Squadron Leader George ‘Johnny’ Johnson MBE, the last British Dambuster, flew on board the RAF’s BBMF Lancaster today (Thursday) for an historic flight to make the raid’s 75th anniversary.
Mr Johnson flew in the bomb aimer’s position - the same position he had in 1943- as the aircraft flew over the dams of the Derwent Valley, just as he did 75 years ago while training for the 617 (Dambusters) Squadron on their famous on German Dams in Operation Chastise.
Officer Commanding BBMF Squadron Leader Andrew Millikin said: “We are thrilled we are able to finally mark this amazing anniversary in such a poignant way.
“It was always our intent to pay tribute to Johnny as the last British Dambuster by carrying out this sortie on May 16 and we were bitterly disappointed that the weather stopped us yesterday.
“We seized the opportunity to complete this mission today with Johnny on board flying a shortened sortie.
“Sadly, the quick turn of events did not give Derbyshire County Council the time to organise safety measures to handle the large volumes of traffic that would have been present had we announced the flight but we felt it was important to fly Johnny on this historic day.”
Mr Johnson was born in Hameringham, near Horncastle, and spent the early part of his life in the area.
He now lives in Bristol but still returns to the Horncatle area on a regular basis, specially for RAF events.
He attended a service and unveiling of a new memorial to the 617 and 619 squadron in Woodhall Spa last weekend.
Although the Dambuster did not fly from Woodhall Spa’s airfield on their famous mission, the village has become their adopted ‘home’ .
They were based at Woodhall Spa later in the war with the Officer’s Mess at the Petwood Hotel.