The last wartime member of the famous Dambusters Squadron has died aged 100.
Lawrence Goodman – who held a pilot’s licence until the age of 93 – played a major role in as many as 30 missions against key Nazi targets.
He joined the RAF in 1942 and moved to the celebrated 617 Squadron in 1944.
Goodman helped bomb the Arnsberg Viaduct and Hitler’s Eagles Nest base at Berchtesgaden.
He joined a year after Operation Chastise of May 16-17, 1943, in which Wg Cdr Guy Gibson led 617 Squadron on an audacious Lancaster bomber raid to destroy three dams in the Ruhr valley using Barnes Wallis’s bouncing bombs.
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The raids were immortalised in 1955 film The Dam Busters.
As a Jewish pilot, Goodman knew he could not be captured by the Nazis if shot down.
But Goodman, nicknamed Benny after the “King of Swing” band leader, went on to attack the Nazis’ Tirpitz battleship – twice.
After the war he rejoined the air force and retired as a squadron leader in 1964, having flown 22 different types of aircraft.
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The London-born hero became a leading light in the battle against anti-Semitism and helped highlight Jews’ roles in the air force.
He helped Chelsea football club’s campaign against racism and was to be guest of honour at the Battle of Britain gala this September.
In 2017, the Republic of France appointed him a Chevalier of the Legion d’Honneur.
Maggie Appleton, CEO of the RAF Museum, said: “He supported us in sharing the incredible story of Jewish servicemen and women during the war, and the brave airmen who were in a particularly perilous situation should they have been captured.
“Benny was a special man who lived a fruitful life and brought joy and inspiration to many.”
Still dubbed The Dambusters to this day, 617 Squadron now leads Britain’s war against enemies such as ISIS, flying the RAF’s F35B fighter bombers.