Published On: Mon, Apr 8th, 2024

WWII memento found in Dambuster hero’s secret stash put up for auction | UK | News

A letter from a Dambusters hero who launched the iconic bouncing bomb that destroyed its target has been discovered hidden behind a signed print.

Flying Officer Edward Cuthbert Johnson recalls in the note, right: “I am an original 617 Squadron member and in fact dropped the Barnes Wallis bomb which breached the ‘Eder’ dam.”

He was replying in 1989 to a request for a copy of the menu from a celebratory London meal held a month after the May 16 1943 raid intended to cripple Nazi Germany’s industrial production.

F/O Johnson – at 31, known as the “old man” of the 133 aircrew – was a bomb aimer. The Eder, Mohne and Sorpe reservoirs generated electricity and water for Ruhr factories arming Hitler’s Second World War campaign.

While he could not provide the photocopy, he replied to the enquirer: “If you have anything else you wanted signing – send it and I will sign and return.”

His note was found by chance by Ewbank’s Auction House specialist Denise Kelly, attached to a Dambusters-themed print in the seller’s home. She said: “Just as I was leaving, I glanced up at a Dambuster-related signed print on his wall. There were several plastic wallets of newspaper clippings etc. pinned to the back.

“Then I just saw the corner of this letter peeping out.”

The letter is tipped to fetch £300 to £500 when sold by the Send, Surrey firm on May 30.

F/O Johnson was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. After the war, he returned to his wife May in Blackpool and became director of Sellers Fireplaces.

He died aged 90 in 2002.

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