Tadcaster war hero will attend ceremony

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A FORMER Tadcaster Second World War veteran who was denied a ticket to the unveiling of a long-awaited Bomber Command memorial will now go to the ceremony after his story gained national media attention.

Highly decorated former rear gunner, Freddie Johnson, 91, has been denied a place at the £6.5 million Bomber Command memorial in Green Park, London on June 28.

The veteran won six medals and survived 92 bombing missions during the Second World War, including being shot down twice- once behind enemy lines.

But now after Tadcaster MP Nigel Adams and others heard about Freddie’s story, organisers confirmed Freddie and his wife Jean will be going to London with all travel and accommodation arranged for them.

On hearing the news that Freddie will attend, wife Jean said: “I am absolutely thrilled to bits.”

“Everyone has been wonderful. The way people have been so kind, it is really wonderful.”

After hearing his story, shocked Harrogate resident, Alison Dodman, called the Wetherby Newsdesk this week to pressure organisers of the memorial to let the war hero attend the ceremony.

She read his story in the Daily Mail newspaper and told the Wetherby News: “I could not believe it, the whole story is amazing.

“This man should have pride of place (at the unveiling) if we call on the local community then maybe we can get this man a ticket to the ceremony.”

Mr Johnson has supported numerous fundraising events over the years, which finally led to the memorial being given the go ahead.

As a rear gunner Mr Johnson had a life expectancy of six weeks, but went on to survive the entire war, earning the Distinguished Flying Cross for gallantry.

The memorial is expected to be unveiled by the Queen. The campaign to build a national memorial to the heroes of Bomber Command began in 2007, following decades of unsuccessful attempts

Up to nine other members of the Royal family are expected to attend.