The last Canadian veteran who played a part in a key WW2 bombing raid has died at the age of 95.
Fred Sutherland of Rocky Mountain House, Alberta was part of of Squadron 617, also known as the Dambusters.
As the CBC reports, the unit dropped new high-tech “bouncing bombs” in 1943 on a German dam. That dam played a large factor in Adolf Hitler’s industrial war machine and taking it out would prove to pay dividends.
Fifty-three of the 133 airmen were killed and a minimum of 1,300 others died from the bombings and subsequent floods on the ground.
While the raid did result in a large number of civilian deaths, during a ceremony in 2018 where Sutherland was honoured, he said he would do it again.
“If you think something’s right, you’re going to fight for it,” he said at a portrait unveiling. “I don’t know the answer, but I know I’d do it again, even knowing what it was like.”
Later on in the war, Sutherland spent three months trying to escape Nazi-occupied Europe after he bailed out of a bomber.
He was married to his wife Margaret for 73 years before she passed in 2017. He had three children.
A Dambusters blog post celebrating Sutherland’s life reads, “Fred was a lovely man – friendly, courteous and generous with his time. He never forgot that he was lucky to have survived the war while many of his comrades did not. He will be much missed by all who knew him, especially his family, to whom we send our deepest condolences.”
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