Phil Martin - 61 and 617 Squadrons

Lauren and Gareth's Wedding

Owen and Julie in the UK

France 2013.


My father, Phil Martin was a pilot on Lancaster bombers in World War 2. He served with distinction with 617 Squadron, otherwise known as the "Dambusters", a moniker derived from the famous raids on the dams in the Ruhr Valley of Germany in 1943. Phil was invited to join 617 after that raid. You couldn't volunteer to join 617, it was by invitation only.

Dad peacefully passed away on 25 January 2010, He has now gone to join Mum who passed away in 2003.

617 squadron was and still is, considered the elite squadron of Bomber Command, and for the time that Phil and his crew were in that squadron, they held the record for the greatest bombing accuracy. As a result of that, and the dangerous missions they were sent on, Phil came out with a Distinguished Flying Cross and Bar.

For those interested, or doing research, I have photographed Phil's Logbook. It is in three sections, training, 61 Squadron and 617 Squadron. The files are zipped for easy download. They are high resolution to ensure readable quality. You may use these images but please let me know how and where, and include a credit. Thanks.

Training (72Mb)

61Squadron All the pages are displayed here. Download the zip file with all hi-res pages here

617Squadron As above, click each photo for the full resolution or download the entire section here

I have some footage of a B1 Special Lancaster dropping a Grand Slam bomb, 22,000lb or 10 ton. This particular footage is of a raid on the Bielefeld Viaduct but it is the same aircraft Phil flew on a raid on the Arnsberg Viaduct some 5 days later. I did find some footage on youtube that shows a brief part of the Arnsberg raid here.

Grand Slam going down It is 32Mb and 1'22" duration.

I have a PDF file of an article by Colin Burgess who was a Qantas steward at the time. The article is called Australia's Dambusters and was originally published in the Qantas crew magazine "Transit".

The parts applicable to my father were mostly written by his bomb aimer, Don Day, a man with an amazing memory for detail. This article is not intended to glorify war, quite the opposite. You only have to ask one who has experienced the fear about the futility of war. That said, they had a job to do, and did it with great courage and skill.

Download the article here It is a PDF file, zipped for easy download.

Colin has since written a complete book, based on the article but obviously in greater depth. The cover is of Phil's Lancaster B1 Special, a specially stripped down model capable of carrying the 22,000 pound "Grand Slam" bomb. The Grand Slam is still to this day the biggest conventional bomb ever used in wartime.

Click on the photo for the publishers site.

Another book has just been published in the UK. This book is partly written, and entirely inspired by Andy Lee. Andy's grandfather was a mechanic with 617 squadron and worked on one of Dad's aircraft. The book is a dedication to Andy's grandfather, Basil Pearson, and covers all the missions undertaken by the squadron during world war 2.

Again, click on the book cover to link to the publishers website.


Medals awarded to Phillip Martin. Left - Right. D.F.C. and Bar, the 1939 - 1945 Star, The France and Germany Star, The Defence Medal, The War medal, The Australia Service Medal.

  Click for an enlargement

  The emblem for 617 Squadron. The motto "Apres moi le deluge" is French for "After me, the deluge"

If you require any information about Phil's dambuster service, please email me. My email is on the home page.