Delve into the story of the Dambusters with Paul Beaver
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.
Reasons to book
An informative and educational tour
Stay at The Petwood Hotel
See the German dams
Have dinner with Sqn Ldr Mark Sugden***
Travel with expert historians
Meet like-minded travellers
Your expert guide
- 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
Day1ArrivalLondon, 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.
Day2Battle of Britain Memorial FlightDuxford, 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.***
Day3Day 3 No 617 Squadron Memorial, Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre, and International Bomber Command CentreWoodhall 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.
Day4Möhne DamDüsseldorf, 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.
Day5Hopgood and Eder DamEdertal, 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.
Day6Sorpe Dam and the Neheim CemeterySundern, 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.
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
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.
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* From price is per person, based on two people sharing a room, subject to availability. Price and itinerary correct at time of print but may be subject to change. Single supplement £240. Deposit 30%. **Subject to the Lancaster bomber being on site. ***Dinner with Mark will not be confirmed until May. Local charges such as tourist tax may apply. In the case of unforeseen circumstances, expert(s) may be substituted, and any expert-led events may be subject to change. Expert(s) will not join you for your full trip duration unless otherwise stated. Travel insurance is not included but required for most of our overseas trips, and should be taken out at time of booking. Images used may not reflect your actual tour experience. This holiday may be sold through other selected brands. Tour is operated by and subject to the booking conditions of TS Travel Ltd (ATOL bonded) and In The Footsteps.