Gallery and Studio of John Wiseman


Avro Lancaster : Mk III Special

  This model represents one of the 19 specially modified Avro Lancasters of 617 Squadron prepared for the “Dam Buster” raid, May 17, 1943. The targets for the raid included the Möhne, Edersee and Sorpe Dams in the Ruhr Valley of Germany. The first two were successfully breeched, the latter sustained light damage. Two hydroelectric stations were destroyed and some seven others damaged. The Ruhr valley was a major industrial hub supplying vast amounts of military equipment and supplies for the German military and the damage and destruction to factories was immense. Also, as was typical of almost all bombing missions perpetrated by all sides during the war, the collateral damage to civilian was immense with an estimated 1,600 killed, plus 600 Germans and some 1000 forced laborers that were mainly Soviet. At the time' German propaganda played down the extent of the damage, but at the end of the war, Hitler's propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels reportedly stated that had the RAF followed up with secondary strikes, that may have actually brought an early end to the war.

The call sign AJ-T (T for ''Tommy''),represents the aircraft   flown by Flight Lieutenant Joseph Charles McCarthy. McCarthy’s flight of five aircraft was assigned to bomb the Sorpe Dam. Four of McCarthy's flight were either shot down or otherwise failed to reach the target. In all, eight Lancasters with crews were lost on the mission, but for a couple who escaped. McCarthy bombed successfully but was alone and unable to breach the Sorpe. McCarthy survived the war and had a distinguished career with the RCAF. He was honored with the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC), Distinguished Services Order (DSO) and “Bar”, Royal Canadian Air Force.

***The Lancaster is also the subject in two of my paintings. See the catalogue for these and other aircraft paintings and information on available prints.***