Goodbye To A Hero
FREDDIE JOHNSON A DECORATED war hero who was only able to attend the unveiling of a Bomber Command memorial after an outcry has died, aged 92.
Former rear gunner Freddie Johnson, from Tadcaster, was awarded six medals in the Second World War, including the Distinguished Flying Cross for gallantry, during five years’ service on Wellington and Halifax bombers, and was twice shot down, once behind enemy lines.
But The Press revealed last year how he had not been invited to the ceremonial unveiling of a £6.5 million memorial in London by the Queen. The story was picked up by other media, generating international coverage, local MP Nigel Adams intervened and he then found he was being invited after all.
His daughter Mandy said yesterday that Freddie had been very pleased that, thanks to The Press coverage of the story, he had been able to go to the ceremony after all.
She said he had died at home, in line with the family’s wishes, having only just returned from hospital.
She said he had left a widow Jean, herself and two sons, Simon and Nick, the latter of whom was flying back from New Zealand with his wife to attend his funeral.
She said until very recently, Freddie had been a very active member of the Royal Air Forces Association (RAFA) and had also been a patron of the university cadets at RAF Church Fenton, and representatives of the association and RAF were set to attend the funeral and provide pall bearers.
She said the service would take place at 1pm on Tuesday, April 23, at St Mary’s Parish Church in Tadcaster, followed by cremation at Harrogate and then a gathering at Tadcaster Social Club, formerly the Royal British Legion.
Story By Mike Laycock, Chief reporter at the Yorkshire Evening Press
The funeral takes place today of World War Two hero Freddie Johnson. The former rear gunner, from Tadcaster, was awarded six medals and shot down twice in the war.
The Calendar region got behind him after it was revealed he had been told he couldn’t go to the unveiling of a Bomber Command memorial in London he’d helped raise money for.
After he appeared on the programme he was told he could go.
His daughter Mandy said he died at home, in line with the family’s wishes, having just returned from hospital.
He left his wife Jean, a daughter and two sons, Simon and Nick.
Freddie was a member of the Royal Air Forces Association and had also been a patron of the university cadets at RAF Church Fenton, and representatives of the association and RAF will attend the funeral and provide pall bearers.
It will take place at 1pm at St Mary’s Parish Church in Tadcaster, followed by cremation at Harrogate and a gathering at Tadcaster Social Club.
Story by Calendar News
Freddie was a well known member of the community in Tadcaster and will be missed. Our thoughts go out to his family and friends.
Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth lasts for a thousand years, men will still say, “This was their finest hour!” (Winston Churchill)
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