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New plaque to honour Dambusters' leader

By West Briton  |  Posted: May 10, 2012

  • Wing Commander Guy Gibson.

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PORTHLEVEN is set to remember war hero Guy Gibson, the man who led the Dambusters' raid, next Wednesday.

RAF personnel will be marching through the port and, weather permitting, there will be a fly-past.

The event will mark the unveiling of a plaque commemorating Gibson's exploits, commissioned by Porthleven Town Council.

Mark Berryman, Mayor of Porthleven, said a contingent from RNAS Culdrose would also be attending, as well as a former commanding officer of 617 Squadron, from which Gibson and his men launched the famous raid on Germany's industrial heartland in 1943.

Gibson's mother was born in Porthleven and he visited the town often. There is a memorial to him in the port's cemetery

Councillors were shocked to discover 18 months ago that people – including some of their colleagues – were unaware where it was.

It was then decided to look into providing a more prominent memorial, although the council was also aware that in the 1980s a similar suggestion led to a bitter row between members of the then council.

It was therefore agreed that no council taxpayers' money should be used on any new memorial.

Instead, local film-maker Vic Strike, whose film about Gibson has proved very popular, put on a special showing of it to raise the money.

The result was a bronze plaque which will be fixed to the seaward side of the Bickford Smith Institute and unveiled at noon on Wednesday.

Mr Berryman said: "There will be personnel from RAF St Mawgan on hand and as far as we are aware they will be marching to the Institute. RNAS Culdrose personnel will be there, too."

Local people are being asked to attend the unveiling which will be undertaken by the mayor. They are being requested to gather outside the Institute building from 11.30am.

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