Distinguished Flying Cross group of five given to Flt Lt Edward ‘Johnnie’ Johnson, £105,000 at Spink.

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On the night of the RAF raid on May 16, 1943, Johnson was part of the main strike force under Guy Gibson and witnessed the breaching of the Möhne as his own Lancaster headed for the Eder Dam.

During the final run, he scored a direct hit using the ‘Johnson sight’ he had invented during trial runs on the Derwent Reservoir. “I didn't actually see the dam burst because I was out of sight,” Johnson said, adding: “But it was obvious what had happened by the noise on the intercom from the rear gunner.

“The water was absolutely pouring down this narrow river, causing a veritable tidal wave. It was a terrifying sight. We could see cars being engulfed.”

Johnson, who had established a boarding house in Blackpool before the outbreak of the Second World War, was one of five Dambusters to receive the DFC.