Grantham Museum will open a special Dam Busters exhibition tomorrow (Saturday) which will feature many items never before publicly displayed.
The Dam Busters story will forever be indelibly linked to Grantham. The raid was commanded from St Vincent’s in Grantham while actor Richard Todd, who lived in the area, starred as Wing Commander Guy Gibson in The Dam Busters film of 1955.
As well as items from the Lincolnshire County Council vaults, the museum has also loaned numerous items from local Dam Busters historian Jim Shortland.
The exhibition has been compiled by the museum’s development manager Jim Grevatte.
Mr Grevatte said: “I think what people will find most interesting will be the personal things because it will help people empathise with them.
“The rear gunners are talking about flying over one of the most heavily defended areas of enemy territory.
“The diaries really do put it all into stark relief.”
Included in Mr Shortland’s collection is the diary and flight log of rear gunner Flt Sgt T. D. Simpson, whose description of the Dam Busters raid is remarkable for its lack of detail or celebratory language. Other key exhibits include part of a “bouncing bomb” and a rear gunner’s escape hatch which is astonishingly compact.
Mr Grevatte said: “The rear gunner rarely got out if things went wrong and seeing the size of the escape hatch really brings that home.”
* The Dam Busters exhibition will be on display until July 29.