Jump to content
Great War Forum

Remembered Today:

Sign in to follow this  
laughton

Serjeant G. A. Johnson, Durham Light Infantry

Recommended Posts

laughton

There is not enough evidence to prove that these are the remains of Sgt. Johnson but the circumstantial evidence exists. I thought I would take a few moments to check when I saw that the Serjeant was beside a Private, both from the DLI. Both were found at 28.I.29.a.7.4 which is about 700 yards north of Hill 60 due south of the east end of Lake Zillebeke.

 

There is only one DLI Serjeant missing and on the Ypres Menin Gate Memorial in March 1916 and he was killed on the same day as Private William Coxon #2694 who has the known grave.

 

Serjeant George A. Johnson, 1st/9th Durham Light Infantry #1310

 

They were in different battalions. There was a Serjeant of the 8th Bn. KIA that same day but he has a known grave.

 

doc2019028.JPG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ss002d6252

They were buried next to each other but presumably he could have been buried at an earlier or later date, it depends on how the location was used.( I've not looked at the diaries to see when the battalions were in the area.)

 

Craig

Edited by ss002d6252

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MelPack

Richard

 

I would agree with you that the recovery from exactly the same location as Coxen provides strong circumstantial evidence that the unknown is Johnson.

 

As you are undoubtedly aware, there are 35 DLI Serjeants (including Johnson) commemorated on the Menin Gate - would it be necessary to demonstrate that the other 34 missing Serjeants could not have been in the recovery location to turn the evidence from circumstantial to compelling in order to meet any threshold?

 

I am just posing the question.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
laughton

The Long, Long Trail tells us this about the 1st/9th Durham Light Infantry:

Quote

1/9th Battalion
August 1914 : at Gateshead. Record same as 1/6th Bn.
12 February 1918 : converted into Pioneer Battalion and transferred to 62nd (2nd West Riding) Division.

 

That must mean they were 151st Brigade in 50th (Northumbrian) Division? If I check that on the Ance$try site I only get the 1/8th Battalion war diary.

 

Here is the start of the 151st Infantry Brigade for March 1916 (page 115 of 886) under 50th Division, 151st Brigade. It refers to #9 DLI in "A" Camp at OUDERDOM? southeast of Ypres.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ss002d6252
10 minutes ago, laughton said:

The Long, Long Trail tells us this about the 1st/9th Durham Light Infantry:

 

That must mean they were 151st Brigade in 50th (Northumbrian) Division? If I check that on the Ance$try site I only get the 1/8th Battalion war diary.

 

Here is the start of the 151st Infantry Brigade for March 1916 (page 115 of 886) under 50th Division, 151st Brigade. It refers to #9 DLI in "A" Camp at OUDERDOM? southeast of Ypres.

Yes, they were 151st, ( DLI) Brigade with the 6th,7th and 8th Bns.

I have a copy of the 9th diary if need be - it's quite a good diary for casualty returns (except, it appears, March 16...). What day are you looking for ?

Craig

Edited by ss002d6252

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
laughton

March 2nd 1916

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ss002d6252
44 minutes ago, laughton said:

March 2nd 1916

Battalion was in 'close support'. C & D Coy retired to Dickebusch in the evening. A & B Coy were attached to 149th Bde. 2 platoons of A Coy were attached to West Riding Regiment (I suspect these were part of 17 Division who were on the right of the line and made an attack on 2 March)
10 men killed, 24 Wounded, 10 Missing.

The battalion was in close support trenches 37 + 47s, Hill 60 Sector, on 1 March - no sign they had changed location by the 2nd. On 1 March the Lewis gunners, bombers and D coy had moved in to Glasgow Cross trench to provide fire on the enemy. 4 Killed, 5 Wounded and 1 Missing on 1 March.


Craig

Edited by ss002d6252

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ss002d6252

Johnson is recorded in Jan 16 as being in B Coy so there's a good chance he was still in B Coy in March.

 

Capture.JPG.48f1d8cc6faeff9fcc34523aebefe194.JPG


Craig

Edited by ss002d6252

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
laughton
15 hours ago, ss002d6252 said:

A & B Coy were attached to 149th Bde.

 

149th Infantry Brigade for March 1916 (starts on page 347 of 713).

 

That does show the name clearer, so it was OUDERDOM (TMS 28.G.30.c.2.7). That is about 3,800 yards west and slightly northwest of Dickebush. About 11,000 yards from Zillebeke.

 

Then they appear to have moved well to the east and close to the site where the remains were recovered. They are now in the same sector 28.I.29.

 

On 2 March 1916 the 149th Brigade assaulted the BLUFF (TMC 28.I.34.c.3.2) and took the salient in the enemy's line known as the BEAN (TMC ?). That evening, they relieved the 151st Brigade In the Right Sector Trenches 37.L to A.3 inclusive. On page 349 it notes the place as RAILWAY DUGOUTS (TMC 28.I.20.d to 28.I.21.c). That is just south of Transport Farm on the southeast corner of Lake Zillebeke . The diary then notes that 1 1/2 Coys 9th DLI (attached) is at Blaupoort Farm, which I have to assume is Blauwe Poort Farm (TMC 28.I.27.b.5.4). The remains of the UNKNOWN DLI Serjeant and Private Coxon (8th DLI) were recovered at 28.I.29.a.7.4. That is 1,500 yards due east of Blauwe Poort Farm and 800 yards due north of Hill 60 (TMC 28.I.29.c.9.2).

 

The war diary for 3 March 1916 makes reference to the difficulty in evacuating the wounded of the 151st Infantry Brigade from the CUTTING (that would be the RAILWAY CUTTING TMC 28.I.35.a.4.9), on the southwest border of Hill 60.

 

All of this tells us that there is a good chance that the remains are those of Serjeant Johnson, but it is not a rock solid case.

 

On 9/16/2016 at 07:45, MelPack said:

there are 35 DLI Serjeants (including Johnson) commemorated on the Menin Gate - would it be necessary to demonstrate that the other 34 missing Serjeants could not have been in the recovery location to turn the evidence from circumstantial to compelling in order to meet any threshold?

 

That is most certainly true, if we cannot pinpoint the location. The CWGC database tells me there were 138 DLI Serjeants that were commemorated in Belgium, 61 of which are on the memorials for the missing. It is a much easier process to check all those for our Canadian men, as we can check their individual "Circumstance of Casualty" file, the majority of which tell us where they were when they were killed and many the trench map coordinates for their burial. This has allowed us to create a database for the unknowns, so it is easy to check. If I understand the U.K. system, there is no such record. Perhaps they were destroyed in the London bombings during WWII, while the Canadian records remained safe in Ottawa.

 

I will have to put this case "On Hold" (Unknown List of Cases) pending the time to gather all that information.

Edited by laughton

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest

Hi, I am the Great Great Niece of '1310 Sergeant George Alfred Johnson 1st/9th Durham Light Infantry' do you have any information about him? All i know is the date he died and i am trying to find out about his Service record. Any information will be greatly received.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ss002d6252
18 minutes ago, Clare Kelly-White said:

Hi, I am the Great Great Niece of '1310 Sergeant George Alfred Johnson 1st/9th Durham Light Infantry' do you have any information about him? All i know is the date he died and i am trying to find out about his Service record. Any information will be greatly received.

Bits can be pieced together:

My records indicate his number was allocated on 16 April 1912 between 28 March 1912 and 14 April 1912.
He would have been at Camp in Wales in Aug 1914 with the Brigade and they were called back to the North East when war was declared.
He landed in France on 19/20 April 1915 when the battalion moved from Newcastle Central Station to  Boulogne via Folkstone (unless he was part of the battalion transport/machine gun section who went to Boulogne via Forth Goods Station, Southampton and Le Havre).
After landing in France the battalion War Diary will give more details on their movements but after less than a week in France they were in action at the 2nd Ypres - the Division was meant to have some time to 'bed in' but the Germans had other ideas and as the spare Division on hand the men had to be used.

 

EDIT:
Just seen his service record does survive - https://search.findmypast.co.uk/record?id=GBM/WO363-4/007384488/00824&parentid=GBM/WO363-4/7384488/35/824

Craig

Edited by ss002d6252

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest

Thank you, after reading all of the above am i right in thinking that he doesn't have a grave as he was never found?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ss002d6252
1 minute ago, Clare Kelly-White said:

Thank you, after reading all of the above am i right in thinking that he doesn't have a grave as he was never found?

He doesn't have a known grave - he may be one of the 'unknown' men who were recovered but not identified or his body may never have been found.

Craig

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...