Last Dambuster dies: George “Johnny” Johnson of World War 2 617 squadron dies aged 101
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The last surviving member of the World War Two Dambusters, George "Johnny" Johnson, has died aged 101. Johnson was a bomb-aimer in the 617 Squardon tasked with destroying key dams deep in the German industrial heartland in the European campaign.
Born in Lincolnshire, Johnny joined the highly dangerous mission in Europe in 1943, aged only 21. In an interview with the BBC, Mr Johnson said: "It was an exhilarating experience", and that he felt "honoured to have had the chance to take part”.
The Dambusters raid across Europe aimed to destroy vital dams to flood areas in the Ruhr region, often known as the German industrial heartland. Johnson was part of the so-called Operation Chastise, which saw the 617 Squadron target the Sorpe Dam.
The operation is considered one of the most dangerous ever taken on by the RAF, and saw 53 men die and 3 injured. The operation was made into the 1955 film The Dam Busters, which was voted one of the best British films of the 20th century by the British Film Institute (BFI).
Johnson celebrated his 100th birthday in November 2021, and told the BBC: “I’ve had a very lucky life in every respect”. He was made an MBE in 2017 after a campaign involving celebrities such as Carol Vorderman.
After the war, Johnson worked as a teacher in Newark, Nottinghamshire. He spent a lot of his time later in life with charity work.
George “Johnny” Johnson leaves behind a family of Gwynn Johnson, three children and 18 grandchildren. His granddaughter Jenny Sextone posted on social media that Johnson passed away surrounded by loved ones and that the family “would appreciate your respect for our privacy in this family time."