Dambuster veteran George „Johnny” Johnson DFM visited RAF Waddington on Friday 25th October to see first hand the work that a small dedicated team are doing to preserve the history of the Station at its Heritage Centre.
Its seventy years since Johnny took part in one of the most daring raids in military history. Using a specially developed „bouncing bomb” invented and developed by Barnes Wallis, Operation Chastise was the name given to the planned attack on German dams carried out in May 1943 by 617 Sqn.
Johnny was one of the 34 recipients of an award for this operation, receiving the Distinguished Flying Medal (DFM) a medal awarded for an act or acts of valour, courage or devotion to duty performed whilst flying in active operations against the enemy. As the bomb aimer it was Johnny, who pressed the button releasing the bomb which caused damage to the Sorpe dam.
During his visit to the Heritage Centre, Johnny met the team that gather, catalogue and exhibit the many items of interest which include old operations books as well as an extensive collection of Lancaster aircraft panels and components recovered from a Scottish hillside following a devastating and fatal crash during WWII.
Flight Lieutenant Jonathan Short, Officer in Charge of the RAF Waddington Heritage said: “It was an honour to meet Mr Johnson and to be able to welcome him to the Heritage Centre at RAF Waddington. It was a privilege to hear about his time in the RAF and his part in the legendary Operation Chastise in May 1943. He represents a generation of heroes and we hope that the Heritage Centre goes some way to honouring and preserving the memory of the sacrifice they made for the freedoms we enjoy today.”
The Heritage Centre is a voluntarily run museum which allows you to step into the history of RAF Waddington. The displays let you travel back in time and engage with history, from the wreckage of the downed Avro Lancaster PD-259 from WWII through to the Vulcan bomber XM607 of Black Buck fame, which currently stands as the Station’s gate guardian. Furthermore, it is part of the Aviation Heritage Lincolnshire partnership with links to other museums within the County who are also proud of their aviation heritage.
The visit concluded with Johnny posing for a photo with the Heritage Centre Team; an image that will no doubt be archived for others to see and enjoy in the future.
George “Johnny” Johnson met by Wing Commander Colin Owen
RAF/MOD Crown Copyright 2013