The London Mint Office, a trusted and respected partner for a large number of British coin collectors and mints across the world, has made a special donation to Porthcawl Museum to mark the area’s strong links with the famous Dambusters Raid, which flew 75 years ago during WWII.
The London Mint Office prides itself on putting history into the hands of its customers, and it did just that when their resident Historian and Cultural Ambassador Justin Robinson presented Porthcawl Museum with a special commemorative Operation Chastise Mission Pack & Limited Edition One Pound Coin. The pack contains accurate replicas of the blueprints, photographs, maps, plans, and other documents that once briefed Squadron 617 for their historic night-time mission over Nazi Germany. These will be displayed at the museum for the local community together with a beautiful commemorative coin struck to mark the anniversary.
The event also welcomed Belinda Brown, the second cousin of one of the heroes of the Dambusters Raid, Gordon Yeo. She brought along some treasured family mementoes to honour the Barry man, who was the only Welshman to take part in the mission. Belinda Brown said: “It’s an honour to be invited to talk about my second cousin Gordon Yeo and the part that he played in the Dambusters mission. I’ve spent years researching his story and so it’s wonderful to see his memory lives on thanks to The London Mint Office’s work and Porthcawl Museum. As part of his tribute, I am donating a part of the plane wreckage that was salvaged to Porthcawl Museum.”
South Wales has a unique connection to the daring Dambusters Mission, which successfully breached German dams with a new ‘bouncing bomb’. No less than fourteen of the sixteen aircraft involved in the mission, codenamed Operation Chastise, included crew who had trained at RAF Saint Athan in the Vale of Glamorgan, and RAF Stormy Down, near Pyle.
Justin Robinson said: “Gordon Yeo was born in Barry in 1922, and joined the fledgling 617 Squadron as a gunner. He was the youngest member of the crew that successfully breached the Möhne Dam. Their actions under heavy fire caused catastrophic flooding in the region and major disruption to the Nazi war machine. Sadly, all seven crew members lost their lives when their Lancaster plane was shot down over the Dutch coast as they tried to return home. Gordon was just twenty years old.
“The London Mint Office is delighted to present this commemorative pack and coin to the Museum to pay tribute to Gordon Yeo’s bravery in volunteering for one of the most dangerous missions of the war, and to remember South Wales’ close ties to the Dambusters.
Rob Taylor, of Porthcawl Museum said: “The Operation Chastise Mission Pack will enhance the small exhibition that Porthcawl Museum already has to the Dambusters as part of the RAF 100 display presently on show. The Museum is in the process of obtaining an authentic RAF Hut to make a permanent RAF exhibition in the grounds of the Museum and this pack will then become a valued part of that project.”