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Dambuster George ‘Johnny’ Johnson dies aged 101

Dambuster George ‘Johnny’ Johnson dies aged 101

The last surviving Dambuster has died at the age of 101.

George Leonard ‘Johnny’ Johnson was the last surviving original member of RAF 617 Squadron’s famous ‘Dambusters’ raid of 1943.

He died peacefully at his care home in Westbury on Trym, Bristol, on Wednesday night surrounded by his family.

Archive photo of Carol Voderman and Sqn Ldr Johnny Johnson. See SWNS story dambuster; The last British member of 617 Squadron, Johnny Johnson has passed away peacefully surrounded by his family at the age of 101. George Leonard ???Johnny??? Johnson was born on the 25th of November 1921 and joined the Royal Air Force in 1940. In 1943 he was selected to be part of 617 Squadron at RAF Scampton and to take part in Operation Chastise, more commonly known as the Dambuster Raids.
Johnny Johnson was the last surviving member of the famous Dambusters (Picture: SWNS)
Collect pic of Sqn Leader Jonny Johnson taken in 1962. See SWNS story dambuster; The last British member of 617 Squadron, Johnny Johnson has passed away peacefully surrounded by his family at the age of 101. George Leonard ?Johnny? Johnson was born on the 25th of November 1921 and joined the Royal Air Force in 1940. In 1943 he was selected to be part of 617 Squadron at RAF Scampton and to take part in Operation Chastise, more commonly known as the Dambuster Raids.
Mr Johnson passed away at his home (Picture: SWNS)

He was a bomb aimer during Operation Chastise, which was tasked with attacking German dams during the Second World War.

Born in Lincolnshire, he was just 21 when he took part in the 1943 campaign.

The team of young men used bouncing bombs, targeted at dams in the Ruhr valley, which released water into areas used by Germany for war production.

Around a third of the RAF Bomber Command crew did not survive the raid, making it one of the most dangerous air operations of the war.

After the war, he worked as a teacher in Nottinghamshire.

In 2017, Mr Johnson was made an MBE after a campaign was launched by TV personality Carol Vorderman for him to become one and in the same year, was given an honorary doctorate from the University of Lincoln.

george 'jonny' johnson
George ‘Johnny’ Johnson, then aged 95, holds a picture of Lancaster bombers at his home in Bristol (Picture: PA)

Speaking after he collected the honour, Mr Johnson said the Queen told him: ‘Glad to see the Dambusters are still here.’

Following the death of his wartime colleague Fred Sutherland in January 2019, Mr Johnson became the last survivor of the original flying members of 617 Squadron.

In 2019, he had an inter-city train named after him and in the last few years of his life, Mr Johnson took part in many public appearances and charity events.

On November 25, 2022, Mr Johnson, who retired from the RAF as a squadron leader, celebrated his 101st birthday.

Former RAF navigator John Nichol, who was captured during the first Gulf War, paid tribute to Mr Johnson and said: ‘Very sad to learn that the “Last Dambuster”, Johnny Johnson, has died aged 101.

‘His WW2 generation sacrificed so much, yet asked nothing in return. I was privileged to share many a bottle of his much-loved red wine.

‘The nation has lost a true hero. Blue skies Sir.’

He will leave behind behind his wife Gwynn Johnson, three children, eight grandchildren and 18 great grandchildren.

His granddaughter Jenny Sextone, posted to Facebook and said his family were beside her ‘beloved Gramps’, at the time of his death.

‘We would appreciate your respect for our privacy in this family time,’ she added.

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