Den Ham, The Netherlands - Remembrance Ceremony Les Knight

Remembering Dambuster Les Knight DSO - 75 years on Saturday 15th September 2018.


Born: 7 March 1921 Camberwell, Australia

Died: 16 September 1943 (aged 22)

Buried in Den Ham General Cemetery, Netherlands

Years of service: 1941–1943

Royal Australian Air Force

Rank: Flight Lieutenant

Unit: No. 617 Squadron RAF


Battles/wars: Second World War - Operation Chastise / Operation Garlic

Awards: Distinguished Service Order Mentioned in Despatches


Dam Buster Les Knight, Australia's most famous WW2 pilot, sacrificed his life for his seven man crew on 16 September 1943. At the same time he steered his doomed Lancaster bomber away from the centre of a Dutch village averting possible further death and destruction.


Flight Lieutenant Leslie Gordon Knight became world famous because his bouncing bomb was the first to breach the Eder dam and cause serious damage.


All Knight’s crew survived. They bailed out above the frontier village of Den Ham during darkness after their mission to bomb an aquaduct on the vital supply route Dortmund-Ems canal failed. This mission was "Operation Garlic".


Les Knight and his crew attacked the canal in Ladbergen, Germany, exactly four months after the famous Dam Busters raid in the Rhur. The raid on Ladbergen proved to be fatal for Les Knight. His plane damaged when flying at low level for the whole mission hit tree tops near the target area. He realised the plane was so badly damaged that he could never get it back to England. Above the village of Den Ham he ordered the crew to bail out. Two were directly taken prisoner by the German occupying army but the other five all returned safely to England -- thanks to the extreme bravery of the local population. They risked their lives and that of their families to secure these five airmen.


The Crew of Lancaster ED912/G Call sign: AJ-N


Flight Lieutenant Les Knight - RAAF

Upper Gunner Sgt. Les Woollard - RAF

Wireless operator Flt Sgt R G T Kellow - RAAF

Rear gunner Sgt H E O’Brien - RCAF

Navigator Flg Off H S Hobday - RAF

Flight engineer Sgt R E Grayston - RAF

Front gunner Sgt F E Sutherland - RCAF

Bomb aimer Flg Off E C Johnson - RAF