Thursday, 20 November 2014
The Bouncing Bomb
The dark cavern under the dining table continued to be my hiding place where I listened in on the adult world and, when all was quiet, created a dream world all of my own. On 17 May 1943 I was curled up there again, I know the date for certain because as usual the wireless had been left on and I heard the news reader announce that they had just received the report that the Edersee Dam had been breached, what followed has remained in my mind ever since. A pilot of the Lancaster Bombers of No. 617 Squadron was talking about the scene below him, a huge hole had been blasted in the dam 230 feet wide and 72 feet deep and an enormous wave was surging up the Ruhr Valley. Cars were fleeing from the flood water and he could see their white head lights, then as they were over taken by the waves the lights changed to dull yellow, purple and then finally disappeared. I didn’t feel I could share this with the grownup world; I just hugged the terrible image to myself. I didn’t know then that 70 people had been drowned in their cars, nor did I know that the bomb which we all now know as the bouncing bomb had been tested and proved on the Fleet.