Last Dambuster is special guest at veteran’s day event

Johnny Johnson at Bomber Command day.

Johnny Johnson at Bomber Command day. - Credit: Archant

The last surviving British Dambuster, George ‘Johnny’ Johnson, visited Godmanchester on Saturday to share his stories.

Johnny Johnson and Roger Leivers.

Johnny Johnson and Roger Leivers. - Credit: Archant

Mr Johnson, of the 617 Squadron, was among a host of veterans who appeared at a special Bomber Command Veteran’s Day.

Also in attendance at the event, held in the Comrades Club, in Cambridge Street, were gunners, navigators and wireless operators who, between them, had completed hundreds of missions during the Second World War, as well as some, like Henry Wagner, who became prisoners of war.

Roger Leivers, organiser of the event, said: “Johnny Johnson was amazing, he loves these sorts of events and says it is something he enjoys.

“This was his first event since his MBE so we gave him three ‘hip hip hoorays’ to welcome him.”

Bomber Command day at the Comrades Club, in Godmanchester.

Bomber Command day at the Comrades Club, in Godmanchester. - Credit: Archant

The veterans spoke to visitors about their experiences, posed for pictures, and signed autographs. The day also saw exhibitions from a range of groups including Godmanchester’s own Porch Museum.

“It was a wonderful day with a great atmosphere, there were a lot of exhibitors and a lot of things for people to look at,” added Mr Leivers.

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It was also a special occasion for Mr Leivers as he celebrated the launch of his book Stirling to Essen: The Godmanchester Stirling.

The book, which has been a five-year long journey of discovery, tells the story of the Stirling Royal Air Force bomber which crashed in the town on April 11, 1942, killing two of the XV Squadron.

“It was the story of the crash in Godmanchester which started it off and from there I have researched all the families to get a complete story of the crew,” Mr Leivers said.

“It is an incredible story of fate and luck and of children born without knowing their fathers – it is incredibly moving.”

It was the third time that the event has been held, and this time the day raised more than £1,500 for numerous charities.

One of those is the Blenheim Society which will receive a donation of £200 in memory of Squadron Leader Ian Blair, who was the poster boy of the RAF during the Second World War and died last year at the age of 98.