Enemy coast ahead, skipper black and white version
16 May 1943: Wing Commander Guy Gibson, flying AJ-G ("G - George"), ED932/G, leads the first wave of Lancaster bombers over the North Sea and into occupied Holland on the way to bomb the Ruhr dams in Operation Chastise - the Dambusters raid. The Upkeep depth charge or "bouncing bomb" is slung beneath the specially modified Type 464 (Provisioning) aircraft.
The mission was flown at extremely low level but they rose to clear the dunes along the coast and to get their bearings: a stronger than expected wind over the sea had pushed them to the south of their intended track. Flying alongside Gibson were John “Hoppy” Hopgood in AJ-M, ED925/G and Harold “Micky” Martin in AJ-P, ED909/G.
Note: I have seen other pictures portraying this moment with the nearly full Moon *behind* the aircraft, shining off the sea. By my reckoning, double checked with others, it was actually ahead of them to their right (on a bearing of about 160˚).