Dennis Lucan DFM – another of Mosley’s young men, who nearly fifty years ago, was killed in action in the war which he, as a Blackshirt, had fought just as courageously to prevent. Dennis Lucan enlisted into the RAF in the first year of the war when 16. Did he “fool” his recruiting officers ? we do not know but we do know that his baptism of fire in shot and hail came, not in the RAF, but when as a 13 year old Blackshirt Cadet at the bloody Leeds “Holbeck Moor” Mosley meeting on September 17th 1936.
At 21, ‘dambuster’ DENNIS LUCAN, Distinguished Flying Medal, who joined North East Leeds Branch of British Union when still at school as a Blackshirt Cadet, was blown to pieces above the Rhine.
We do not have details of his early RAF service, or of his citation for his DFM, our story starting with his posting from 17 OTU to 617 Squadron nine months before his death on the 7th October 1944. ‘The ‘Dambusters’, or ‘the suicide squadron’, as named in the RAF, had been formed in 1943 for one special job – to smash the Moehne and Eder Dams, the exploit, with Barnes Wallis’s ‘bouncing bombs’ for which Wing Commander Guy Gibson was awarded the Victoria Cross. The Squadron continued on as a ‘special duties squadron’, all its crewmen being volunteers who could leave it anytime they wished.
A Flight Sergeant and wireless operator, Dennis Lucan’s first operation was as front gunner. It was a pin point attack which devastated the Michelin rubber factory at Clermont Ferrand. He was commissioned and joined the crew with whom be was to die after completing 27 operations during that spring and summer, including the bombing of the German battleship Tirpitz in Norway’s Alten Fiord in the Arctic Circle from a Russian base near Archangel.
By October, the Wermacht had retreated into Germany, and the Americans had halted by the Rhine at the Belfort Gap. Ahead, by the Swiss frontier on the Rhine was the Kembs Dam, and it was believed the Germans would blow the flood-gates to destroy the American assault troops as the stormed the river. The flood-gates had therefore to be smashed before the assault. It could not be high level bombing and direct hits would be useless. Only a low level attack in daylight by 617 Squadron, loaded with Barnes Wallis’s ‘tallboys’ dropped low before the flood-gates to slide into the dam would be effective, and the dam was heavily defended.
And so it was that just after lunch on that autumn day, almost on the anniversary of the birth of his British Union, Blackshirt airman took off from Woodhall Spa with the crew of Lancaster 482, one of the six bomber ‘suicide squad’ who aimed to liquidate the Kembs Dam – or be liquidated.
With them went a second six who were to high level bomb the target to draw the flak, as were a Mustang fighter squadron who with guns and! rockets would dive the flak pits, and as the low level squad approached the target and started their bomb run, low over the water, they observed ahead, the battle over the dam in full spate according to plan.
Four of the Lancasters somehow got through the heavy flak, now directed at them, dropped their bomb load, and they were over the dam and climbing flat out for the safety of the hills.
A fifth Lancaster was hit over the dam, and on fire, dived into the river bank. For Dennis Lucan and the crew of LM482, it was a chance too far. Over shooting the dam they went round for a second run in. A single target for all the guns. They caught it well before the dam with the bomb aboard. And then there was nothing. And silence for a half-hour until a ‘tall-boy’ delayed-action fuse blew, and with a roar a torrent of water rushed through the floodgate.
*The corrupt British Government falsely listed as potential traitors six of Dennis Lucan’s fellow members of North East Leeds Branch of British Union and imprisoned them without charge or trial.