The crew which flew with David Maltby to the Möhne Dam on 16 May 1943 may have been the most inexperienced of the 19 crews which took part in Operation Chastise. Three of them, Vivian Nicholson, Antony Stone and Harold Simmonds, had never flown on an operation at all. John Fort and William Hatton had only flown one. David, by contrast, had done a full operational tour of 28 flights in 106 and 97 Squadrons between June 1941 and June 1942. It was on his return to 97 Squadron in March 1943, to begin a second tour, that he met these five, all newly qualified and ready to start operations. They crewed up together but were then transferred the few miles from Coningsby to Scampton, to the new 617 Squadron to begin the special training. Another front gunner originally came with them, but he was replaced by Victor Hill only ten days before the actual raid. Victor Hill was the only other crew member with significant operational experience, having flown on more than 20 sorties in 9 Squadron.
Ranks and decorations as in September 1943:
Pilot: Sqn Ldr David Maltby DSO DFC
Navigator: Flt Sgt Vivian Nicholson DFM
Bomb Aimer: Flg Off John Fort DFC
Wireless Operator: Flt Sgt Antony Stone
Flight Engineer: Sgt William Hatton
Front Gunner: Flt Sgt Victor Hill
Rear Gunner: Sgt Harold Simmonds
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Picture taken in RAF Blida, Algeria, July 1943. Picture: Grace Blackburn.
The crew of Lancaster AJ-J, J for Johnnie, which flew on the Dams Raid
(Operation Chastise) 16 May 1943. Click on each figure for further details