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Thousands back campaign to knight Dambusters hero George 'Johnny' Johnson

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: September 02, 2014

  • George 'Johnnie' Johnson, the Last Dambuster with the Canadian Lancaster at RAF Coningsby

  • Sqn Leader Jonny Johnson taken in 1962

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A campaign to get the last remaining British Dambuster knighted has gained nearly 40,000 signatures in just a month.

George "Johnny" Johnson, 92, was a Flight Sergeant and bomb aimer during the famous 1943 raid but has yet to be officially recognised by the government.

But now an online petition has received 37,577 signatures from people all over the world, even as far afield as Los Angeles and Vietnam.

Despite this, widow George, of Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol, has said he will only accept the award if the Queen will allow him to do so on behalf of all those who lost their lives during the raid.

He said: "I'm amazed really. I can't understand why so many people have got behind it, especially as I have heard people from around the world have signed it.

"I don't see the honour as being due to me really.

"If it was to come off, I would accept it if her Majesty could be persuaded to let me do so on behalf of those killed and especially the 53 members of my squadron who did not return home."

Stephen Hadley launched the online petition on Change.org last month after David Cameron's barber received an MBE.

Kent-based Stephen, 55, said: "I have been overwhelmed by the level of support and the whole thing has gained a lot of momentum, it seems like a lot of people feel the same way as me.

"What this man did for his country was unbelievable and the honour would not just be for him but also for everyone who took part in the raid.

"It's hard to imagine just how much courage these men had and it is about time that was recognised. If a barber can get an award then so should Mr Johnson."

Part of its success has been down to the Royal Air Force Association, of which the Queen is a patron, after it gave its backing to the campaign.

Nick Bunting, the Secretary General of the RAF Association, said: "The association welcomes the opportunity to recognise the immense bravery and sacrifice made by members of the Royal Air Force and we will be inviting our members to get behind this online petition."

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