Squadron Leader Les Munro, Dambuster pilot – obituary

John Leslie Munro was born on April 5 1919 at Gisborne, New Zealand, where his Scottish father had emigrated in 1903. He worked as a farmer before joining the Royal New Zealand Air Force in July 1941.

He trained initially in New Zealand and then in Canada, where he completed his qualification as a pilot. On arrival in England he trained on bombers before joining No 97 Squadron, which had recently been re-equipped with the Lancaster.

After an operation to drop mines in the sea-lanes to German occupied ports, Munro attacked industrial cities in Germany during the so-called “Battle of the Ruhr” when Essen, Dusseldorf and Cologne were among his targets. He also flew on two raids to Berlin and attacked targets in Italy. He and his crew were approaching the end of their tour of operations (30 sorties) when volunteers were called for to form a new squadron for a “special operation”. Munro discussed it with his crew and they agreed to apply. A few days later, on March 25, they arrived at Scampton to join “X” Squadron on its formation, later to become No 617.

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  • Brett_McS

    The Kiwis were well represented in the Battle of Britain and later. Australia had a bit of bother with the Japanese, which split our attention. The divide was seen in my own family: My father went to Britain (becoming a Lancaster pilot, shot down over Germany, escaping back to England with the help of the Dutch underground) while his brother went to fight the Japanese on the Kokoda trail in Papua New Guinea – one of the most brutal engagements of WWII. I don’t know which one had the worst of it: both were very rough times.

    • stinkingjews

      And now Australia is overrun with brown untermensch

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  • stinkingjews

    If this guy could only see Europe and England now- run by jews and full of muzzies- he should have fought for AH instead

  • AlanUK

    The raid, along with the work behind it, was portrayed in a film starring Richard Todd and Michael Redgrave, “The Dam Busters”. Made in 1955 the links with the reality of the situation in wartime were still strong. For example, the technical advisor was Group Captain John Whitworth who served with 617 squadron, for whom the Dam Busters raid was their first mission.

    There are plans to do a 21st century remake.

    An article in the Daily Mail by Sir Andrew Roberts is well worth a read

    http://omnifeed.com/article/www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3185530/Damn-Madness-Dambuster-squadron-pilot-dies-historian-says-planned-remake-legendary-film-captured-unique-British-heroism-disaster.html

  • Norman_In_New_York

    I read of 617’s exploits as a boy and thrilled to them. 617 later dropped Grand Slams, the largest convention bombs until the Bunker Busters, on Germany in 1945 and this hastened the end of the war.

  • Maggat

    Clear skies, and thank you.

  • AlanUK

    He was the last pilot. There are 2 aircrew still alive.

  • Everyone Else

    boys today (our future men) pee sitting down

  • Edubeat

    Unfortunately they don’t make them like that anymore. Today we have to settle for the likes of girlymen with their rainbow flags.protesting anything and everything. But I digress.