Bristol

Dambuster George 'Johnny' Johnson launches Bristol Poppy Appeal

George 'Johnny' Johnson MBE
Image caption George 'Johnny' Johnson has had a train named after him

The last British survivor of the Dambusters raids launched the 2019 Poppy Appeal in Bristol.

Sq Ldr George "Johnny" Johnson MBE was at the event at Temple Meads station, along with the inter-city train named after him.

The 97-year old was part of the World War Two raids on Germany using so-called "bouncing bombs" to breach dams.

The Royal British Legion's Poppy Appeal aims to raise more than £600,000 in the city this year.

Mr Johnson was the bomb aimer on board a Lancaster aircraft that attacked the Sorpe Dam in May 1943 as part of Operation Chastise, aimed at flooding Germany's industrial north west.

He joined other armed forces personnel at the appeal launch, before having a tour of the cab of the Great Western Railway train named after him and the late Joy Lofthouse. Raised in Gloucestershire, she flew Spitfires and bombers for the Air Transport Auxilliary.

Temple Meads was also decorated with poppies to mark the occasion.

Image caption Mr Johnson and other service personnel launched the appeal at Bristol Temple Meads station

The theme of this year's Poppy Appeal is promoting the lesser-known contributions made by the UK armed forces. The Royal British Legion uses the money raised to support serving and former military personnel through hard times.

Brian Hewitt, chairman of the Royal British Legion for Gloucestershire, said: "Each day, our armed forces provide an incredible service to our country in all kinds of ways, many of which we don't necessarily see, but all of which impact our lives.

"Every donation received will make a real difference not only to the lives of servicemen and women and veterans, but to their families as well who can also experience difficulties dealing with the circumstances of a loved one who is serving."

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