A Lincolnshire-born survivor of the World War Two Dambusters raid is celebrating his 100th birthday today and people across the county have sent him their messages of congratulations.
Squadron Leader George “Johnny” Johnson, who was awarded an MBE in 2017, was a bomb-aimer during the war-time operation which saw 53 men killed and three captured. He was just 22 when he was involved in the 1943 operation, which involved experimental bouncing bombs, and he is now the last British survivor.
It was his job to target the Sorpe Dam as part of the attack, which was codenamed Operation Chastise and carried out by the RAF’s 617 Squadron, based at RAF Scampton. On May 16 and 17, 1943, a total of 133 Allied aircrew took part in the pivotal attack aboard 19 Lancaster bombers, carrying inventor Barnes Wallis’s specially-adapted bombs, that Mr Johnson described as looking like “glorified dustbins”.
On his special day Mr Johnson, who was born in Lincolnshire and now lives in north Bristol, told BBC Radio Lincolnshire: “I’ve enjoyed my life I must say that. I still think of Lincolnshire as my home, not only was I born there, but I spent most of my operational war time in Lincolnshire airfields because Lincolnshire was known as the Bomber county, because there were so many airfields so close together.”
He added that being a Dambuster was a “thrilling experience” and he felt “honoured to have had the chance to take part”.
Tom Bould, Squadron Leader at the Red Arrows, Scampton CE Primary School, and owner of the Dambusters Inn in Scampton, Greg Algar, were among those to send birthday wishes to George “Johnny” Johnson on his milestone day.
After World War Two, George “Johnny” Johnson worked as a teacher in Newark. He had an inter-city train named after him, two years after he was given an honorary doctorate by the University of Lincoln.