|Mysterious Labrador walked into Photo and then walked away,.. "Ghost?"|
He was the loyal companion of the Dambusters hero whose extraordinary bravery enthralled the nation.
Now ghost hunters believe the spectre of the Dambusters' canine mascot is still faithfully guarding his master's old quarters.
They are convinced that the wraiths of both Wing Commander Guy Gibson and his chocolate–coloured Labrador haunt the remote airfield from which the audacious raid was launched.
Investigators decided to step in after a mysterious photograph emerged of what looks like Gibson's long-dead dog sitting at his master's memorial.
The picture, taken in the 1980s, shows a Labrador among a school group at a memorial to the Dambusters, close to where Gibson's dog was buried.
The photographer is said to have claimed the dog appeared from nowhere just as the photo was being taken, refusing to be shooed away.
As soon as the photo was taken, the dog disappeared, never to be seen again.
After staking out the base at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire, now the home of the Red Arrows, ghost hunters are convinced it is haunted by a ghostly Labrador.
The lead investigator, Paul Drake, said: There is definitely paranormal activity there.
'One of our investigators felt a cold spot and when we measured it, it was eighteen inches, which is about the height of a dog.
|Commander Guy Gibson (right) and his Labrador|
'The curator of the museum has told us that he has felt for years that he has had a presence following him and he definitely feels that it is that of a dog.'
One investigator who stayed overnight at the base last month even claimed she heard a dog growling when she entered Gibson's former office.
'I definitely heard the growl of a dog', said Michelle Clements, 45. 'Three of us heard it and we all agreed it was a dog.
'It was a really low growl. It wasn't a happy "yap" at all. It sounded sounded like he was warning us to stay away.'
After scouring the base with infra-red lights, proximity sensors and video cameras, the team say they picked up activity which suggests the pilot was trying to speak to them.
Remember them: Historians are skeptical about the possibility of a ghost dog but are happy for anything to keep alive the memory of the Dambusters' work in their Lancaster bombers
'I do believe we spoke with Guy Gibson,' Miss Clements, a school dinner lady from Leicester, said.
'We asked him if he was with his girlfriend Margaret and he said yes.
'We also played some old music from the 40s and there was a response to that as well.'
Gibson's Labrador, Nigger (I guess times were different then), was the mascot for the squadron that launched an audacious night-time raid on three heavily defended dams deep in Germany's industrial heartland using bouncing bombs.
Their success was immortalised in the classic 1954 film The Dambusters, its thrilling theme tune and gung-ho script evoking the best of British derring-do.
The Labrador's name was used as a code word whenever one of Germany's Ruhr Dams was breached during the mission.
|Scene from movie Dambusters (1955)|
Celebrated feats: Actor Richard Todd as Wing Commander Guy Gibson with the dog who played Nigger in the 1955 film The Dam Busters
Tragically, he had been run over and killed outside the base just hours before the raid and, fearing it was a bad omen, heartbroken Gibson ordered the death to be kept secret and the dog to be buried quickly outside his office next to the squadron hangar.
Gibson himself returned from the mission and was awarded the Victoria Cross for his bravery, but was later killed in 1944, when his Mosquito crashed in Holland during a raid.
The story of the Dambusters is now set to be retold in a new film by Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson – although the dog is to be renamed Digger as the original name is now recognised as an offensive term.
Jim Shortland, a historian who specialises in the Dambusters, said he was sceptical about the paranormal but welcomed the investigation.
'What they expect to find I don't know,' he said.
'But I think anything that helps to keep the memory alive of the things those lads did in the Second World War is a good thing.'