Barnes Wallis is best known for his invention of the Bouncing Bombs which destroyed the Mohne, Eder, Sorpe and Ennepe dams in the Ruhr in May 1943. The mission, carried out by 617 Squadron led by Guy Gibson VC, was a complete success even if some have argued since that the influence on the war was more psychological than physical. It remains one of the most exciting events of the Second World War, with its bold vision, Wallis's persistence in pushing it through against considerable opposition, and its courageous and skilful execution. The attack on the dams was not Barnes Wallis's only achievement in his long career as an engineer and scientist. His first notable contribution was on the R80 airship during the First World War, followed by further work on the airships R100 and R101 during the 1920s. He made valuable design contributions on the Wellesley and, more importantly, on the Wellington bomber which served the RAF throughout the Second World War."
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Peter Pugh read History at Cambridge and is the author of more than 30 books on business and history, including the seminal guide to the Guinness scandal and a hugely acclaimed three-volume official history of Rolls-Royce, The Magic of a Name.
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