THE Hildenborough History Society marked the 75th anniversary of the Dam Busters raid by unveiling a blue plaque at the home of one of the airmen.
Brian Goodale, who was born in the village on June 12 1919 and lived on Riding Lane until he joined the RAF in 1939. He was a wireless operator for the raid, which took place on the night of May 16-17 1943.
The ceremony was attended by his widow Vera, aged 96, and son Simon, who travelled down from Bury St Edmunds for the occasion.
Squadron Leader Goodale was working as an instructor when he was posted to 617 squadron at Scampton to take part in Operation Chastise.
The 19 Lancaster bombers were equipped with purpose-built ‘bouncing bombs’ invented by Barnes Wallis, which were designed to breach the Mohne and Edersee dams.
This caused catastrophic flooding in the Ruhr valley, damaging the major industrial zone.
Tall and thin with a slight stoop, Goodale was nicknamed ‘Concave’. He served a full tour of 28 operations in the Whitleys of 51 Squadron and received the Distinguished Flying Cross and bar.
In Paul Brickhill’s book The Dam Busters he is described as having lost his trousers on the train down to Buckingham Palace to be decorated for the raid, and was locked in a toilet as an adjutant retrieved the clothing from some card players.
He stayed in the RAF after the war and retired as a Squadron Leader in 1961.
He had two sons, and went into business and worked for the armaments manufacturers Short Brothers in Northern Ireland.
Goodale died in 1977 in Bury St Edmunds and is buried in Hawstead, Suffolk.
PICTURE: ON PARADE: Vera Goodale, Brian’s widow, and his son Simon with Pilot Officer Tom Bristow of the 2520 Tonbridge Air Cadets on Riding Lane