Ottley, Pilot Officer W (DFC)

Ottley, Pilot Officer W (DFC)

David Barber (Junior House 1936-38 and Fleur de Lys 1938-42) has contributed the following elaboration of the reasons for the the posthumous award of DFC for his part in the Dam Busters Raid in 1943 to Pilot Officer W Ottley of 617 Squadron:
“In his book The Dam Busters Paul Brickhill made virtually no mention of Ottley so it is good to know more about him. In The Dams Raid Through the Lens, which is an English translation of a German book by Helmuth Euler, the details of Ottley’s last moments are given. In the attack, Ottley’s Lancaster was part of the airborne reserve. Just before Ahlen, he was ordered to attack the Lister dam, but to the north-east of Hamm-Hessen his aircraft came under heavy anti-aircraft fire. The inner starboard engine caught fire immediately and the hydraulic system failed. The tail-gunner, who was the only crew member to survive, remembers Ottley’s last words over the intercom, “I’m sorry, boys, they got us”. Ottley and the rest of his crew are buried at Reichswald War Cemetery. Euler’s book contains a photograph of Ottley’s grave.”


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