A Chinook crew from 27 Squadron were honoured to attend the 100th birthday celebrations of the 'Last Dambuster', Squadron Leader (Retired) George ‘Johnny’ Johnson MBE DFM.
Johnny's family and friends organised a wonderful day for him to celebrate his 100th birthday at White Waltham Airfield and the 27 Squadron crew were delighted to conduct a flypast and give tours of the Chinook aircraft to the guests.
Johnny is the last surviving member of the legendary ‘Dambusters’ of 617 Squadron. Mr Johnson, flew 50 missions during his 22 years’ service in the RAF and was the bomb aimer on the night of 16 May 1943, as part of Operation Chastise. He dropped the bomb on Sorpe dam and was awarded a raft of medals including the Distinguished Flying Medal for his part in this daring 617 Squadron raid. The operation set out to destroy three dams deep within Germany’s Ruhr valley in order to set back the country’s war effort, a task that was thought near impossible. It delayed production in the Ruhr quite considerably and contributed hugely to the war effort. Tragically 53 of the original 132 service men who went out on that mission lost their lives.
I am honoured to have been part of Johnny's birthday celebrations for such an important member of the Royal Air Force. It was a privilege for the modern-day RAF to conduct such a fly past to express our gratitude to those who paved the way to today during World War II.
Flight Lieutenant Henry Fuller, Chinook Pilot.
We are honoured to have played a small part in Johnny’s celebration today. It is so important to remember the incredible contribution he made, and that his generation made, in making our world a little safer. Today was a proud day as brought his beloved Royal Air Force back to him and showed how much those of us who serve today value him.
Flight Lieutenant Andy Donovan, Chinook Pilot.
27 Squadron worked hard behind the scenes to make arrangements to attend and celebrate with Johnny. They were delighted to attend the celebrations and integrate it on an essential training sortie for the crew. The tactical sortie continued around the UK conducting a bi-annual Standards Evaluation.