Dambusters: The Spitfire 7s stop at the iconic Derwent Valley Reservoirs during their exhausting 500 mile bike ride

TO COMMEMORATE yesterday’s 70th Anniversary of the famous Dambusters story, the RAF Spitfires Rugby 7s team visited the iconic Derwent Valley Reservoirs and Dam on their way to the London 7s last weekend.

The stop-off was a welcome relief during a gruelling 500mile charity cycle. The team that were named after the iconic spitfire aircraft rode from Glasgow to Twickenham to coincide with the final two legs of the IRB World Sevens Series and planned the visit to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the Dambusters’ Operation Chastise. The aim of the Spitfires’ charity bike ride was to raise £10,000 for their charity partners, India-based tag rugby charity Khelo Rugby and the RAF Benevolent Fund.

As well as visiting the dam, the group also stopped during their ride to take part in a training session with the Leicester Tigers Academy. As well as that, England, Lions and RAF legend Rory Underwood joined the group for a day’s cycling.

Get on your bike and ride: three of the airmen take a break

Derwent, famous for being used by pilots of 617 Squadron to practice for Operation Chastise, more commonly known as the Dambusters Raids on dams in Germany during World War II, provided a fitting stop for the Spitfires team, all of whom are serving RAF airmen. They also sported special edition camouflage rugby shirts, designed by Canterbury. The shirt takes its design directly from the classic spitfire markings and will take pride of place in the Dambusters Museum.

Spitfires Team Manager, Flight Lieutenant Nick Monahan, a Puma pilot currently based at RAF Benson, commented, “Stopping off at the Derwent Dam as part of our 500 mile charity cycle and remembering the brave airmen who took to the skies for Operation Chastise was a very nostalgic moment for the whole Spitfires squad. We are very honoured to have our commemorative Canterbury shirt displayed in the Museum.” 

Yesterday, on the official anniversary date of Operation Chastise, there was a fly-past at the Derwent Valley reservoirs of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) that includes the Lancaster Bomber and a Spitfire.

The Spitfire 7s will next make an outing at the Bournemouth 7s between the May 24 and 26.

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