Photos courtesy of Crowsnest Museum and Herald Contributor
12,000 pound bombs used
by 617 Lancasters
Sometimes the best part of a story can be right under your nose and you don’t see it. Such is the case with my recent column “The Incredible Bouncing Bomb.” In it I mentioned that of the 617 Squadron survivors there were 15 Canadians, seven of which were from Alberta. A living squadron survivor from Rocky Mountain House named Fred Sutherland attended the recent 70th anniversary commemoration of this event in Nanton.
Well it turns out that in the picture that the paper ran of the 15 Canadian survivors there is one man who has a very local connection to the Pass. Dead center in the front row of the shot is a man by the name of Daniel Revie Walker who was born in Blairmore in 1917. Revie Walker D.F.C. C. D. enrolled in the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1940 and eventually joined the Dam Busters squadron as a navigation leader on a team led by Pilot David Shannon of the Royal Australian Air Force. Their plane, whose call sign was L Leather, attacked the Eder Dam that night. Two of his crew mates were eventually awarded the Victoria Cross.
Revie completed three operational tours and was the very first Canadian of the Second World War to be decorated by Queen Mother Elizabeth with the bar to the DFC (Distinguished Flying Cross) and the DFC itself was presented to him King George VI. Walker did the navigational planning for 617 Squadron when it attacked and sank the monster battleship Tirpitz on November 12, 1944 in Norwegian waters. That attack used 12,000 pound “Tallboy” bombs. Tirpitz was the sister ship to the Bismarck, had fifteen inch guns and was a formidable threat that the Allies spent over a year mounting large scale air raid attacks on until she was finally sunk.
Revie Walker was repatriated to Canada in 1945 and held assignments in Calgary, Winnipeg, Vancouver, Alaska, Alabama, Ottawa, Washington State and Prince Edward Island. He retired from the forces in 1967 and made his last trip to England in 1977 to honour a then 90 year old Sir Barnes Wallis the designer of the bouncing bomb.