Act of Commemoration for Wing Commander Guy Gibson VC DSO* DFC* to mark the 70th Anniversary of the Dambusters Raid, 16th May, 2013
Hundreds of people turned out to attend the special Service of Commemoration held at Kings Hill, West Malling, to mark the 70th anniversary of the Dambusters, one of the best known and most daring bombing raids of World War II.
The commemorative event, led by Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Kent, Viscount De L’Isle MBE, was organised by Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council and supported by Kings Hill developer Liberty Property Trust UK Ltd.
The Dambusters raid, ‘Operation Chastise’, used ‘bouncing bombs’ invented by Sir Barnes Wallis CBE to destroy the dams of Germany’s Ruhr Valley. Kings Hill’s connection with the mission is through the squadron’s commander Guy Gibson, who served with 29 Squadron based at RAF West Malling (now Kings Hill) in 1941/2.
Guy Gibson, who was awarded the Victoria Cross for his bravery during the Dambusters raid, loved his time at West Malling and said: ‘Of all the airfields in Great Britain, here, many say, including myself, we have the most pleasant.’
Among the VIP guests were Warrant Officer Neville Croucher, 89, who was based at West Malling Airfield during the war, Leybourne vicar Rev (Flt Lt) Matthew Buchan, who had just returned from a three month deployment as the Chaplain to the Joint Air Group at Camp Bastion, Afghanistan and Flt Lt Richard Watts represented 29 Squadron.