Carol Vorderman calls for knighthood for Dambuster veteran
Carol Vorderman has branded the omission of the last surviving Dambuster from the honours list as “absolutely disgraceful”.
George “Johnny” Johnson was 22 when he took part in the 1943 air raid using experimental bouncing bombs in Germany.
TV mathematician Ms Vorderman said she would submit a formal nomination calling for him to be knighted.
Friends of Mr Johnson have criticised the honours system after he was left off this year’s list.
Ms Vorderman said: “I hadn’t realised someone had nominated him. Then to be snubbed I thought was absolutely disgraceful.”
She is also launching her own petition, following another one made by campaigner Paul Walmsley who wanted the recognition for the man who retired as a squadron leader.
The 95-year-old, from Bristol, is the last surviving member of the Bomber Command crews who used Barnes Wallis’s revolutionary bouncing bombs – releasing them 60ft above ground.
The bombs were released on a night of raids on German dams in 1943 in an effort to disable Hitler’s industrial heartland.
Ms Vorderman added: “He is already 95 and when he was asked to step forward he had no hesitation, just as all those in Bomber Command – none of them had any hesitation.
“If you were part of Bomber Command you had more chance of surviving the Battle of the Somme – that is how many died, it was about half, a 50/50 chance and they were all volunteers.
“They were incredibly brave and they have been treated disgracefully since then – even today they haven’t got a medal.”
An ambassador for the RAF Air Cadets for the past two years, Vorderman, who is a trained pilot, said she first met Mr Johnson last summer at an event on Clifton suspension bridge in Bristol.
She said in the years since he left Bomber Command he has been a teacher, a counsellor, and has raised huge amounts of money for charity.
“He is an amazing man, he is one of the most charming people you could ever wish to meet – and modest, just wonderful,” she said.