WWI was a brutal war of attrition that saw the English politicians preferring to send
"colonial" troops into the hot spots rather than upset the English voters with
excessive English troop deaths. Of course that also included Scottish and Irish troops
being sent into battles first.
I grew up in the shadows of WWII, being taught by many former Canadian service men who
survived and went on to be teachers. As a result we learned far more about WWII than
WWI. I felt a personal "void" here as I had lost my grandfather, Cpl. Clifford
Johnston #89804, in 1926 to WWI inflicted mustard gas poisoning. I never knew him as I
did my maternal grandfather. As a result I had a lot of unanswered questions. I assume
that others are/were in much the same situation. So, I do try to make information
available to others as I come across it in the hope that it may help someone, sometime.
Your mention of the Military Medal struck a raw nerve. My grandfather's best friend
and first cousin Robert Johnston received the MM and was later killed by a German sniper.
My grandfather was with the Canadian Field Artillery. One day he went out on a night
mission capturing a German officer and valuable intelligence. His sergeant took the
prisoner and intelligence off his hands and to HQ claiming that he had been responsible
for the capture. Interesting as he hadn't even been out on the night mission. He had
threatened my grandfather with a suicide mission if he didn't turn over the German
prisoner, etc., and keep his mouth shut. The sergeant received the MM for what my
grandfather had done.
My grandfather manned his artillery piece giving support at most of the major battles of
WWI, including Ypres that you mention. From the photographs that I saw at the Imperial
War Museum some 20 years ago they lived and fought in a living hell on earth. It was
rough. Small wonder that so many had PTSD.
I'd enjoy reading your book :-)
On Saturday, July 30, 2016 4:47 PM, Bruce Graham <bruros(a)xtra.co.nz> wrote:
It's great to learn just how many people , like yourself, are
recording History , before it's lost forever ...."We WILL remember them"
For your interest I have Attached a Photo of my late grand-dad's youngest
brother , George William Graham, who Volunteered in 1914...Middlesex
Regiment. As you can see in the Pic. he wears the "Military Medal", awarded
to "Other Ranks " for "outstanding acts in the field of battle".
Grt.Unc. George was a Corporal when the Pic was taken , as you can see.
He was sent home in 1915 , to recover from being Gassed, He married while on
Leave , and returned to the Front, promoted to 2nd Lieutenant, Lancashire
George was killed near Ypres on 20th September the same year as your
Sergeant W.Johnston. I feel VERY sad , for those young guys who went right
through the first THREE YEARS of Trench warfare, only to fall in the last
year of it ! I am working on his Biography , and if you want a copy as an
E.Mail Attachment , just let me know....the same offer goes for my completed
Biography of Edgar his older Bro. ( Grand-dad)....the Booklet is 59 pages
long, but it 'travels' ok by E.Mail !
Hard to believe, but on the day George fell, so did SEVEN other
Officers, and Lord knows how many 'Other Ranks'.
There were four Graham Brothers , when War broke out, and their Grand-dad
came from Dumfries....also from another Researcher, I believe we have a
blood connection to the Ahoghill Grahams.
My E.Mail is :- bruros(a)xtra.co.nz;
Look forward to
hearing from you , when time and energy allow ! Cheers the 'noo, Bruce
From: Cliff. Johnston via
Sent: Sunday, July 31, 2016 8:07 AM
Subject: FERMANAGH-GOLD Antiques Roadshow,WWI & a Johnston who lived in Co.
Several months ago I wrote down some details on a WWI piece of memorabilia
that had belonged to a Johnston. I just "found" the envelope and figured
that if I don't send it off now it may get lost forever [at least by me
;-) ] The details follow:
13th. Royal Irish Rifles, Regimental #17935, Sgt. W. Johnston, died
14-2-1917. He lived approximately 1 mile outside Enniskillen. I failed to
make a note of it, but I believe that kin still live there.
It would be interesting if someone in the area visited the family and got
them to do a Y-DNA test :-)
I hope that this helps someone.
To unsubscribe from the list, please send an email to
FERMANAGH-GOLD-request(a)rootsweb.com with the word 'unsubscribe' without the
quotes in the subject and the body of the message