Hartley Garshowitz went to England to honour his uncle, the lone Canadian Jew killed in the audacious Dambusters Raid

Left: The grave of Warrant Officer Albert Garshowitz, of Hamilton, in Cleve, Germany. (Ellin Bessner photo) Right: Hartley Garshowitz, extreme left, attended an 80th memorial ceremony in England in tribute to his uncle who was killed in the RAF's daring Dambuster raid on Germany in May 1943. (Submitted photo)

Hartley Garshowitz went to England this past week to represent his family at the 80th anniversary ceremonies for the famous Dambusters Raid on Hitler’s Germany in 1943. His uncle, Warrant Officer Albert Garshowitz, of Hamilton, was a wireless operator and air gunner on board one of the Lancaster bombers tasked with a top-secret raid that had never been tried before: to bomb three hydroelectric dams deep inside German territory. It’s an operation that many historians today say changed the course of the Second World War. They also say it was a suicide mission.

Albert Garshowitz was one of 133 hand-picked airmen from Canada, the U.K. and other parts of the Commonwealth who trained for two months in England with the RAF’s #617 Squadron. They weren’t told their target until just hours before the raid began on the night of May 16, 1943. The 19 heavy Lancaster bombers each carried a newly devised 9,000-pound “bouncing bomb” that had to be dropped precisely on the water near the dams. The crews had to fly low and without lights to avoid detection. Nearly half the men didn’t come back, including Albert Garshowitz. His plane crashed en route, the bomb exploded, and all seven men on board were lost. He was 22.

Hartley Garshowitz, an insurance broker in Toronto, has spent decades researching his uncle’s life and honouring his memory. Garshowitz joined The CJN Daily from England, where he met with other Dambusters descendants at the 80th anniversary memorial service.

What we talked about

  • Read more about the Dambusters Raid and Warrant Officer Albert Garshowitz of Hamilton, in The CJN from 2018
  • The Garshowitz family traces its roots in Canada back over 115 years, in The CJN.
  • Watch a scene from the 1955 The Dam Busters film on YouTube


The CJN Daily is written and hosted by Ellin Bessner (@ebessner on Twitter). Zachary Kauffman is the producer. Michael Fraiman is the executive producer. Our theme music is by Dov Beck-Levine. Our title sponsor is Metropia. We’re a member of The CJN Podcast Network. To subscribe to this podcast, please watch this video. Donate to The CJN and receive a charitable tax receipt by clicking here.