A gravestone honouring 'Dambusters' dog' at RAF Scampton has been replaced to remove racist name

A gravestone at RAF Scampton honouring the Dambusters' dog, whose name is a racial slur, has now been replaced.
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The 617 Squadron's mascot, a black Labrador, died on the day of its famous "bouncing bomb" raid on German dams in 1943.

A memorial at the Dambusters' World War Two base, RAF Scampton, bearing the dog's name was now been removed.

The RAF said it did not want to give prominence to an offensive term that went against its ethos.

The dog's name has been removedThe dog's name has been removed
The dog's name has been removed

An RAF spokesman said: "As part of an ongoing review of its historical assets, the RAF have replaced the gravestone of Guy Gibson’s dog at RAF Scampton.

"The new gravestone tells the story of Guy Gibson’s dog, but the name has been removed."

Sir Edward Leigh, the Conservative MP for Gainsborough, has written to the station commander of RAF Scampton about the changes to the historic grave.

He said: “Undoubtedly we are both more sensitive and more sensible today when it comes to the delicateness of racialist and derogatory terminology which had been used with unfortunate informality in the past.

“It is perfectly understandable that this is a tricky matter to which there are no simple or easy solutions.

“I am, however, very fearful of our ability today to erase or re-write history.

“The past needs to be explained, taught about, and learned from – not re-written. Wing Cdr Gibson’s dog was much loved by the Dambusters and was killed while he was on a raid risking his life to defend our country.”

Sir Edward inquired as to what consultations the RAF had undertaken regarding the grave, as well as what measures they plan to take to preserve the heritage of RAF Scampton as it ends its service and is closed.

The old gravestone is being kept in a safe location while the Air Historical Branch decides what to do with it.

Kris Hendrix, campaigns manager at the RAF Museum, told the BBC the dog was a "drinking buddy" for squadron members and would consume litres of beer before passing out.

He was hit by a car and killed on May 16, 1943, but his death was kept from the airmen as it was feared they might see it as a bad omen.

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