The Dambuster’s Ghost Dog

The Dambuster’s Ghost Dog

We cannot have a site full of WWII stories, where thousands lost their lives, without including a few ghost stories to the collection. I will start with the tale of the famous mascot to the Dambusters – Digger the dog.

Dambuster ghost dog

On the night of 16th May 1943, Royal Air Force elite squadron 617 was led by, Wing Commander Guy Gibson (VC).

Guy Gibson

Guy Gibson

The mission, code-named, ‘Operation Chastise’ – was to destroy the Ruhr Valley dams, Germany. But just hours before the Lancaster bombers took off from RAF Scampton, Lincolnshire, Gibson’s loyal, black Labrador, Digger (the squadron’s mascot) was knocked down and killed outside the base. Digger had accompanied the squadron on many training flights and was considered part of the crew. Gibson decided to keep the dog’s death a secret from the rest of the squadron at the time, fearing it may be seen as a bad omen. He ordered his dog to be buried outside his office at midnight when the first bombing was scheduled. (Digger’s grave is still there to this day).

Gibson and Digger

Gibson and Digger

It can only be imagined how demoralised Gibson must have felt during the Dambuster raid, where he used the name of his dog as a code word during the bombings.

Gibson returned from the successful Dambuster raid a national hero and was  awarded the Victoria Cross. But, Gibson (aged 26-yrs-old) would follow his dog to the grave only 16 months later, when his Mosquito crashed over Steenbergen in the Netherlands after a failed attack on Bremen.

The ghost of Gibson’s dog has been reported around RAF Scampton on many occasions. And in 1987, during a Dambuster memorial, a local photographer noticed a black Labrador appear among a school group, who were sitting watching the event and close to Digger’s grave. They tried to make the dog leave but it would not move and stayed until the picture was taken. It then disappeared and was not seen again. None of the children knew the dog or how it got there. And of course, a group of school children with a dog among them, would not have gone unnoticed, or be allowed in such a guarded and operational base.

People were baffled by the dog in the photo and an investigation was carried out after it came to the attention of, Paul Drake – Founder of Paranormal Lincs.

Drake said. ‘After I saw the picture I got in contact with RAF Scampton to see if we could do an investigation. I never dreamed they would say ‘yes’ as it is still an operational base and everything has to go through the base commander. But they have been absolutely brilliant and have welcomed us with open arms.’

Specialist kit was used by the paranormal team, including infra-red lights, proximity sensors and video cameras.

Mr Drake added. ‘We have been up there on three different occasions, each time something different has happened. Something is definitely going on as there has been no power to the office for years. The equipment we use to measure the electromagnetic field in a building is very sensitive, and every time we have been inside Guy Gibson’s office there has been a reaction.’

It seems the faithful dog is still guarding his master’s quarters even after death.

Digger's Grave

Digger’s Grave

(NB: the name of the dog has been changed, using a ‘D’ instead of an ‘N’ as the original name is offensive).

By Jacqui  Stevens – copyright 2013

The Dambuster Raid

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7 Responses to The Dambuster’s Ghost Dog

  1. An intriguing and spooky read, Jacqui. I wonder if spooky is the word; it is almost comforting in a way, and Digger looks so calm and peaceful as the girl reaches out to give a pat. Some more gems like this would be great. Many thanks. Robert.

  2. Jacqui says:

    Thank you Robert, it was my pleasure. Jacqui.

  3. sue robinson says:

    great but I fail to see why you have dared to change the dogs name. He is part of history and neither you nor anyone else has a right to change anything. Apart from that its a great story

  4. Jacqui says:

    I suppose if Peter Jackson can change it for the remake of the Dambuster film then we can too.

  5. fakeagain says:

    The dog was not called Digger, it was called Nigger. That was not intended as a racial slur of any kind, and anyone who is offended can damn well stay offended. Some things in life are more important that “cultural sensitivity”, the memory of those brave young men is more important than making sure we don’t offend anyone.

  6. The intention was not to offend anyone ‘fakeagain’ and that’s the only reason we didn’t use the word ‘Nigger’ (if i must say that). The Dambuster’s remake also chose not to use that name. There really needs no more explanation why that word is offensive in this day and age. Anyhow, you’ve offended me for having such a go at me 😉

  7. With or without the name included, it is a story that reminds us of the great heroism of great warriors who battled great evil—-and they won.

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