THE picturesque Derwent Valley in the Peak District has been providing a haven of tranquility to visitors for countless years.
However, the peace was disturbed as the area was transported back to wartime Britain for a re-enactment of one of the most important training exercises in military history.
Almost seven decades after the 617 Squadron- known as The Dambusters- used the rolling hills surrounding the valley to practise low-level flying, Will Flanagan, aged 32, took to the skies to recreate the scenes.
The Derwent Dam was used for a practice route due to its resemblance to some of the German dams which became a target for the unique ‘bouncing bomb’ used to strike at the heart of enemy industry in Operation Chastise in May 1943.
The pilot made his nostalgic flight in an original Tiger Moth biplane, similar to the training aircraft used by the Lancaster squadron.
Mr Flanagan, who runs his business Blue Eye Aviation from Netherthorpe Airfield near Sheffield, said: “Twelve years ago I happened, by chance, to be flying over Lincolnshire next to a Lancaster – it was part of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. Seeing it inspired me to get into vintage aircraft.
“My dream finally came true when we bought our Tiger Moth last September. This is the only World War Two aircraft you can fly the Dambusters route in.”
The flying instructor now hopes to give more people the chance to relive history by experiencing the route. He said: “We’ll take anyone up.”