Guy Gibson’s goddaughter has become the first relative of the Dambusters heroes to speak out against plans to convert their historic RAF Scampton base into an asylum seeker centre.
Lynne Cox, 79, whose father flew with VC-winner Gibson, says converting the landmark to the 1943 bouncing bomb raid will ‘sully its history’.
The Home Office plans to convert the former Lincolnshire RAF station into a camp for up to 2,000 asylum seekers.
Mrs Cox said: ‘I do feel for the refugees that need to be housed, but this is not the place for them.’
A High Court battle is already looming over the plans which local council bosses argue will harm plans for a £300 million regeneration of the site.
Lynne Cox, 79, whose father flew with VC-winner Gibson, says converitng the RAF base will ‘sully its history’
Heroic Wing Commander Guy Gibson (centre) led 617 Squadron of the Royal Air Force on the night of May 16-17 in 1943
Historians have also blasted the government’s plans for the site due to its links with the Dambusters squadron.
Fifty-three airmen were killed in the famous mission to attack three German dams on May 16 and 17, 1943.
‘It is vital to preserve the memory of those courageous men and women who gave their all for their country and not sully it all with housing refugees,’ Mrs Cox said.
‘I would like to put my name to the save Scampton plight and, as a goddaughter of Guy Gibson, put some credibility to the campaign.
‘I am only doing this in the hope that my connection to the heroes of Scampton will have a small impetus to saving it from destruction.’
Wing Commander Gibson became her godfather in 1944 after befriending her mother Beryl whose first husband was based with Gibson at Scampton.
Beryl, known as Dell, was wed to Francis John Haydon – known commonly as Ian – and Gibson spoke fondly of both in his memoir ‘Enemy Coast Ahead’.
Gibson himself was married to Eve, a showgirl with whom he had become infatuated, but the couple never had any children.
Mrs Cox’s mother Beryl was married to Francis John Haydon (pictured second left) who stationed with Guy Gibson
During the Second World War, crews from 617 Squadron (pictured in front of a Lancaster bomber) flew from Scampton when they staged the Dambusters raid
A view of RAF Scampton in Lincoln as Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick is expected to announce the use of two RAF sites as he tries to reduce the £6.8 million a day the Government says it spends on hotel accommodation
The RAF Scampton (pictured) plans were officially announced in March to house asylum seekers at the RAF base despite talks of a £300 million redevelopment that would see the base used for heritage and leisure activities.
The 26-year-old was killed when his Mosquito plane crashed on its way back from another mission in Germany In 1944.
The Home Office said: ‘Delivering accommodation on surplus military sites will provide cheaper and more suitable accommodation for those arriving in small boats, while helping reduce the use of costly hotels.
‘Not only are these sites more affordable for taxpayers, but they are also more manageable for communities, due to healthcare and catering facilities on site, 24/7 security and the purpose-built, safe and secure accommodation they provide.’
The Administrative Court will consider whether to grant permission for a judicial review at a hearing on 12 and 13 July.
On May 16, 1943, 19 Lancaster bomber crews gathered at a remote RAF station in Lincolnshire for a mission of extraordinary daring – a night-time raid on three heavily defended dams deep in Germany’s industrial heartland.
The dams were heavily fortified and needed the innovative bomb – which bounced on the water over torpedo nets and sank before detonating.
To succeed, the raiders would have to fly across occupied Europe under heavy fire and then drop their bombs with awesome precision from a mere 60ft above the water.
The Mohne and Eder Dams in the industrial heart of Germany were attacked and breached by mines dropped from specially modified Lancasters of No. 617 Squadron.
A Lancaster Bomber on a commemorative flight in 1967 to mark the anniversary of the Dambusters raid that breached the Mohne and Eder dams
The Sorpe dam was was also attacked by two aircraft and damaged.
A fourth dam, the Ennepe was reported as being attacked by a single aircraft (O-Orange), but with no damage.
Up to 1,600 people were estimated to have been killed by floodwaters and eight of the 19 aircraft dispatched failed to return with the loss of 53 aircrew and three taken prisoner of war.
Wg Cdr Guy Gibson, Officer Commanding No. 617 Sqn, is awarded the VC for his part in leading the attack.
The raid, orchestrated by Guy Gibson and the RAF’s 617 ‘Dambuster’ Squadron, was seen as a major victory for the British, and Wing Commander Gibson is recognised as one of the war’s most revered heroes.
Their success was immortalised in the classic 1955 film The Dambusters, its thrilling theme tune and gung-ho script evoking the best of British derring-do.
Wg Cdr Gibson was killed at the age of 26 when his Mosquito plane crashed during a night-time sortie over Germany.
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