Dambusters: building the bouncing bomb (2011)

Bomb drop over the sea © Tom Cook

Bomb drop over the sea © Tom Cook

In this documentary, Cambridge engineer, Dr Hugh Hunt, attempts to recreate Barnes Wallis’ famous Second World War bouncing bomb, and blow up a specially constructed dam in Canada. 

Production Company: Omnifilm Entertainment, Windfall Films

Kent Filming Locations: Reculver Beach

The famous bouncing bomb used in the Second World War has gone down in history, and a 1950’s film carried the ‘Dambusters’ into British legend. However the science behind the bomb was not so well preserved and many of the vital working calculations of aircraft designer Barnes Wallis have been lost over time. 

Now, Cambridge engineer Dr Hugh Hunt is going to attempt to solve the puzzle of exactly how Wallis did it.  Starting from scratch, he will rediscover the brilliance of Wallis’s achievement when he tries to hit a dam with a bouncing bomb. The team also visit Reculver Beach.

It is the first time this has been attempted since the war. Hugh will be assisted by dam engineers, explosives experts, mechanics and pilots who specialise in low altitude flying.

If the project is a success, they will release the bomb at the perfect moment, enabling it to bounce across the water onto a specially-constructed 130-foot-wide dam and blow it sky high!

The documentary also interweaves the fascinating historical story of Barnes Wallis and 617 Squadron with this present-tense narrative.

Reculver Beach is a peaceful shingle haven situated within Reculver Country Park. Its key focus is the imposing tower ruins of the former Saxon Church ‘St.Mary’s Church of Reculver’ standing on the remains of a Roman Fort. The beach was once used as a testing ground for the World War II bouncing bomb. Reculver has been used for filming by Lullaby (2007) and The Medusa Touch (1978).

Dambusters: Building the Bouncing Bomb aired in 2011 on Channel 4. 


For more information about filming in Kent: filmoffice@kent.gov.uk

Find out more information about Reculver Beach

MMFor more information about Kent’s Filming History please visit our Movie Map: https://kentfilmoffice.co.uk/kent-movie-map/moviemap-live-2/