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Born in India and educated at Oxford, Guy Gibson became a pilot with the Royal Air Force in 1937. By the end of 1942, at only 24 years of age, he was the commanding officer of No. 106 Squadron, having completed 73 bombing operations and 99 night fighter operations, distinguishing himself as an outstanding pilot and having been awarded the DFC and the DSO with Bar.
On March 21, 1943 W/C Gibson was ordered to form a new, special squadron to fly Lancasters on a highly-secret operation. As well, he was granted the unprecedented privilege of selecting crews from other squadrons of Bomber Command. 21 pilots and crews had to be chosen. At this point he was only told that the target would require low flying over water at night. Gibson himself was not told for some weeks that the task was no less than the breaching of the Mohne, Eder and Sorpe dams that stored more than 300 million tons of water vitally important to German industry.