In memoriam

Private John Johnston

 

 

John Johnston was born at Water Street, Enniskillen, on 25 July 1894, the third child of carpenter John Johnston and his wife Sarah Jane (nee Wilson). His father died later that year.

Johnston enlisted in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers at Finner Camp, County Donegal, in September 1914 (No.14073). However the following month he transferred to the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons Service Squadron (No.UD/84).

He embarked for France on 6 October 1915 with his squadron, which was serving as divisional cavalry to the 36th (Ulster) Division. In June 1916 the squadron joined with C and F Squadrons of the North Irish Horse to form the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment, which served as corps cavalry to X Corps until August the following year.

In September 1917 the 2nd Regiment was dismounted and most of its officers and men were transferred to the 9th (Service) Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers – which was renamed the 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion. Johnston, like the majority of the men, was transferred to the battalion on 20 September. He was issued a new regimental number – 41107.

In January 1918 the 9th Battalion moved to a new sector in front of St Quentin, after seeing action in the Battle of Cambrai. Johnston died of wounds on 11 February. He may have sustained the wound the previous day. The battalion war diary for that day reports:

Front quiet except for occasional shelling. One man wounded by enemy sniper.

Private Johnston was buried near the village of Cugny (map reference 66.D.R.14.d.3.2). After the war his body was exhumed and re-buried in the Grand-Seraucourt British Cemetery, Aisne, France, grave V.G.4. His gravestone inscription reads:

41107 PRIVATE
J. JOHNSTON
ROYAL IRISH FUSILIERS
11TH FEBRUARY 1918 AGE 22

 

Image kindly provided by Steve Rogers, Project Co-ordinator of the The War Graves Photographic Project, www.twgpp.org.