Corporal William James Johnston, MM



William James Johnston was born on 14 January 1892 at Coolcarrigan, Kilcock, County Kildare, the second of four children of land steward James Johnston and his wife Amy (nee Kirby). By 1911 he was living at 37 Bridge Street, Boyle, County Roscommon, and working as an assistant grocer to John Gilbert Scott.

Johnston enlisted in the North Irish Horse between 26 and 28 April 1915 (No.1497 – later Corps of Hussars No.71404).

He embarked for France on 22 September 1915, where he was posted to either A or D Squadron of the North Irish Horse.

In May 1916 A, D and E Squadrons came together to form the 1st North Irish Horse Regiment, serving as corps cavalry until February 1918, when it was converted to a corps cyclist regiment. The regiment saw much action on advance guard, reconnaissance and signalling duties for V Corps during the Advance to Victory offensive from August to November 1918.

In December 1918 Johnston was one of a number of men of the regiment awarded a Military Medal for the role he played during that offensive.

He was transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve, on 8 June 1919.

After the war Johnston worked as a land steward. On 7 September 1926 he married Maria Dagmar Miller at the Church of Ireland Parish Church, Howth. At the time he was land steward at Cahir Park, Tipperary. They later moved to Kenmare, County Kerry, where Johnston worked as an estate manager on the Lansdowne Estate. He died at "Woodlands", Kenmare, on 24 December 1963 and was buried in the Killowen Church of Ireland Cemetery, Kenmare.



At least one of Johnston's three brothers, Thomas Henry Johnston, also served during the war. He too saw action with the 1st North Irish Horse Regiment, reaching the rank of squadron quartermaster sergeant.


Images sourced from - Public Member Trees, contributors 'ngdun' and 'nickcavanagh'.