... Flight Sergeant Fred Sutherland, 92, a Canadian war hero of the Dambusters Raid posed for world-renowned artist Richard Stone to be immortalized for a series called Portraits of Heroism at the Fairmont Banff Springs hotel.
Sutherland had a teaser portrait unveiled before him on Tuesday (Sept. 23) after three days of posing in his veterans’ suit and medals.
“Here I captured Fred’s photo for posterity because people like him should be recorded,” said Stone, who has travelled quite extensively to complete the series with three surviving members of the raid.
Operation Chastise, better recognized as the Dambusters Raid, was an attack carried out on German dams in the Ruhr Valley on May 16-17, 1943 by the Royal Air Force’s No. 617 Squadron. Destroying dams was to help cripple Germany’s industrial production.
Today, only three members of this legendary raid are still alive.
Sutherland, now residing in Rocky Mountain House, along with Dambuster raiders Johnny Johnson of the United Kingdom and Les Munro of New Zealand, will be reunited for the first time since the Second World War during a ceremonial unveiling of the portraits later in 2014 in the United Kingdom.
Sutherland said he looks forward to the reunion with his fellow crewmen later this year.
“Oh yeah, we’re all getting pretty old and I don’t know if we’re going to travel that much anymore,” Sutherland said.
All three former airmen, now approaching their mid-90s, agreed to sit with the Stone as an honour to the many crewmen who died during the raid.
In all, 144 men took part in the raid in 19 Lancaster bombers and 53 were killed. Approximately 1,600 Germans were killed in the attack.