DAM BUSTERS: ‘It’s humbling to live in such surroundings’

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As the 70th anniversary of the Dam Busters raid is marked throughout the county and the country today, a quiet and often forgotten jewel in Grantham’s historical crown again falls under the microscope.

St Vincent’s, off Harrowby Road, now serves as the family home of Graham Jeal but back in 1943 it was a hive of activity and the building from which the famous raid was commanded.

St Vincent's.

St Vincent's.

Mr Jeal said: “It was a busy, busy place which the log books show. There were five or six raids every day but the log books have virtually nothing about the Dams raid.

“St Vincent’s was an incredibly stressful place. Everyone was being pushed by London to get the maximum damage with the fewest casualties. Whatever they did it was never enough. You can see that in the log book.

“There are notes of people asking for a weekend off so they could get married and being refused. They had to wait until after the war. They were being pushed very, very hard.”

A stone monument outside the house marks the very spot where coded messages were received confirming the success of the Dambusters raid on May 17, 1943.

St Vincent's.

St Vincent's.

Now the building is home to Mr Jeal and his young family, but, with practically every room containing paintings and murals celebrating the achievements of 617 Squadron, the history of the building and its pivotal role in the famous raid is in no danger of being forgotten.

Mr Jeal said: “It’s a beautiful home at the end of the day - beautifully restored by the previous owner. The history is the icing on the cake.

“It’s humbling to live in such surroundings.”