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Barnes Wallis Dambuster by Peter Pugh

A brand new biography of the great British inventor immortalised in The Dambusters.

Barnes Wallis is best known for his invention of the Bouncing Bombs which destroyed the Mohne, Eder, Sorpe and Ennepe dams in the Ruhr in May 1943. The mission, carried out by 617 Squadron led by Guy Gibson VC, was a complete success even if some have argued since that the influence on the war was more psychological than physical. It remains one of the most exciting events of the Second World War, with its bold vision, Wallis's persistence in pushing it through against considerable opposition, and its courageous and skilful execution.

The attack on the dams was not Barnes Wallis's only achievement in his long career as an engineer and scientist. His first notable contribution was on the R80 airship during the First World War, followed by further work on the airships R100 and R101 during the 1920s. He made valuable design contributions on the Wellesley and, more importantly, on the Wellington bomber which served the RAF throughout the Second World War. More Wellingtons were produced than any other British bomber. Following the success of the bouncing bomb and its naval equivalent, TALLBOY, Wallis then produced the big bomb known as Grand Slam. Altogether few others made as big a contribution to winning the Second World War as Wallis.

As well as being a brilliant engineer and scientist, Wallis found time for an active private life, including a lively acquaintance with the formidable birth-control campaigner Marie Stopes. Her son Harry married, against her wishes - her genes were not good enough - Wallis's daughter, Mary.

Peter Pugh read History at Cambridge and is the author of more than 30 books on business and history, including the seminal guide to the Guinness scandal and a hugely acclaimed three-volume official history of Rolls-Royce, The Magic of a Name.

Code No. 012567, 200 pages, ISBN 1840466855, $50.00

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