Dambusters Bomb Sight Replicated at BCMC

By John Chalmers

A unique project of the Bomber Command Museum of Canada at Nanton, Alberta, has seen the making of 30 copies of the simple wooden bomb sight used by the Royal Air Force 617 Squadron in the famous “Dambusters” bombing raid of the legendary Operation Chastise in May 1943.

01 Karl Kjarsgaard

Karl Kjarsgaard, a director of the Bomber Command Museum, is seen with the prototype bomb sight replica which was duplicated in 30 copies. (Chalmers photo)

Created as a fund raising project to support the museum’s expansion, the bomb sights were made as part of the museum’s commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the famous raid on  the Möhne, Eder and Sorpe dams on rivers of the Ruhr valley in Germany in the Second World War.

02 Dambuster bomb sight

Meticulous work by volunteers at the museum has produced replicas of the original, exact in every detail. In January 2015, an original bomb sight used in the 1943 raid sold in England for £41,000 – equal to nearly $72,000 Canadian today! (Chalmers photo)

“Of the 133 air crew members who served in the Dambusters raid, 30 were Canadians, so each one of our replicas commemorates one of those men,” says Karl Kjarsgaard. “The replicas are being made available to collectors, museums and individuals who wish to acquire a significant artefact and symbol of the bombing operation.”

Each replica bomb sight is signed on a sighting-arm component by S/L (Ret.) George Leonard “Johnny” Johnson MBE, DFM. Johnny was a bomb aimer on the Dambusters raid and is the last living member of RAF 617 Squadron. He flew on the crew of RCAF W/C Joe McCarthy, DSO, DFC, CD.

The bomb sights are available direct from BCMC. Contact the museum at or call 403-646-2270. A donation of $500 or more will reward you with a numbered and limited edition bomb sight, letter of authenticity, information package and a charitable donation receipt for income tax deduction.

03 Components

04 Components

The two photos above show the various components used in making the bomb sights. The small piece with the hole in it is the eyepiece used by the bomb aimer. (Kjarsgaard photos)

“Great assistance in our BCMC bombsight project came from Bob Mehi, a historian in Ontario,” says Karl Kjarsgaard. “Bob researched and built a prototype of the Dambuster bombsight for our museum, which was sent to us in early May 2018. We have built the replica dam sights as part of our tribute to the Dambusters this summer.” The bomb sight replicas were built by volunteers at BCMC, spearheaded by Ken Hill, and assisted by Karl, Rick Everett, and Brian Wynker.

In addition to producing the bomb sights, the Bomber Command Museum recognizes the participation of Canadians by placing the markings of a Lancaster on which three Canadians flew in the raid. During the summer, the museum’s Lancaster will bear the call letters AJ-M of 617 Squadron Lancaster ED925, piloted on the raid by F/L John Hopgood DFC.

05 Lancater at BCMC

The Lancaster at the Bomber Command Museum of Canada is seen on June 3 with all engines running in the visit of CAHS members to the museum during the 2018 annual convention. The bomb doors have been removed so that a bouncing bomb replica can be displayed beneath the aircraft this summer. (Chalmers photo)

For more info about the Dambusters, click here. A search on the internet for Dambusters will bring up many references and videos. For info on the dam sight itself, click here or likewise search the internet.

For details about the August 24-25 commemorative weekend at the Bomber Command Museum, click here. Run-ups of the Lancaster engines, a Fleet Fawn engine run-up, and engine run of a Bristol Hercules engine of a Halifax bomber will be among the attractions at the museum’s annual big August weekend. Ted Barris, author of The Dambusters: Canadian Airmen and the Secret Raid Against Nazi Germany, will be the featured speaker and again the RCAF 4 Wing Band from Cold Lake AB will be performing.