Dam­buster joins awards he­roes

Daily Express - - SPECIAL REPORT ON DEVASTATION OF SEAS - By Giles Sheldrick Chief Re­porter

EX­CLU­SIVE

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.

Lucky

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.

RES­CUER

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.

RUN­NER

PC Mo­hammed Nadeem

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