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The last Dambuster passes on RiP Squadron Leader Goodman

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The last Dambuster passes on RiP Squadron Leader Goodman

Old 19th Jul 2021, 16:14
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The last Dambuster passes on RiP Squadron Leader Goodman

From behind the Times paywall.

Last Dambuster pilot from legendary 617 Squadron dies aged 100

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Nadia Brooks
Monday July 19 2021, 5.00pm, The TimesLawrence “Benny” Goodman demolished the Arnsberg railway viaduct with a bomb and attacked Hitler’s “Eagle’s Nest” in 1945
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SaveThe last surviving Dambuster pilot, who became a prominent figure in the fight against antisemitism, has died aged 100.

Squadron leader Lawrence Goodman - nicknamed Benny after the big band leader - enjoyed a distinguished RAF career spanning 24 years during which he completed a full operational tour as a wartime bomber pilot with 617 Squadron.

The legendary squadron - known as the Dambusters - is renowned for its daring “bouncing” bomb attacks on the Mohne and Eder Dams in the industrial centre of Germany in 1943.

The raids, during which drum-shaped bombs bounced off the water before exploding against the dam walls, were carried out by the Lancaster bomber pilots.

The operation has gone down in history as being among the most successful aerial assaults of the Second World War and was featured in a classic 1955 film.

Goodman volunteered to join the RAF aged 18 at the outbreak of war in September 1939.

Selected to train as a pilot, he proved so skilful that in 1942 he was posted to Canada as a flying instructor.

Benny requested a return to the UK and after retraining became the first pilot without operational experience to be posted to 617 Squadron, the RAF’s crack precision bombing unit.

Beginning in August 1944, Benny participated in 30 operations with the squadron against important enemy targets.
In March 1945 he demolished the Arnsberg railway viaduct with a 22,000lb “grand slam” bomb and in April he attacked Hitler’s “Eagle’s Nest” at Berchtesgaden.

Being Jewish, he would have been in more danger than most should he have been captured by the Nazis.

Although compulsorily demobbed at the end of the war he then rejoined the air force and retired as a squadron leader in 1964 having flown 22 different aircraft types. He then held a private pilot’s licence until to the age of 93.

But it was a different fight that kept him occupied in the latter part of his life. The North London-born Jewish veteran helped to support the launch of the RAF Museum’s “Jewish Hidden Heroes” project, highlighting the role Jews played in the air force.

He also joined up with Chelsea football club for its educational campaign against racism and antisemitism, and was to be a special guest of honour at the Battle of Britain gala this September.

In 2017, the Republic of France appointed him a Chevalier of the Légion d’Honneur and he was also a supporter of reconciliation with Germany and considered a “friend of Arnsberg” despite having destroyed their viaduct in 1945.

Maggie Appleton, MBE, chief executive of the RAF Museum, said: “So many of us will be mourning Benny while celebrating his outstanding contribution during the Second World War and his faultless RAF service.

“The RAF Museum has been fortunate to call Benny a friend.

“He supported us in sharing the incredible story of Jewish servicemen and women during the war and the brave airmen who were in a particularly perilous situation should they have been captured.

“Benny was a special man who lived a long and fruitful life and brought joy and inspiration to many.

“He will be sadly missed by his friends at the RAF Museum, but we will ensure that his stories live on to inspire generations to come.”
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Old 19th Jul 2021, 21:24
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RIP Sir!. Thank you for contributing to our freedom.
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Old 20th Jul 2021, 10:41
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Poorly researched and worded article.
He may have been the last wartime 617 pilot.
He was not a Dambuster or the last surviving Dambuster.
His exploits came later in the war.
RIP Sir.
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Old 20th Jul 2021, 12:04
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RIP, Sir.

Yes, sadly the Dams raids overshadowed so much history of the precision work using Tallboy and Grand Slam by highly-skilled crews. Especially when written by supposed historians who saw a certain film.
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