Give him a gong! Over 300,000 sign petition to knight Horncastle’s Dambuster hero

George Johnny Johnson
George Johnny Johnson

Pressure is mounting on officials to award a knighthood to the Horncastle-born Dambusters hero George ‘Johnny’ Johnson.

However, the next honours’ list is due to be announced in the next two weeks, in line with the Queen’s Birthday on June 10.

And it has emerged forces sweetheart Dame Vera Lynn (100) has written to the Honours Committee - the body which decides who gets a gong - recommending Mr Johnson should be knighted.

The letter, from Dame Vera’s personal assistant, states: “His selfless heroism during the war has been continued throughout his life – he encourages young pilots and educates school children and ensures that future generations can learn from past experience.

“Not only has he engaged in numerous charitable endeavours and devoted himself to helping young people, but he is also the last surviving member of the famous Dambusters.

“Mr Johnson’s place in history must be assured and Dame Vera believes an honour would be the perfect way to mark his invaluable contribution.”

Since attending the 70th anniversary of the Dambusters mission in Woodhall Spa four years ago, Mr Johnson has regularly appeared in the national spotlight.

Two months ago, he received a standing ovation from thousands of fans at a Lincoln City home game.

Mr Johnson has played down his part in the famous World War Two mission, telling the News that he was ‘not a hero and was just doing his job’.

More recently, he said he would be proud to accept an honour, adding he would dedicate it to all the air crews who failed to return home.

Although now living in a nursing home in the Bristol area, Mr Johnson regularly returns to Horncastle which he describes as ‘his home’.

He was actually born in Hameringham, a small village to the south-east of Horncastle where he grew up on a farm.

Woodhall Spa - which has strong links with the legendary 617 Squadron which took part in the Dambusters mission - is another of Mr Johnson’s favourite places.

He also regularly visits the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight at RAF Coningsby which houses one of world’s only two flight-worthy Lancaster bombers.

It is understood the Honours Committee has already met, but a spokesman said they never commented on speculation before an official announcement.