Spe­cial coin celebrates area’s unique links with Dam­busters

Glamorgan Gazette - - Your Views - STAFF REPORTER news­desk@waleson­line.co.uk

THE Lon­don Mint Of­fice has made a spe­cial do­na­tion to Porth­cawl Museum to mark the area’s strong links with the fa­mous Dam­busters raid, which flew 75 years ago dur­ing World War II.

The of­fice prides it­self on putting his­tory into the hands of its cus­tomers, and it did just that when res­i­dent his­to­rian and cul­tural am­bas­sador Justin Robin­son pre­sented Porth­cawl Museum with a spe­cial com­mem­o­ra­tive Op­er­a­tion Chas­tise Mis­sion Pack and lim­ited edi­tion £1 coin.

The pack con­tains ac­cu­rate repli­cas of the blue­prints, pho­to­graphs, maps, plans and other doc­u­ments that once briefed Squadron 617 for their his­toric night­time mis­sion over Nazi Ger­many. These will be dis­played at the museum for the lo­cal com­mu­nity, to­gether with a beau­ti­ful com­mem­o­ra­tive coin struck to mark the an­niver­sary.

The event also wel­comed Belinda Brown, the sec­ond cousin of one of the he­roes of the Dam­busters Raid, Gor­don Yeo. She brought along some trea­sured fam­ily me­men­toes to hon­our the Barry man, who was the only Welsh­man to take part in the mis­sion.

South Wales has a unique connection to the dar­ing Dam­busters mis­sion, which suc­cess­fully breached Ger­man dams with a new bounc­ing bomb. No less than 14 of the 16 air­craft in­volved in the mis­sion, co­de­named Op­er­a­tion Chas­tise, in­cluded crew who had trained at RAF Saint Athan in the Vale of Glam­or­gan, and RAF Stormy Down, near Pyle.

Mr Robin­son said: “Gor­don Yeo was born in Barry in 1922 and joined the fledg­ling 617 Squadron as a gun­ner.

“He was the youngest mem­ber of the crew that suc­cess­fully breached the Mohne Dam. Their ac­tions un­der heavy fire caused cat­a­strophic flood­ing in the re­gion and ma­jor dis­rup­tion to the Nazi war ma­chine.

“Sadly, all seven crew mem­bers lost their lives when their Lan­caster plane was shot down over the Dutch coast as they tried to re­turn home.

“Gor­don was just 20 years old.

“The Lon­don Mint Of­fice is de­lighted to present this com­mem­o­ra­tive pack and coin to the museum to pay trib­ute to Gor­don Yeo’s brav­ery in volun- teer­ing for one of the most dan­ger­ous mis­sions of the war, and to re­mem­ber South Wales’ close ties to the Dam­busters.”

Rob Tay­lor, of Porth­cawl Museum, said: “The Op­er­a­tion Chas­tise Mis­sion Pack will en­hance the small ex­hi­bi­tion that Porth­cawl Museum al­ready has to the Dam­busters as part of the RAF 100 dis­play presently on show.

“The museum is in the process of ob­tain­ing an au­then­tic RAF hut to make a per­ma­nent RAF ex­hi­bi­tion in the grounds of the museum and this pack would then be­come a val­ued part of that project.”

Belinda Brown said: “It’s an hon­our to be in­vited to talk about my sec­ond cousin Gor­don Yeo and the part that he played in the Dam­busters mis­sion.

“I’ve spent years re­search­ing his story and so it’s won­der­ful to see his mem­ory lives on thanks to the Lon­don Mint Of­fice’s work and Porth­cawl Museum.

“As part of his trib­ute, I am do­nat­ing a part of the plane wreck­age that was sal­vaged to Porth­cawl Museum.”

The huge gap in the Mohne dam shortly after the Dam­busters at­tack on May 17, 1943. Barry air­man Gor­don Yeo, in­set, took part in the op­er­a­tion

The pack was pre­sented to Porth­cawl Museum to mark the area’s strong links with the fa­mous Dam­busters raid

The spe­cial pack pro­duced by the Lon­don Mint Of­fice, pre­sented to Porth­cawl Museum

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