July 19, 2018

Dambuster pilot’s medal helps build life-saving dam serving 95,000 people

THE BRAVERY of a Dambuster pilot will help raise nearly £50,000 to build a life-saving dam.

Flight Lieutenant John ‘Hoppy’ Hopgood’s Distinguished Flying Cross and Bar was sold at auction yesterday for £24,000 and his family have donated the money to the charity WaterAid.

The collection fetched less than the pre-sale estimate of £40,000 but the Government has pledged to match the sale price.

This means £48,000 will go towards building a dam in Uganda which will give 95,000 people access to clean water.

Flt Lt Hopgood had already won the DFC twice for taking part in more than 40 raids when he was chosen by legendary 617 Squadron chief, Guy Gibson for the RAF’s most famous raid in 1943.

He received his medals from King George VI at Buckingham Palace just weeks before he died and never got to wear them.

But he died on the raid to smash vital German dams and flood the Ruhr industrial heartland.

The hero’s sister Elizabeth Bell, 92, and her daughter Jenny Elmes hope he would have been proud of the fitting legacy being left in his name.

Mrs Elmes, from Wareham, Dorset, took possession of her uncle’s DFC and Bar, wartime letters and RAF logbooks four years ago after his sister Marna died.

Mrs Elmes, 63, said: “We are a large family and it wouldn’t have been right if the medals ended up going down one side of the family in the future.

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