Learn more about the story of No 617 Squadron, visiting the places where history happened with an expert aviation historian

The RAF's No 617 Squadron was formed in 1943 with the mission to bomb three dams in Germany's industrial centre in Operation Chastise. This operation and unit became known as the Dambusters, and the individuals involved were lauded as war heroes.

On this six-day tour, specialist aviation historian Paul Beaver will take you through the preparation for the raid, the people, and the aftermath. Starting in Lincolnshire, you'll learn how the squadron was formed and how the Avro Lancaster bomber was specially modified.

You'll visit the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight in Lincolnshire and spend a night at the Petwood Hotel, once home to the 617 Squadron. You'll be joined for dinner by Squadron Leader Mark 'Suggs' Sugden, a fighter pilot who has flown the Eurofighter Typhoon since 2013.***

In Germany, you'll discover even more about the mission with two evening lectures. You'll visit the three dams bombed by Operation Chastise and hear about the damage inflicted and the casualties on both sides.

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Your expert guide

Paul Beaver
Author and specialist historian
Paul Beaver is a broadcaster, author and specialist historian with a pilot’s logbook, which includes the Spitfire, Harvard and Mustang. He commentates on television and radio on aviation, aerospace and current military affairs.

Price includes

  • Full services of Tour Manager, Andy Johnson
  • Coach transport with driver
  • Return flights from London Heathrow to Düsseldorf
  • Five nights' accommodation in single or double en-suite rooms
  • Four continental breakfasts
  • Three three-course evening meals
  • A glass of wine with each evening meal
  • Dinner one evening with Squadron Leader Mark 'Suggs' Sugden***
  • Audio headsets and receivers
  • Museum entrances as stated in the itinerary


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  1. Day
    London, United Kingdom

    Your trip will begin in London, where you'll check into your hotel at Heathrow Airport, the Thistle Hotel. This evening, you'll join the rest of your group for a welcome meeting in the hotel bar before spending the rest of the evening at leisure.

  2. Day
    Battle of Britain Memorial Flight
    Duxford, United Kingdom

    This morning, following breakfast at the hotel, you'll visit Imperial War Museum Duxford, where you'll learn more about some of the most dramatic days in 20th century history, inspect historic aircraft and see the airfield where Spitfires first flew.

    In the afternoon, you'll travel to Lincolnshire, England's 'Bomber County' and check in at The Petwood Hotel, once home to the Dambusters Officers Mess. You'll visit the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight to see the Lancaster bomber** at RAF Coningsby, a Typhoon base in Lincolnshire.

    Tonight, there's a special dinner in the hotel's elegant dining room, where you'll be joined by Squadron Leader Mark Sugden, the Officer Commanding the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. Sugden, an experienced fighter pilot, will share stories from his career and answer your questions.***

    Meals - Breakfast, Dinner
  3. Day
    Day 3 No 617 Squadron Memorial, Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre, and International Bomber Command Centre
    Woodhall Spa, United Kingdom

    After breakfast, you'll travel to Woodhall Spa and see the No 617 Squadron Memorial commemorating the sacrifices of the 204 aircrew of the Dambuster squadron.

    After a moment of reflection, continue to Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre in East Kirkby, home of the Lancaster Bomber NX611, Just Jane, and see the ongoing work to restore her to an airworthy condition.

    Finally, you'll visit the International Bomber Command Centre, which commemorates the efforts of Bomber Command During the Second World War and brings to life the stories of those who suffered as a result of the bombing campaigns.

    You'll then depart for London and check back in at the Thistle Hotel at London Heathrow.

    Meals - Breakfast
  4. Day
    Möhne Dam
    Düsseldorf, Germany

    You'll have an early start this morning, checking out of the hotel and heading over to London Heathrow Airport to catch your flight to Düsseldorf.

    You'll be met by a coach in Düsseldorf, which will take you on a 90-minute transfer to Haus Delecke, where you'll be staying for the next two nights.

    You'll see Möhne Dam this afternoon, which No 617 Squadron breached in their operation in 1943. After returning to your hotel, you'll have some time to rest before rejoining the group for dinner and to listen to an insightful lecture on the raid.

    Meals - Dinner
  5. Day
    Hopgood and Eder Dam
    Edertal, Germany

    Today's first excursion is a visit to the crash site where Lancaster M for Mother crashed after being damaged by flak on the way to the dam, then crippled by the bomb blast. There's also visit Eder Dam, another of the dams breached during Operation Chastise.

    This evening there'll be dinner at a local restaurant with a lecture to further illuminate the stories of the locations you've visited.

    Meals - Breakfast, Dinner
  6. Day
    Sorpe Dam and the Neheim Cemetery
    Sundern, Germany

    Following breakfast, you'll check out of the hotel and head to Sorpe, the only dam that remained intact. After Sorpe, you'll visit the Neheim Cemetery, where you can spend some moments of quiet reflection among war graves from the First and Second World War.

    Following the cemetery visit it's time to depart for the airport, stopping en route to pick up lunch at your own expense before catching your flight home.

    Meals - Breakfast


The Petwood


An elegant Lincolnshire hotel steeped in history

The Petwood is one of the most memorable places to stay in Lincolnshire. Once home to 617 Squadron, The Dambusters, and surrounded by acres of beautifully landscaped gardens and woodland, the hotel is steeped in British history. Enjoy the award-winning dining and explore the charming village of Woodhall Spa, or stroll in the spectacular grounds. Whatever the occasion, the Petwood is among the most memorable places to visit, dine or stay in the heart of "Bomber County", Lincolnshire.

Thistle Hotel, London Heathrow Airport T5

Heathrow Apt/London, United Kingdom

A convenient place to stay overnight before your early flight to Dusseldorf. The Thistle Hotel has a range of comfortable rooms, relaxing lounge, bar and restaurant.

Haus Delecke, Möhnesee

Soest, Germany

A four-star hotel in Möhnesee set in lovely gardens on Lake Möhnesee. The guestrooms are modern and comfortable, and you’re within easy reach of the sites you’ll visit on your tour.

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Call now to book 02039932958