It’s been exactly 70 years since the legendary Dambusters raid - which vitally crippled German industry in the Second World War.
But the people of Yorkshire proved the decades have not faded their memories of the 133-strong crews’ bravery as they gathered to pay tribute.
At exactly 1pm, a Lancaster bomber thundered down the Derwent Valley in Derbyshire and ‘strafed’ the Derwent Dam - just as the Dambusters crew did on dangerous training missions all those years ago.
From here the bomber flew on to Chatsworth House, where thousands were waiting on the stately home’s lawn to greet it with cheers, applause and - of course - a few bars of the iconic ‘Dambusters March.’
“It means such a lot to be here today, remembering these men and their bravery,” said 37-year-old Kathryn Allen, who travelled from Dronfield with her grandparents to witness the spectacle.
Grandfather Lesley Carr, 85, of Sheffield, said: “It’s important to us to be here today as we remember it well. It’s a part of our history. I remember the sound of the planes to this day.”
His wife Margaret, also 85, agreed: “I remember the secrecy beforehand and then the euphoria afterwards. Three generations of our family are here today to honour these men.”
Many chose to avoid visiting Derwent Dam, to witness the flypast there, after Severn Trent Water, which owns the dam, decreed that heavy traffic on country lanes would pose a problem for emergency services.
Lesley added: “We decided to come to Chatsworth instead and we’ve had front row seats on the lawn. It’s been a great family day out.”
53 men perished in the daring 1943 raid to take out enemy dams using a new ‘bouncing bomb.’
Yesterday the RAF tweeted realtime Morse Code Signals as they would have been received from the crews seven decades earlier.
“What those men did shouldn’t be forgotten,” added Margaret. “I always get a lump in my throat when I hear a Lancaster.”