Tributes as Doncaster World War 2 Bomber Command hero dies at 95

Tributes have been paid following the death of a Doncaster World War Two hero.

Tuesday, 14th January 2020, 10:13 am
Updated Tuesday, 14th January 2020, 2:57 pm

Ken Johnson, who was awarded France’s highest military honour for his bravery during the conflict, has died at the age of 95.

Announcing his death on Facebook, a spokesman for International Bomber Command Centre said: “So sad to report the passing of valued friend and supporter of the project, the gentle, funny Ken Johnson.

“Ken supported so many of our open days and events and was such a great character – and wow with the ladies!

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Ken Johnson, who was awarded France's highest military honour for his exploits in World War Two.

“He will be sorely missed by all who knew him.

“Our thoughts are with the family. Fly high, Ken.”

In 2016, Mr Johnson of Balby, received the Légion d’Honneur, France’s highest miliary honour.

Mr Johnson joined 20 other veterans for the ceremony held at The Allied Air Forces Memorial and Yorkshire Air Museum in York.

Wartime airman Ken Johnson with a picture of a Lancaster.

RAF gunner Ken was lucky to escape alive when a British Lancaster bomber dropped a bomb on his plane around seven days after D-Day in France.

Speaking to the Free Press in January 2016 he said: “We were flying in a formation and I looked up and saw the plane above us open up its bomb doors.

“We tried to radio but it was too late, the bomb dropped and took our tail clean off.

“A Canadian lad, Carson Foye his name was, got taken out by the bomb. Our pilot managed to fly us to safety, God knows how.”

He said: “I consider myself a very, very lucky man. I did my bit and I’m proud that I did so. To receive the medal is such an honour.”

In 2014, French president Francois Hollande, on the 70th anniversary of D-Day, pledged that all servicemen who fought alongside France to defeat the Nazis would receive the nation’s highest military honour.