Dambuster Johnny dies at 101

Westbury on Trym is mourning George “Johnny” Johnson, the last of the Second World War Dambusters, who has died at the age of 101.

As a member of RAF 617 squadron, Mr Johnson took part in the bouncing bomb raids in 1943 that destroyed vital dams in Germany. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal and in 2017 was awarded an MBE.

He was 21 at the time of the bomb raids, in which 133 crew members took part; 53 were killed and three taken prisoner. The raids were immortalised in the 1955 film The Dam Busters.

Squadron Leader Johnson retired from the RAF in 1962 and went on to become a teacher and a local councillor, moving to Bristol about 12 years ago. He gave many talks to local organisations, among them the 2442 Air Cadets in Westbury.

In 2021, the year of his 100th birthday, cyclists staged a two-wheeled “flypast” at his care home in tribute to the Dambusters.

Mr Johnson’s wife, Gwyn, died in 2005. He is survived by three children, eight grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren. 

Bristol City Council held a minute’s silence at its meeting on December 13 in memory of the heroic airman.

Mayor Marvin Rees paid tribute in a tweet: “George ‘Johnny’ Johnson came to personify one of the Second World War’s most daring missions, and the bravery of the generation who beat fascism. RIP, Johnny.”

Veteran councillor Richard Eddy called for a road to be named after Mr Johnson.

He said: “Our generation and its successors owe a massive debt to the heroic sacrifices of the World War Two generation.

“Few symbolise more the service of this generation than the RAF’s Dambuster crews, and Bristol is truly privileged to have had George ‘Johnny’ Johnson as a citizen of our city.”

A spokesman for the mayor said: “How best our city remembers him, is of course a decision for the future which should be taken in consultation with Johnny’s family.”