Saturday, 18 May 2013

That's another one I missed

Another anniversary, I mean.  Thursday just gone, 16th May, was the 70th anniversary of one of the most daring bombing raids of World War II - the dambusters raid.  It was on that day back in 1943 that 19 Lancaster bombers of 617 Squadron took off from RAF Scampton, Lincolnshire, on their mission to break the dams on reservoirs in the Ruhr industrial heartland of Germany.  To achieve their objective, the planes had to be flown at exactly 60 feet above the water and at precisely 230 miles per hour - and in darkness.  Throw in the anti-aircraft defences with which they had to contend, and one can only marvel at the bravery of those airmen.  53 of the 133 airmen who took part never returned.

By coincidence, it was in 1943 also that The Magic Faraway Tree by children's author Enid Blyton was published.  Both the Old Bat and I remember it from our childhoods, along with so many other books by Miss Blyton:  Noddy, the Famous Five and the Secret Seven series in particular.  Her books were later banned by many public libraries as they were considered racist (some Noddy stories featured a golliwog) but she merely wrote in line with the thinking of her day.  Fortunately, good sense has subsequently prevailed - although some changes have been made in later editions.  One example being the change of name from one character in The Magic Faraway Tree from Dick to Rick!  We have bought a copy of this book - as well as a kite in the form of a seagull - as a 6th birthday present for our granddaughter.  I hope I have time to read it before her birthday!

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