Monday 15th May 2023
The Dambusters Ride, a cycle fundraiser organised by the RAF Benevolent Fund, the RAF’s leading welfare charity, took place on 13 May 2023 to mark the 80th anniversary of the Dambusters Raid.
The annual Dambusters Ride pays tribute to the Dambusters, members of the RAF’s 617 Squadron who were assembled to bomb three dams in Germany’s Ruhr Valley on the night of 16-17 May 1943 – also known as Operation Chastise. This year marks 80 years since the risky raid, in which the revolutionary bouncing bomb, the brainchild of engineer Barnes Wallis, was dropped at low level on Germany’s industrial heartland in the Ruhr Valley. The mission was a success, but the cost was high; of 133 aircrew who left, 53 were killed and three became prisoners of war.
The Dambusters Ride
The Dambusters Ride consists of two elements: a flexible Virtual Ride and a Heritage Ride which took place in Lincolnshire on Saturday 13 May, including 100 mile, 80 mile and 40 mile routes. The event started and finished at the Petwood Hotel, in Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire, the home of the Dambusters.
Neil Tomlin, Head of Engagement at the RAF Benevolent Fund said:
“This year’s Dambusters Ride was an enormous success with over 300 riders taking part to raise money for the RAF Benevolent Fund. The money raised will help provide financial, emotional, and practical assistance to members of the RAF Family who require support.”
Lincolnshire-based Wing Commander Mike Ainsworth, who took part in the 100 mile cycle said:
“I take part in the Dambusters Ride every year – throughout my RAF career, I’ve always felt safe in the knowledge that the RAF Benevolent Fund would be there for me if times got tough. I’ve seen first-hand the incredible support they give not only to serving personnel but also to RAF veterans and their families, so it’s important for me to support the charity.
“This year has been particularly poignant as I’m also doing the ride in memory of Johnny Johnson, the last surviving Dambuster, who passed away last December. He was such an inspiration and will be missed dearly.”
More about the Dambusters Ride
The Dambusters Ride consists of two elements: a Virtual Ride on the weekend of 20-21 May and a Heritage Ride that took place in Lincolnshire on Saturday 13 May. For more information please visit rafbf.org/ride.
The RAF Benevolent Fund
The RAF Benevolent Fund is the RAF’s leading welfare charity, providing practical, financial, and emotional support to RAF personnel, veterans, and their partners and dependants. If you know a member of the RAF Family in need, please go to rafbf.org to find out how the Fund could help.