Year 5 and 6 children from The Paragon School were treated to a once-in-a-lifetime meeting this week with World War II hero George ‘Johnny’ Johnson DFM.
Johnson, aged 95, is the last surviving British serviceman who took part in the ‘Operation Chastise’ raids on the Möhne, Eder and Sorpe Dams in Germany in 1943. These raids were the subject of the 1955 film The Dambusters.
Johnny Johnson spoke to the Paragon children at length about his RAF training, his role with 617 Squadron, what it was like to fly in a Lancaster bomber (“The engines made a delightful music”) and the details of the attack on the Sorpe Dam. Johnson described how it took 10 attempts to approach the dam at the correct height before he, as bomb aimer, could release the bomb.
The children had the opportunity to ask the retired Squadron Leader a number of questions including whether or not he was scared during the raid (“No I wasn’t”), how old he was when he started training as a bomb aimer (21 years old) and whether or not he received any injuries. He also explained what each of his medals were awarded for.
Johnny Johnson finished the presentation by giving the children some wise words of advice. “You should have an ambition and work your hardest to achieve it. Whatever you do in life, do it to the best of your ability.” Words of wisdom from a World War II hero to children from The Paragon School.