The 100th anniversary of Dambusters Raid’s last survivor was celebrated today.
Squadron leader George Johnson (or Johnny) was a bomb aimer during Operation Chastise which occurred in 1943.
Johnson was only 22 years old when he participated in the raid. It targeted dams in Ruhr valley, Germany’s industrial heart, with bouncing bombs.
The attack released water in quantities of thousands of tonnes into critical areas for Germany’s war effort.
Johnson was to strike the Sorpe Dam during the raid. He demanded nine mock runs in order to hit his mark.
It is regarded as the second most successful air assault of WWII.
Johnson was born in Hameringham near Horncastle in Lincolnshire in 1921. He now lives in a Bristol care home.
Today marks the 100th birthday of the last survivor from Dambusters’ famous raid. The bomb-aiming specialist for Squadron Leader George Johnson in Operation Chastise, 1943 was the job of Captain Johnny. Above: In 2017, the Queen awarded him an MBE for his long-standing campaign, which was supported by Carol Vorderman (TV presenter).
Johnson, who was just 23, participated in the raid that targeted dams within the Ruhr Valley, the industrial heartland of Germany, with bouncing Bombs. Above: In 1943, Mr Johnson is shown front left with the Lancaster Bomber crew.
Nicky van der Drift is the chief executive officer of the International Bomber Command Centre in Lincoln. He told Lincolnshire Live that everyone in the IBCC team wishes Johnny a very special birthday.
“His continued support over the years through talks, signings and sales gave a phenomenal boost to our project. It will not be forgotten.”
Johnson joined RAF in June 1940 just over a decade after the Second World War began.
Gwynn was his first wife before he took part in Dambusters’ raid. She died in 2005.
Johnson was first deployed in August 1942. In November that same year, Johnson completed his training as a bomb-aiming pilot.
After completing a tour in 97 Squadron, he was transferred to 617 Squadron where he participated in Operation Chastise. This highly classified operation took place the night of May 16-17 1943.
The Squadron recruited hand-picked teams from Australia, Canada and the US to attack several dams in Germany’s Ruhr valley. These were critical sources of power for Germany’s industrial regions.
Barnes Wallis was the one who invented the bounce bombs.
The attack released water in quantities of thousands of tonnes into critical areas for Germany’s war effort. Johnson was responsible for the Sorpe Dam raid and demanded nine mockup runs in order to hit the target. Above: Eder Dam was the victim of Johnson’s raid.
It was dangerous because the Dambusters needed to fly at 60 feet to succeed. The specially-designed mines that they carried – codenamed Upkeep- bounced over water and hit the dam walls before sinking 30 feet.
The mines would explode and release millions of tonnes water to the valleys below.
Dambusters learned by flying over Derwent Reservoir and Dam in Lake District.
In the early hours of May 16, 1943, 19 Lancaster bombers under Wing Commander Guy Gibson set out for Germany to destroy the Mohne and Eder dams.
They were each carrying four tonnes of bombs.
After two dams were broken, the Eder, and the Mohne released 300 million tonnes of water, their mission was declared a success.
It was determined that the Sorpe Dam needed to be hit directly with bombs rather than with bouncers because of its construction.
Johnson was born near Horncastle, Lincolnshire. In 1921, he moved to Hameringham.
Johnson’s crew was not allowed to practice, but the team still had to reach the dam’s walls. His crew was annoyed that Johnson demanded that they fly nine times over the dam before dropping the bomb the tenth.
However, the team was able to hit the dam but not break it. However, water from both dams was released and damaged 92 Nazi-owned factories. Another 12 were also destroyed.
Overall, 133 Allied Aircrew participated – 29 from Royal Canadian Air Force, 90 from the RAF and 29 from Royal Canadian Air Force. Twelve from Royal Australian Air Force were also present, as well as two each from Royal New Zealand Air Force.
53 soldiers were shot and killed, while three others were held captive.
It was awarded 33 decorations for its bravery, including the Victoria Cross by Wing Commander Gibson.
The troops’ morale was also helped by this. This led to Sir Michael Redgrave’s 1955 film, The Dam Busters.
Johnson was presented with the Distinguished Flying Medal by Buckingham Palace following the mission.
After a campaign supported by Carol Vorderman, a TV host, he was granted an MBE from the Queen in 2017.
Johnson remained in RAF till 1962. He had reached the rank of Squadron leader by the time he retired.
Johnson married and became a primary-school teacher. He had three children.
Dambusters: The incredible flying of RAF pilots and the bouncing bombs that flooded Ruhr Valley and dealt a devastating blow to Nazi war machines.
19 Lancaster bomber squadrons gathered at a distant RAF station, Lincolnshire on May 16 1943 for a mission that was extraordinary. It involved a night raid on three dams in Germany’s industrial center.
The dams needed to be heavily fortified.
The raiders must fly under intense fire across Europe and drop bombs from 60 feet above the surface.
Mohne and Eder Dams, located in Germany’s industrial heart were attacked by mines from modified Lancasters No. 617 Squadron.
Two aircraft also struck the Sorpe Dam and caused damage.
The Eder Dam reconnaissance photo taken 2 months after Dambusters’ raid shows a dam breach of 96 feet
Fourth dam Ennepe, was attacked by one aircraft (O-Orange) but without any damage.
Estimates suggest that up to 1,600 people died in floodwaters. There were also eight aircraft lost and 53 crew members taken prisoner.
Wing Commander Guy Gibson, Officer Commanding No. The VC was presented to Guy Gibson, Wing Commander and Officer Commanding No. 617 Squadn for his leadership in the attack.
Guy Gibson, the RAF’s 617 Dambuster’ Squadron and Guy Gibson orchestrated the raid. Wing Commander Gibson was hailed as one of war’s greatest heroes.
The Dambusters (1955) was a classic film that immortalized their success. Its thrilling soundtrack and bold script, which evoked the finest British derring-do, captured the thrill of British derring–do.