Dambusters hero ‘Johnny’ digs in for replica Lancaster

St Rita's Care Home in Burgess Hill has been rated good by the CQC
St Rita's Care Home in Burgess Hill has been rated good by the CQC

Dambusters veteran George ‘Johnny’ Johnson will cut the first piece of turf in the process which will lead to a full-scale replica of a Lancaster bomber being erected in Lincolnshire.

Mr Johnson, who was awarded the MBE earlier this year, was born in Hameringham, near Horncastle, and is the last surviving veteran of the famous Second World War mission.

He will perform the ceremony at the site of the new sculpture at Brills Farm, off the A46 near Norton Disney.

The project has received planning permission.

It is being led by the Bomber County Gateway Trust, which needs to raise at least £100,000 to complete the sculpture.

Built out of steel, the replica of the Lancaster will be called ‘On Freedom’s Wings’ and is already being dubbed ‘The Angel of Lincolnshire.’

It will have a wingspan of 102 feet and will be 50ft off the ground.

The sculpture is designed to highlight the important links Lincolnshire had - and continues to have - with the RAF.

It is also hoped the sculpture will encourage people to visit attractions in the area, including the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight at Coningsby which is home to a Lancaster bomber - and the International Bomber Command Centre outside Lincoln.

Other veterans will join Mr Johnson at a special ‘breaking the ground ceremony’ on May 15.

The Dambusters flew in Lancasters, dodging anti-aircraft fire in the Ruhr Valley in the industrial heartland of Germany, to drop ‘bouncing bombs’ - designed by Barnes Wallis - on strategic dams in the Second World War.

A spokesman for the The Bomber County Gateway Trust said: “We wish to thank the thousands of people who have supported the project and to encourage those who are able to donate to the fund to do so at www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/bombercountygateway.”