Hell, yes, Fred Sutherland was afraid. Terrified. Every airman in the briefing room at Royal Air Force base Scampton was, and if they were still around today and told you something different they would be lying.
Since, says Mr. Sutherland — or Air Gunner Sutherland as he was known back then — the mission RAF 617 Squadron was handed on the night of May 16, 1943, fell somewhere between dangerous and suicidal on the scale of risky Second World War bombing raids.
“We had been training for six weeks, preparing for a low-level bombing mission, but nobody knew what the target was going to be, it was all a secret,” says Mr. Sutherland, now 90, and long-since retired from firing guns from the nose of a Lancaster bomber and a post-war career in Canadian forestry.
“We all thought we were going to bomb the German U-boat pens. But then we went…
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