Last surviving Dambusters pilot Les Munro dies aged 96

Les Munro while visiting the Bomber Command Memorial in London. Credit: RAFBF/Adrian Brooks/Imagewis

Les Munro while visiting the Bomber Command Memorial in London. Credit: RAFBF/Adrian Brooks/Imagewise. - Credit: Community Newswire

The last surviving Dambusters pilot, Les Munro, has died in New Zealand, aged 96.

Squadron Leader Munro was part of the famous 617 Squadron of the RAF which carried out the “bouncing bomb” raid to destroy dams in Nazi Germany during the Second World War.

Squadron Leader Munro died this morning in hospital in Tauranga in the Bay of Plenty in New Zealand, his friend Ron Mayhill said.

He was a “fine man” and will be much missed, Mr Mayhill, President of the New Zealand Bomber Command Association said.

He had been unwell for around a week but his death still comes as a shock, the 91-year-old added.


You may also want to watch:


“This is a surprise and a real disappointment,” he told the Press Association.

“He was a fine man, not just because he was famous as part of the Dambusters but as a man and as a person he was a very fine person.

Most Read

“He got decorations in civil as well as military life. He was a justice of the peace, he was a local councillor, he was a mayor.

“His life was all about service.”

The original crew of 617 Squadron carried drum-shaped bombs which bounced over water and exploded at the base of dam walls.

The squadron gained its epithet after its first raid, for which it was initially formed, to destroy dams in the Ruhr valley in Nazi Germany.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus