Les Munro

Les Munro is the last surviving original dam buster; an incredible feat to live so long given the incredibly high mortality of the missions. 

The story is well known (if you care). Royal Squadron 617 were known as the Dambusters, their May 17 mission in 1943 ("Operation Chastise") was to bomb German dams and slow Hitler's war machine.

The squadron was to drop the Barnes Wallis designed bouncing bombs from a specific altitude and speed. A mad plan that worked due to the incredible bravery of the young men prepared to fly the mission.

Movies have been made and books have been written but this incredible story does not share the same lofty heights as Ed Hillary or the All Blacks, even though, in many ways the bravery and legacy are greater.

Munro (now 96) was Squadron Leader on that mission and the story of this humble man is incredible - prepared to sell his medals to help fund the maintenance on a memorial, half a world away, dedicated to his fallen comrades (130 died in 15 months) out of a personal sense of duty.

As if he hadn't done enough.

Men like this make me proud and embarrassed to be a New Zealander in the same breath.

We are lucky to live in this great country. men like this made it possible.

It's a shame he didn't have a little bit more support with his latest fight.

Dam Buster medals presented to Motat.

Les Munro | Dispatch