Flying Officer Raymond E Grayston (Flight Engineer, 617 Sqn.) joined the RAF in June 1939, as an engine fitter. In 1942 he volunteered for aircrew, as a flight engineer. He was subsequently posted to 50 Sqn at Skellingthorpe in Lincolnshire. The crew had completed 30 ops. by January 1943. Les Knight was then requested to continue flying with his crew on Special Operations. This involved moving to Scampton, to form 617 Sqn. On the night of 16-17 May, Les Knight and his crew took part in the raid on the dams and were responsible for breaching the Eder Dam.
The crew continued on operations until September 1943, when trying to carry out a raid on the Dortmund Ems canal in fog, the plane was damaged and crashed. After ensuring his crew successfully baled out, Les Knight remained on the aircraft and was never seen again. Ray spent the remainder of the war as a prisoner in Stalag Luft 3.
Squadron Leader George ‘Johnny’ Johnson DFM (Bomb Aimer, 617 Sqn.)
went initially to the USA for pilot training. Frustrated at not qualifying and a burning desire to get airborne Johnny applied for the shortest possible training course; air gunner. having completed this course successfully Johnny was posted to 97 Squadron as ‘spare’ gunner – mid or upper, whichever was needed. At this time Bomb Aimers were being sought for the Lancasters and as this position warranted extra pay, Johnny applied and passed the training course. He was then chosen by Joe McCarthy to join his crew before they were all transferred to 617 Squadron.
Flying in AJ-T, with American pilot Joe McCarthy and crew they attacked the Sorpe Dam from 30 feet, for which Johnny was awarded the DFM. Johnny went on to fly 40 missions with Joe McCarthy at the controls.
Prints are signed by the artist and numbered
125 Primary Editions....$300
50 Artist’s Proofs....Sold out
15 Remarque Editions....Sold out
10 Double Remarque Editions....Sold out
Print size: 18 ½ x 27 ¾
Lancasters of 617 Squadron, led by Wing Commander Guy Gibson begin their low level cross channel dash towards the enemy coast on the way to the heart of the Ruhr. The aircraft were arranged in three waves. The first wave comprised three groups of three aircraft at 10 minute intervals and headed towards the Mohne, Sorpe and Eder dams. The second wave of five Lancasters headed direct to the Sorpe while the third wave of five, would act as backup. Eight Lancasters failed to return from the raids, a high cost indeed, but the courage and determination displayed by the crews were in the best tradition of the RAF.
Air Vice Marshall Johnnie JOHNSON
Artist's Proofs & Remarques:
Flying Officer Raymond E. GRAYSTON (Flight Engineer of AJ-N, Les Knights Lancaster)
Squadron Leader George L. JOHNSON DFM (Bomb Aimer on AJ-T, American Joe McCarthy’s Lancaster)