Dambusters – 617 Squadron

To plan and arrange your tour, call us on: 01709 385500


Alternatively, if you’re interested in booking a tour for a smaller group, take a look at what our sister site offers: legerbattlefields.co.uk


By 1943 scientist Barnes Wallis had invented and tested a huge bouncing bomb capable of destroying the great German dams supplying water to the industrial Ruhr valley. A new Squadron, 617, was formed at RAF Scampton and staffed with experienced flyers. This squadron would be led by one of the great bomber pilots, Wing Commander Guy Gibson VC. The scene was set for the most daring and famous air attack carried out by the Royal Air Force in the Second World War – 617 Squadron’s ‘Dambusters’ raid on the Mohne, Eder and Sorpe Dams.

Mohnesee Dam
Mohnesee Dam

Grounded after the dramatic Dambusters raid, for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross, Guy Gibson was killed in a Mosquito flying ‘one last raid’ as a Master Bomber. He lies with his Navigator, Jim Warwick, in Steenbergen cemetery. In May 1943 the British people needed a boost and the Dambusters raid provided that, but the cost of eight Lancaster aircraft (of the 19 taking part) and 58 men. The bombing campaign of the Second World War has created some post war controversy, but the airmen’s attitude can be summed up in one word: Duty.

On this trip, we set the scene with audio and visual aids. The tour follows 617 Squadron aircraft routes, visits the dams, crash sites and the last resting places of the RAF crews. We also pay our respects to the German civilians killed when the dams burst and the torrent poured down the valleys.

Suggested Itineraries

All tours can be tailor-made to suit your needs. Some groups have specific sites that they wish to visit including graves, where they may wish to lay a wreath. Others like to combine a history tour with some leisure time, such as a day visit to Bruges, a visit to Bellewaerde Theme Park outside Ypres or add on a visit to Disneyland® Paris.

All our tours include:

  • Pick-up and drop-off at your school or chosen pick-up point
  • Executive class coach travel (subject to availability)
  • Return travel on Eurotunnel (or P&O Ferries, if you prefer)
  • Entrance to all museums throughout the tour
  • Full board accommodation for tours lasting two days or more
  • Exclusive Teachers’ Information Booklet and Pupil Worksheets
  • Personal Battlefields Tours Executive to assist with tour planning
Jacqui Shaw - Our Head of Schools and Colleges Battlefield Tours

Expert guidance and planning

Here at Holts, we believe that Battlefield Tours are an important part of how a student learns about history, and perhaps even themselves. We have passion, experience and the knowledge to help make the most of your Battlefield Tour and make it an experience for your students to remember for a lifetime.

Our Head of Schools and Colleges Battlefield Tours, Jacqui Shaw, was educated at Reading and Cambridge, and has worked as a teacher for over 20 years. Inspired to learn more after visiting the Battlefields herself on a school tour, she has been returning ever since and is excited to be able to bring the experience to new generations of students. With Holts, we seek to bring history to life, understand the past, and ensure a memorable and rewarding Battlefield Tour for your students.

To arrange and plan your tour, call us on 01709 385500