Author pens book 70 years after WW2 raid

Author Alan Cooper with his new book 'The Men Who Breached The Dams'. May 24th 2013 E22004P
Author Alan Cooper with his new book 'The Men Who Breached The Dams'. May 24th 2013 E22004P

A book capturing the events of the Second World War when a bouncing bomb was used to attack the Germans has been penned by a Hailsham author. Alan Cooper has taken a keen interest in the Dambusters and his latest publication on the raid - which ties in with the 70th anniversary of the event - will be on sale next month.

The latest book, which hits the shelves in June, is called The Dam Buster Raid - A Reappraisal 70 Years On.

It focuses on the events of May 1943 when 133 airmen of 617 Squadron, who became known as the Dambusters, and records what has happened since that day.

The book is also a tribute to the 53 men killed on the operation, the men who returned but were later killed on further missions with 617 and other squadrons and those that survived the war but have subsequently passed away.

In 1954 the events were made into a film.

This one operation amongst many carried out by Bomber Command has become one of the most well known in the history of World War Two and in 1954 a film was made about the events of that night.

Mr Cooper, from Bakers Farm Park, Upper Horsebridge, has carried out years of research on the attack on the dams of Ruhr and has spoken to several people who were closely involved with the raid including Barnes Wallis, who invented the bouncing bomb.

He also spoke to Sir Arthur Harris who was in charge of the Air Force when the raid took place.

The grandfather, who has written 26 books during his lifetime and four in total on the Dambusters, said, “I realised, that not much had been written about it and then I started the research and finding more people to talk to and the whole thing just mushroomed.

“The great thing for me about this project is meeting the people, most who sadly are no longer alive.”

The grandad, whose first book on the Dambusters came out in 1982, said, “Without these 133 men in the Air Force that night would not have happened.

“These were guys from all walks of life. How do you get a Bomber Command crew together of that many men?

“They were asked if there was a person who could carry out a role and they stepped up to the mark.

“The bond they had was absolutely superb and they had this for the rest of their lives.”

This month a book the 74-year-old wrote called The Men Who Breached the Dams is being republished.

His other books on the episode from World War Two include Beyond the Dams to the Turpitz which was published in 1983 and a publication on the 50th anniversary of the raid.