Operation Chastise, the audacious attack on the dams in the Ruhr valley, is arguably one of the most famous airborne attacks in history. During the night of 16/17 May 1943, 133 men in nineteen specially-adapted Lancasters – the famous Dambusters – set off to attack six dams deep in the heart of Germany. Eight of the bombers, and 56 of the aircrew, did not come home.
Three of the aircrew who took part were from the High Peak region of Derbyshire. Flight Lieutenant Bill Astell, the pilot of ED864 who hailed from Coombs near Chapel-en-le-Frith, was killed after flying into electricity pylons on the way to the dams. The navigator in ED924, Sergeant John Nugent, from Stoney Middleton, survived the Dambusters Raid but was killed later in the war. The third High Peak Dambuster, on whom Frank Pleszack's talk will concentrate, is the little-known Sergeant Jack Marriott from Chinley, the flight engineer on Lancaster ED937 during the attack.