In May 1943, a group of intrepid pilots from the Royal Air Force set out on a mission to disrupt the German war machine by attacking its dams with specially designed bouncing bombs. The mission was a daring one, that saw the Royal Air Force take on the might of the German war machine. Despite heavy losses, the raid was a resounding success, and has since become one of the most iconic events of the Second World War. Join us as we remember the story of the Dambusters raid, and explore the coins minted as a fitting tribute to the bravery and sacrifice of those who took part.
In May of 1943, the Second World War was in full swing. The Royal Air Force, still reeling from the devastating loss of life in the earlier attacks on German dams, had been given a new mission. Code-named Operation Chastise, this mission was to attack the dams of the Ruhr valley, the industrial heartland of Germany, with the aim of disrupting the German war machine by flooding the factories and mines that powered it.
The plan was daring and audacious. The RAF would use specially designed bombs, known as 'bouncing bombs', that would skip across the surface of the water, bounce over the German anti-torpedo nets, and explode on contact with the dam. The only problem was that the bombs had to be dropped at exactly the right height, speed and distance from the dam - a feat that required precision flying.
On the night of 16th-17th May 1943, the RAF's 617 Squadron, led by Wing Commander Guy Gibson, set out on their mission. Despite poor weather and heavy anti-aircraft fire, they managed to hit two of the three target dams, causing widespread flooding and damage. The mission was a success, but it came at a high cost. Eight of the 19 Lancaster bombers that took part in the raid were lost, and 53 aircrew were killed.
Following the raid, the crews of the 19 Lancasters were hailed as heroes, and their bravery and sacrifice were celebrated by the British people. Wing Commander Gibson was awarded the Victoria Cross – the highest military honour in the British Empire – for his leadership and bravery.
In 2018, to mark the 75th anniversary of this historic event, Rosland produced a series of limited edition commemorative coins. Struck in 22-carat gold, the collection consists of an individual sovereign, as well as a 3-piece and 4-piece fractional sovereign set, available exclusively from Rosland
The designer, Michael Guilfoyle, has captured the spirit of the mission perfectly. The obverse features the portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, while the reverse shows two Lancaster Bombers in flight amid a backdrop of the side on detail of the bouncing bomb itself. The motif at the bottom shows the damaged Möhne dam, with the breaching characterised by the letter ‘U’ of the symbolic ‘Dam Busters’.
The Dambusters raid has become one of the most iconic episodes of the Second World War. It has been immortalised in books, films and television programmes, and has come to symbolise the bravery and determination of the men and women who fought for our freedom. The collection is a fitting tribute to the valour and skill of the men who took part in this daring raid, and a reminder of the sacrifices that were made to secure our freedom.
A must-have for military enthusiasts and numismatic collectors alike.