The Spitfire and Hurricane Memorial Museum in Manston has launched an eBay charity auction this evening (May 14) running until Sunday until (May 17) to mark the 77th anniversary of Operation Chastise (The Dambusters’ Raid).
Volunteer instructor on The Manston Spitfire Experience, Dennis Jackson, has donated a print of a photograph of Barnes Wallis that he took 51 years ago which he will also sign. The picture shows Wallis seated at his desk holding a model of an airship.
In 1969, Dennis was a press photographer in London and the photograph had been commissioned for a magazine article. They met at Barnes Wallis’s office at the Hawker Siddeley complex where he set up the shot with the R101 airship that he had designed.
After taking the photograph he showed Dennis images of the water tanks that were used for the bouncing bomb experiments and he also photographed him outside his office with another of his designs, The Tallboy. These bombs were dropped from Lancaster bombers during the raid that sank the German battleship, Tirpitz.
He then took Dennis to see his model of the swing-wing jet, codenamed Swallow, that he had designed for the RAF. Unfortunately, due to government cutbacks in 1957 it was never put into production. Dennis remembers Barnes Wallis fondly as “a charming gentleman”.