Dambuster joins awards heroes
DAMBUSTERS hero George “Johnny” Johnson could finally be recognised as the Best of British after being overlooked for a knighthood.
Some 250,000 people last year signed a Daily Express-inspired people’s petition for the Second World War airman to be made a Sir in the Queen’s Birthday Honours. He had to settle for being made an MBE instead.
Now the last surviving Briton to have taken part in the daring bomber raid more than 70 years ago will be honoured at a gala lunch.
George, known as “Johnny” to friends and family, has been shortlisted in the Service To Their Country category at The Amplifon Awards for Brave Britons 2018 in London on Tuesday.
The band of brothers who served in Bomber Command have repeatedly been snubbed by officialdom. If he wins, this could rank among his proudest moments.
George, 96, from Bristol, said he would reluctantly accept any honour but only if it was being made on behalf of those who never returned home.
He said: “I try to emphasise to people that I am the lucky one and I am still alive. It is the squadron that I served with, represented and still represent. Any honour that comes George Johnny Johnson wears his medals as he is given a replica Lancaster bomber and inset, in his RAF uniform in my direction is an honour for the squadron.”
Mr Johnson, who received the Distinguished Flying Medal for his heroics, is one of only two survivors to take part in the bombing raids on the Mohne, Eder and Sorpe dams. The other is Canadian former front gunner Fred Sutherland.
The Dambuster raids saw flying ace Wing Commander Guy Gibson lead an audacious attack using then revolutionary bouncing bombs to destroy the dams on the nights of May 16 and 17, 1943. Of the 133 airmen who set out, 56 did not return.
A TRAINEE police officer is in line for another of the Amplifon awards after diving 8ft into freezing water to save a drowning man despite not being able to swim.
Mohammed Nadeem, 32, jumped into the River Irwell in Bury, Greater Manchester. He said: “I had to go in. I couldn’t just watch him die.”
The Rochdale-based officer was dubbed The Hoff after Baywatch star David Hasselhoff sent a video message congratulating him for getting an earlier police bravery award.
PC Mohammed Nadeem