Worksop man played a part in Dambusters

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A Worksop man who was one of the last remaining members of the Dambusters squadron died before the 70th anniversary of the famous bouncing bomb raid.

Ellison George Colton was a member of the ground crew servicing Lancaster Bombers in one of the most famous RAF squadrons which was formed with much secrecy at Scampton, Lincolnshire, in March 1943 to undertake one operation.

Under the command of Guy Gibson, it was to breach three enormous dams in the Ruhr that were vital to the German war effort.

Mr Colton served as a corporal with Bomber Command 617 squadron. He died in January this year aged 92.

He helped to modify and maintain some of the 19 Lancasters which carried out the raids with a mine specially designed by the Derbyshire scientist and inventor Barnes Wallis to be dropped from exactly 60ft. It was known as the bouncing bomb. The unit spent weeks practising for Operation Chastise by low-level flying over dams and reservoirs in Derbyshire.

Mr Colton was the elder son of Ellison and Beatrice Colton.

His father was an engineer. At school he met Alice Scott whom he married in 1943.

For a year after leaving school he worked for an insurance company, but as the prospect of the Second World War approached Mr Colton volunteered in 1938 for the RAF because he desperately wanted to fly. However, his eyesight let him down and he was assigned to ground crew.

After the war, he joined the Post Office in Worksop, then moved to Wakefield in 1962 as assistant head postmaster.

He kept in touch with his old squadron as a member of the 617 Association, attending members’ days and events.