Yesterday was a pretty significant day for the town of Chapel en le Frith in Derbyshire, people gathered in the market place, at the war memorial to witness a remembrance tribute.
The local branch of the Royal British Legion had pulled out all the stops
The place was packed, not just with local people but those who had travelled from far and wide. You could just tell some had made a supreme effort to get there.
One of the veterans shook me, and many many more, firmly by the hand, ‘Thank you for coming, thank you for coming!’ He kept repeating. I thought we were supposed to be thanking them?
There were civic dignitaries, the young (children from Combs Infants School and Chapel High School)
the media ( a current member of 617 Squadron is interviewed for the BBC)
There was even a letter to be read, a letter from the Queen, her representative laid one of many wreaths
But there was more to come, at 12:50 hrs, from the south, over Combs Moss above the nearby village of Combs where Astell lived came the Lancaster Bomber, The City of Lincoln.
We watched, as did many more, from the top of nearby Eccles Pike,
As the Lancaster made four sweeps above the town (here above the high school).
The Dambusters raid has a special place in the hearts and history of this area, not only because of the lost lives of local men, Flight Lieutenant William Astell DFC and Sergeant Jack Marriott DFM, but because this area was where the men practiced for the mission, using the Derwent Valley, just over the hills, to perfect the specialist skills they would need for such an audacious attack.
The Lancaster, having paid its respects, banked off over the hills to join the Battle of Britain Flight down the Derwent Valley (spectacular video here)
Well done everybody, you did them proud.