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  1. ITV Report

Last British Dambuster awarded MBE

George 'Johnny' Johnson has been awarded an MBE. Credit: PA Images

Britain's last surviving Dambuster has been awarded an MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours after huge support for a campaign to have his wartime service recognised.

George 'Johnny' Johnson, 95, was part of Royal Air Force 617 Squadron which carried out the famous raids on German dams in 1943 to destabilise Hitler's industrial heartland.

The veteran said he was particularly grateful to the thousands of people who signed a petition calling for his wartime service to be recognised.

Carol Vorderman hands in her petition at Downing Street Credit: PA Images

The campaign to honour Mr. Johnson has been spearheaded by the Bristol TV presenter Carol Vorderman.

She launched a petition to get him knighted after he was nominated for an honour but left off the list in 2015.

In January she delivered the petition containing 235,000 signatures to 10 Downing Street alongside RAF veteran John Nichol.

  • Watch below - Carol Vorderman and 'Johnny' Johnson at an Air Cadets event on Clifton Suspension Bridge

Mr. Johnson said he wanted to ask the Queen if he could dedicate the award to the memory of the 59,000 bomber command personnel who died in World War Two.

I think the MBE is as much honour as I could really expect and I thought, if a knighthood comes up, I'm going to having difficulty not only in accepting it but pointing out to all and sundry that it's not me.

I'm the lucky one. I'm still alive. I'm representing the squadron and it is the squadron that is being honoured with this, not me.

In fact, I got to the stage where I felt that I would have to ask - probably the Queen, if necessary - if I might be permitted to dedicate it to the memory of the now 59,000 bomber command personnel that gave their lives during World War Two and have got little or no respect for that."

– 'Johnny' Johnson, Dambuster
Carol Vorderman. Credit: PA Images

Carol Vorderman said she was 'thrilled' Johnson had finally received the honour he deserved:

I'm thrilled that wonderful Johnny Johnson has been recognised with an MBE. If Johnny is happy, then I'm happy too - he is a remarkable man and friend.

I've seen Johnny working hard to celebrate remembrance with our Air Cadets and many other young people. The respect we have for him and for his colleagues in Bomber Command who gave their lives without question for the freedoms we have since enjoyed, that respect knows no bounds. Hundreds of thousands of us signed a petition so that Johnny could be recognised in this Honours List and it seems our voices were heard, so thank you to whomever was involved in that decision. I hope we can party hard in the coming weeks."

– Carol Vorderman
The last British dambuster, George 'Johnny' Johnson. Credit: PA Images

The pensioner, who lives in Bristol, is now one of only two survivors to take part in the legendary bombing raids on the Mohne, Eder and Sorpe dams in Germany. The other is Canadian former front gunner Fred Sutherland.

133 men took part in the raids aboard 19 Lancaster bombers carrying specially adapted 'bouncing' bombs.

53 men were killed and 3 were captured but Mr Johnson said he was doing what he joined up for - to hit back at Hitler.