Family starts fundraiser to send RAF veteran great-grandad on dream Spitfire flight

A VETERAN whose lifelong dream is to fly in a Spitfire may see his wish come true as his family plans an 80th birthday treat.

Wednesday, 5th February 2020, 3:56 pm
Updated Thursday, 6th February 2020, 5:23 pm

David Johnson, who was born in Titchfield, will celebrate eight decades of an extraordinary life in June, and his family wanted to mark the occasion.

Proud veteran David served in the RAF for 25 years as a chief aircraft technician and, despite a lifetime of adventures, has never taken flight in a Spitfire.

His family hopes to raise £2,750 to send him on the flight of a lifetime from Lee-on-the-Solent around the Isle of Wight with Boultbee Flight Academy, giving something back to the much-loved great-grandad.

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The family of RAF veteran David Johnson are fundraising to try and send him on the flight of a lifetime in a Spitfire for his 80th birthday

David once taxied a Spitfire in the 1960s, but did not fly, and has dreamed of taking flight ever since.

The 79-year-old said: ‘It’s a wonderful aircraft and taxiing it around I thought “if only I could take this off the ground”.

‘It would be the icing on the cake.’

Grandson Daniel Janicki came up with the plan, and David is very excited and described his family as ‘a great team’.

David and his wife Rose and one of their two children

Daniel, from Gosport, said: ‘All through my childhood he’s always talked about planes, it’s still something he’s very passionate about.’

An interesting life has seen David live around the world, including Saudi Arabia and Singapore, and spending much time rebuilding aircraft, including a Spitfire which was used in the 1969 film Battle of Britain, and a Tiger Moth found in someone’s back garden in Cardiff.

The Spitfire trip is particularly significant as David unfortunately had an abscess which burst on his brain just before he retired, leaving him deaf and unable to drive.

This meant David and Rose, his wife of 58 years, never got the retirement they quite planned.

Daughter Kim Nicholls said: ‘It would be nice for dad to do this because he never got to have a retirement, they were so looking forward to going travelling.’

Even if they cannot raise enough for the flight, the family wants to do something special, and anything left over will go to David’s choice of the Royal Air Forces Association.