Memorial honors Dam Buster fete at Herne Bay Noted for his invention of the 'bouncing bomb' used to destroy German dams in WWII, Sir Barnes Wallis was honored by the Herne Bay Town Partners with life-size, memorial bronze created by Tom White. The statue is part of the Herne Bay Cultural Trail and overlooks the shores where Wallis conducted tests of his 'bouncing bomb.'
Born in 1887 and trained as an aircraft engineer, Wallis wanted
to help shorten World War II and focused on known German stores of energy and industrial vulnerability. The Mohne, Sorpe and Eder dams were attractive targets for the expected collateral damage caused by dam breaks to mines, steel factories and other industries. But bombs of the day would have little impact on the massive structures.
In 1942, Sir Barnes Wallis came up with idea of a bomb that would be dropped upstream of the dam, ricochet over the reservoir (and anti-torpedo nets), and strike the dam wall. Planes dropping the specially designed 6,500-lb. bombs would need to fly about 200 feet off the water for the attacks to be successful. Testing was done near Herne Bay, Kent, England. A remake of the "Dam Busters" movie is in production.
In May 1943, several "dam busters" were dropped on each target, breaching two and seriously damaging the third. The water that was released destroyed 25 bridges, 11 factories and coal mines, and numerous pumping stations and electrical generators. The story of the wartime project is depicted in the 1955 British movie "The Dam Busters".
"The Cultural Trail has 18 historical locations around the town and the jewel in our crown is the lifesize statue of Sir Barnes Wallis. We spent a long time looking at different sculptures around the world and were so impressed with Tom White's work that we commissioned him to produce the statue." — Herne Bay Town Partners