT
To many, the name of Barnes Wallis resounds as the scientist who invented the ‘bouncing bomb’, used by the crews of No.617 Squadron to breach the Mohne and Eder Dams, and created the large earthquake bombs used to shatter U-boat pens. Others may recall his pre-war achievements, an airship and the Wellington bomber – or post war visions for high speed flight. Michael Redgrave’s portrayal of him in the film “The Dam Busters” created an enduring persona of a gentle-mannered, warm-hearted, yet single-minded and at times stubborn, enthusiast fighting a David and Goliath battle against officialdom.