This march was composed for the 1954 film The Dam Busters by Eric Coates (1886-1957), a renowned British composer of light music. Other popular pieces by Coates include "By the Sleepy Lagoon," which has been used as the theme music for the BBC radio program Desert Island Discs for over 60 years and "Halcyon Days," the first movement of the suite The Three Elizabeths, which was utilized as the theme music for the 1960s British TV series The Forsyte Saga.
A few days before Coates was contacted by the producers to write music for the film, he'd been carrying out an exercise in composing a march in a similar style to Edward Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance Marches. This tune was the result, and though initially reluctant to take up the commission, when the composer was given the details of the film, he thought this piece would fit in well.
Coates had to wear a suit and tie and light up a cigarette before he could sit down to compose.