Of all its Battle Honours, possibly the most revered by the Royal Air Force are those of ‘Battle of Britain 1940’ and ‘The Dams’. To most, the latter refers to the stunning raid in May 16/17, 1943 by the Lancasters of 617 Squadron that breached the Möhne and Eder Dams and damaged the Sorpe.
But 617 does not have exclusivity on this honour, 9 Squadron also has claim to it. After the war the criteria for the award of ‘The Dams’ Battle Honours was defined as: ‘For squadrons participating in the operations for breaching the Möhne, Eder, Sorpe and Kembs Dams, May 1943 to October 1944.’ But there were other attacks on great German dams after these dates.
As is well known, although initially formed specifically for the Dams Raid, it was afterwards decided to retain 617 Squadron for operations requiring particular precision and a high degree of skill. Beyond May 1943 the unit replaced its losses and retrained before returning to operations.