Bristol

Dambuster knighthood petition handed in to No 10

George "Johnny" Johnson
Image caption George "Johnny" Johnson took part in the Dambuster raids when he was aged 22

A 237,000-signature petition calling for the last surviving British Dambuster to be knighted has been handed in to 10 Downing Street.

George "Johnny" Johnson was 22 when he took part in the 1943 air raid using experimental bouncing bombs in Germany.

Carol Vorderman and Gulf War veteran John Nichol walked to No 10 from the Bomber Command Memorial in Green Park.

Image copyright PA
Image caption The petition was handed in to No 10 on Thursday afternoon

The TV personality said she believed the support showed showed the "depth of respect for Johnny".

"Johnny said he would accept the honour on behalf of 55,573 men who died as part of Bomber Command," Vorderman said.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Carol Vorderman and Gulf War veteran John Nichol walked from the Bomber Command Memorial in Green Park to No 10

"That's why it's important we're standing here in front of this magnificent statue which represents the seven crew of a Lancaster Bomber.

"Johnny says he is overwhelmed by the support but happy about it because it has brought to the attention of the public the service and the lives that were given by the men he fought with.

The Cabinet Office said it could not comment on nominations.

Image copyright IWM/Getty Images
Image caption Sgt George "Johnny" Johnson (extreme left) was part of 617 Squadron based at Scampton, Lincolnshire

An ambassador for the RAF Air Cadets for the past two years, Vorderman launched the petition at the beginning of January.

It follows a petition by campaigner Paul Walmsley who also wanted the recognition for the former airman, who retired as a squadron leader.

Mr Johnson, from Bristol, is the last surviving member of the Bomber Command crews who used Barnes Wallis's revolutionary bouncing bombs.

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