Johnny meets mascot for the first time in 70 years

Johnson Bailey 5523 lores

Pic: Heather Allsworth

George “Johnny” Johnson came face to face again with the crew mascot who flew with him on the Dams Raid recently at East Kirkby. The small toy panda is now owned by Dorothy Bailey, the daughter of Johnny’s crew mate, Bill Radcliffe, and recently featured on an episode of the BBC Antiques Roadshow.
Radcliffe was the flight engineer and Johnson the bomb aimer in the Lancaster skippered by Joe McCarthy, one of the two Dams Raid aircraft to attack the Sorpe Dam in the early hours of 17 May 1943. Radcliffe would tuck the mascot inside his flying boot before every operation, and both it and he survived the war. Unfortunately in 1952 he was killed in a car crash, back in his native Canada so his widow and young children returned to England.
Dorothy and Johnny had never met before, so this was an opportunity for her to ask him about the father she scarcely knew and, of course, for Johnny to see again the little toy whose lucky life may have helped him survive the war.

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5 thoughts on “Johnny meets mascot for the first time in 70 years

  1. john radburn November 1, 2015 / 3:59 pm

    respect for them.I,d love to shake His hand.

  2. lilian c lee lee January 26, 2017 / 7:44 am

    Johnny should have a award on behalf of all the airmen who never came back

  3. Malcolm June 17, 2017 / 8:06 pm

    How wonderful ! It has only taken 72 years to thank him and the wonderful selfless crews who gave all. I love my country but full of anger that those less fitting to receive tributes are commended at all.
    My father died as the result of injuries received in ww2. He, and many more should receive tributes, not just a nod!

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