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The last surviving Dam Buster turns 100: George’Johnnie’ Johnson celebrates his birthday

The last surviving member of the famous Dam Busters raid celebrated his 100th birthday today.

Air Force Major George’Johnnie’Johnson was a bombardier during the extremely dangerous Operation Chastise in 1943.

Johnson was only 22 years old when he participated in a raid targeting a dam in the Ruhr region as part of the Royal Air Force’s No. 617 Squadron. Germany With a bouncing bomb.

The attack released thousands of tonnes of water into areas essential to Germany’s war effort.

Johnson’s job was to target Zolpedam in the assault, and he demanded nine dummy runs to ensure he achieved his goal.

This operation has made history as one of the most successful aerial attacks of World War II.

Born in 1921 in the village of Hameringham near Horncastle, Lincolnshire, Johnson now lives in a nursing home in Bristol.

The last surviving member of the famous Dam Busters raid celebrated his 100th birthday today. Air Force Major George’Johnnie’Johnson was a bombardier during the extremely dangerous Operation Chastise in 1943. Above: Received an MBE from the Queen in 2017 after a lengthy campaign backed by TV presenter Carol Vorderman.

Johnson was only 23 years old when he participated in a bomb attack targeting a dam in the Rule Valley in Germany's industrial center as part of the Royal Air Force's No. 617 Squadron.Above: Mr. Johnson (front left), crew of the 1943 Lancaster bomber

Johnson was only 23 years old when he participated in a bomb attack targeting a dam in the Rule Valley in Germany’s industrial center as part of the Royal Air Force’s No. 617 Squadron.Above: Mr. Johnson (front left) with the crew of the Lancaster bomber in 1943

Nicky van der Drift, Chief Executive Officer of the International Bomber Command Center in Lincoln, told Lincolnshire Live:

“His years of support from his book talks, signatures and sales have given the project a great boost. This is unforgettable.”

Johnson joined the Royal Air Force in June 1940, more than a year after World War II began.

Prior to participating in the Dam Busters raid, he met his wife, Gwin, who died in 2005.

Johnson’s first mission was in August 1942, and in November of that year he completed training to become a bombardier.

He completed a tour with 97 Squadrons and transferred to 617 Squadrons for a very secret Operation Chastise on the night of May 16-17, 1943.

Utilizing carefully selected crew members from the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, New Zealand and Australia, the squadron’s mission damages several dams in the Ruhr region of Germany and provides an important power source for the country’s industrial areas. It was to provide.

The bouncing bomb itself was developed by aircraft engineer Barnes Wallis.

The attack released thousands of tonnes of water into areas essential to Germany's war effort. It was Johnson's job to target Zolpedam in the assault, and he demanded nine dummy runs to ensure he achieved his goal.Above: Damage done to Edder Dam

The attack released thousands of tonnes of water into areas essential to Germany’s war effort. It was Johnson’s job to target Zolpedam in the assault, and he demanded nine dummy runs to ensure he achieved his goal.Above: Damage done to Edder Dam

What made it so dangerous was the specially modified mine they were carrying (codenamed Upkeep) because the Dam Buster had to fly at a height of 60 feet to succeed. ) Will bounce on the water before hitting the wall of the dam and sinking 30 feet.

Later, the mine exploded, the walls of the dam were smashed, and millions of tonnes of water were discharged into the valley below.

A dam buster trained to fly over the Derwent Reservoir and dams in the Lake District.

On the night of May 16, 1943, 19 Lancaster bombers, led by Wing Commander Guy Gibson, left for Germany to destroy the dams of Mene, Edel and Zolpe.

The bombs they were carrying weighed 4 tons each.

Their mission was successful after two dams, Edel and Mohne, were breached and 300 million tonnes of water were released.

Zolpedam decided that due to its construction method, it needed to be targeted directly rather than a bouncing bomb.

Born in 1921 in the village of Hameringham near Horncastle, Lincolnshire, Johnson now lives in a nursing home in Bristol.

Born in 1921 in the village of Hameringham near Horncastle, Lincolnshire, Johnson now lives in a nursing home in Bristol.

Johnson’s team wasn’t given time to practice, but he still had to hit the wall of the dam. Therefore, to the annoyance of his crew, he insisted that they fly over the dam nine times before dropping the bomb on the 10th.

The team attacked the dam, but it was not defeated. However, the water released from the two torn dams damaged 92 Nazi factories and destroyed an additional 12 factories.

Overall, 133 Allied crew members participated-90 from the RAF, 29 from the Royal Canadian Air Force, 12 from the Royal Australian Air Force, and 2 from the New Zealand Air Force.

A total of 53 military personnel died and three more were taken prisoner.

Squadron courage has won 33 decorations, including the Victoria Cross of Wing Commander Gibson.

It was also said to have greatly improved the morale of the army, leading to the movie “The Dam Busters” starring Sir Michael Redgrave in 1955.

After the mission, Johnson was awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal at Buckingham Palace.

He was awarded the MBE by the Queen in 2017 after a lengthy campaign backed by TV presenter Carol Vorderman.

Johnson remained in the Royal Air Force until 1962 and was promoted to Major Air Force by the time he retired.

Johnson became an elementary school teacher and had a wife and three children.

The Dam Busters: How bouncing bombs (and incredible flights by RAF pilots) flooded the Ruhr region and severely hit Nazi war machines.

On May 16, 1943, a crew of 19 Lancaster bombers gathered at a remote RAF station in Lincolnshire to attack three heavily protected dams deep in Germany’s industrial center at night.

The dam was highly fortified and needed an innovative bomb. The bomb bounced off the water on the torpedo net and sank before it exploded.

To be successful, assailants need to fly in occupied Europe in a big fire and drop bombs with incredible accuracy from just 60 feet above the surface of the water.

Mohne Dam and Eder Dam, in the German industrial center, were attacked and destroyed by land mines dropped from a specially modified Lancaster of the 617th Squadron.

Zolpedam was also attacked and damaged by two aircraft.

A reconnaissance photo of Ederdam taken two months after the famous Dam Busters raid shows a 96-foot breach of the dam.

A reconnaissance photo of Ederdam taken two months after the famous Dam Busters raid shows a 96-foot breach of the dam.

The fourth dam, Enepe, was reported to have been attacked by an aircraft (orange), but was not damaged.

It is estimated that up to 1,600 people were killed in the floods, and eight of the 19 aircraft dispatched lost 53 crew members and three prisoners of war and were unable to return.

Guy Gibson, the wing commander who commands the 617th Squadron, was awarded a VC for his role in leading the attack.

The assault organized by Guy Gibson and the Royal Air Force’s 617 “Dam Buster” company was considered a major victory for the British Army, and Wing Commander Gibson was recognized as one of the most respected heroes of the war. increase.

Their success was immortalized in the 1955 classic movie The Dam Busters. The thrilling theme song and the GungHo script reminiscent of Britain’s best derring-do.

The last surviving Dam Buster turns 100: George’Johnnie’ Johnson celebrates his birthday

SourceThe last surviving Dam Buster turns 100: George’Johnnie’ Johnson celebrates his birthday

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