Memorial To Dambusters Dog Changed To Remove His Racist Name

Wing Commander Guy Gibson's faithful pooch was renamed 'Trigger' in the film retelling of the raid.
Wing Commander Guy Gibson, Commander Of 617 Squadron (Dambusters) At Scampton, Lincolnshire, 22 July 1943,
Wing Commander Guy Gibson, Commander Of 617 Squadron (Dambusters) At Scampton, Lincolnshire, 22 July 1943,
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The headstone of a grave to the Dambusters’ dog – whose name is a racial slur – has been altered.

The 617 Squadron, based at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire, undertook a low-level night attack on German dams in 1943, probably the most famous raid in the history of the force.

Wing Commander Guy Gibson used his dog’s name as a code word to say the dam has been breached, with the Labrador Retriever dying on the same night as the raid.

The headstone bearing the dog’s name was removed, while film versions of the The Dam Busters have either edited out the name or given him the moniker Trigger instead.

617 Squadron (Dambusters) At Scampton, Lincolnshire, 22 July 1943.
617 Squadron (Dambusters) At Scampton, Lincolnshire, 22 July 1943.
IWM/Getty Images via Getty Images

Conservative former minister Sir Edward Leigh, whose constituency includes Scampton, wrote to the RAF station commander saying: “Undoubtedly we are both more sensitive and more sensible today when it comes to the delicateness of racialist and derogatory terminology which had been used with unfortunate informality in the past.

“It is perfectly understandable that this is a tricky matter to which there are no simple or easy solutions.”

“I am, however, very fearful of our ability today to erase or re-write history,”

“The past needs to be explained, taught about, and learned from – not re-written. Wing Cdr Gibson’s dog was much loved by the Dambusters and was killed while he was on a raid risking his life to defend our country.”