The life of Ripley’s most famous son is to be celebrated at a special event next week - marking 125 years since his birth.
Sir Barnes Wallis, who devised the bouncing bomb used to destroy German hydro-electric dams, was born at Butterley Hill on September 26, 1887, and grew to become one of Britain’s most prolific inventors.
His creation, immortalised in the film the Dambusters, was vital to the allied forces gaining victory during World War II.
On Wednesday, September 26, dignitaries, including Sir Barnes Wallis’s eldest daughter Mary Stopes-Rowe, are to plant a commemorative tree at the Barnes Wallis recreation ground, off Moseley Street, in Ripley.
Speaking on behalf of Amber Valley borough Council, which is organising the event, cabinet member for developing places to live and work, Cllr Liz Bowley, said: “Ripley maintains a proud association with Barnes Wallis.
“We are supporting this event so that future generations can be inspired to develop an understanding of the role he played in history – and to hopefully emulate his achievements in engineering.”
Mrs Stopes-Rowe is to join members of the Barnes Wallis Trust to give a lecture about his life and work at a special event at St Joseph’s Church Hall, in Ripley, between 2pm to 4pm on September 26.
Tickets for the event have sold out, but the public are invited to attend the special tree planting ceremony at 11.45am on September 26 at the Barnes Wallis recreation ground, off Moseley Street.
On Thursday, September 27, at 12pm, Mrs Stopes-Rowe will give another lecture at the council chamber at Ripley Town Hall.
The public are invited to attend this event. People need to sign in at the main reception before going to the Chamber where a special exhibition to mark his life and career will also be displayed.
He left school at 17 to start work at Thames Engineering Works in London, before training as a marine engineer.
The Royal Air Force used Wallis’s bouncing bomb for attacks on the Möhne, Eder, and Sorpe dams in the Ruhr area.
The raid, code-named Operation Chastise in May, 1943, was immortalised in Paul Brickhill’s 1951 book The Dam Busters and the 1955 film of the same name.
The Mohne and Eder dams were successfully breached causing damage to German factories and disrupting hydro-electric power. Wallis later produced the Tallboy and the Grand Slam deep-penetration earthquake bombs.
During the 1960s, he developed ideas for an “all-speed” aircraft.