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"Thanks for everything, Dad!"

Morgan Johnson, son of Dambusters veteran Johnny Johnson, tells us how he marks Father's Day with his dad.

My dad is nearly 92 years old now and he's recently become quite well known as the last surviving Brit of the famous 617 Squadron – The Dambusters. I am getting on a bit too, I'm 69 this week!

I've had many Father’s Day celebrations with my dad over the years. Normally they'd involve going out to lunch and talking about the old days. This year Dad will be in Bristol and I'll be at home in Surrey so we won’t be meeting up but we will have a chat on the phone.

Dambusters hero Johnny Johnson

At some stage in the evening I'll be raising a glass of wine and having a drink to his health while quietly remembering him with great pride, not so much pride in his brave war career but pride in what he made of his life and what he did for us, his family.

My dad came from a very poor background and his own father was a very unpleasant man. Dad had no real family life at all as a child but through some strange moments of good luck he managed to get away from all that and create a new life. 

Johnny and Morgan Johnson

The one thing Dad wanted more than anything else was a happy, successful family of his own and he achieved this. He is much loved by three children, eight grandchildren, and 15 great-grandchildren. I think it’s 15 as I’ve forgotten how many there are.

Most of the children know nothing about what he did in World War II. They just know him as 'Gramp' – a lovely, funny old man. He taught us that the most important thing in life was the ‘togetherness’ of the family.

No matter how tough it got for someone, the others were always there to help. Together we could survive most things.

So on Father's Day, as I raise my glass in my nice comfortable home in Surrey, thinking about my own family – my lovely wife, two successful children and four wonderful grandchildren – my toast will be, 'Thanks for everything, Dad. Happy Father's Day!'

By Morgan Johnson

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