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Rohanm

Diaries of Johnston L Preston - 15th (Service) Battalion (1st Birkenhead) Cheshire Regiment

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Rohanm

Two volumes of the type written diaries A4 of a Johnston L Preston (from the Wirral) who served as an Officer in the 15th (Service) Battalion (1st Birkenhead) have been found this week on a shelf in an old property in Dublin. Entitled 'An Officer's Diary 1916 Volume 1 & 2, it is possible that these diaries had been typed from the original handwritten documents during a period when this Officer may have been stationed in Dublin 1919-21. The diary has been signed by the author with pages containing edits in his handwriting and are in excellent condition. The two volumes contain comprehensive details of his time in France from January 1916. The diaries had escaped the attentions of the military censors, as outlined by the author, and include details of personnal, unit info, names of colleagues, ranks and fellow officers, unit commanders and locations. Content is detailed and flows in a story tellers style and makes for an engaging read. These diaries are possibly unique in content and ideally they should be printed, with content made available to a wider audience. 
 

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ForeignGong

Great find, hope they do get published.

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BillyH

This sounds genuine enough, but strangely there is no trace of him on medal index cards?

Can't find a birth record 1875-1900 either.

edit : or a marriage or death record, anywhere.

 

BillyH.

Edited by BillyH
added info

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voltaire60

 How very interesting. No obvious candidate showing up either in officer files at The National Archives,Kew- nor any obvious medal card for anyone called Preston serving in the Cheshire Regiment.    2 vols just on 1916?????  Very,very interesting. Any more details to hand????  Is the A4 typescript  modern or "bashed finger" typewritten????

 

      Reference to Dublin 1919-1921-plus the lack of an officer file at Kew- was this man  a Tan?

 

A marked-up copy suggests that it may have been the draft for publication- any other paperwork with the volumes??

 

Edited by voltaire60

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Rohanm

Im trying to post photos but i am getting out of memory errors.They are the real thing - battered cover and old style type face and paper. Obviously bound very many years ago. Think they may originally have been recovered from a house in Delgany, Co. Wicklow by the former owner of the current property, now passed away. Cheshire Regiment had been stationed in County Wicklow area during the Irish War of 1919-21 

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Rohanm
7 hours ago, voltaire60 said:

 How very interesting. No obvious candidate showing up either in officer files at The National Archives,Kew- nor any obvious medal card for anyone called Preston serving in the Cheshire Regiment.    2 vols just on 1916?????  Very,very interesting. Any more details to hand????  Is the A4 typescript  modern or "bashed finger" typewritten????

 

      Reference to Dublin 1919-1921-plus the lack of an officer file at Kew- was this man  a Tan?

 

A marked-up copy suggests that it may have been the draft for publication- any other paperwork with the volumes??

 

Regular Army units were stationed in Ireland at this time. Highly unlikely that a commissioned officer would serve in the Royal Irish Constabulary as a 'Black and Tan', possibly as a member of the Auxilliary Division but I doubt this in this man's case. Cheshire Regiment had been based in Wicklow Jail during period of 1919-21. It is possible though that diary arrived to Dublin before this time 

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Rohanm
11 hours ago, ForeignGong said:

Great find, hope they do get published.

https://m.facebook.com/johnston.preston.7/albums/118720382319487/?_rdr

7 hours ago, voltaire60 said:

 How very interesting. No obvious candidate showing up either in officer files at The National Archives,Kew- nor any obvious medal card for anyone called Preston serving in the Cheshire Regiment.    2 vols just on 1916?????  Very,very interesting. Any more details to hand????  Is the A4 typescript  modern or "bashed finger" typewritten????

 

      Reference to Dublin 1919-1921-plus the lack of an officer file at Kew- was this man  a Tan?

 

A marked-up copy suggests that it may have been the draft for publication- any other paperwork with the volumes??

 

https://m.facebook.com/johnston.preston.7/albums/118720382319487/?_rdr

7 hours ago, voltaire60 said:

 How very interesting. No obvious candidate showing up either in officer files at The National Archives,Kew- nor any obvious medal card for anyone called Preston serving in the Cheshire Regiment.    2 vols just on 1916?????  Very,very interesting. Any more details to hand????  Is the A4 typescript  modern or "bashed finger" typewritten????

 

      Reference to Dublin 1919-1921-plus the lack of an officer file at Kew- was this man  a Tan?

 

A marked-up copy suggests that it may have been the draft for publication- any other paperwork with the volumes??

 

 

7 hours ago, BillyH said:

This sounds genuine enough, but strangely there is no trace of him on medal index cards?

Can't find a birth record 1875-1900 either.

edit : or a marriage or death record, anywhere.

 

BillyH.

https://m.facebook.com/johnston.preston.7/albums/118720382319487/?_rdr

11 hours ago, ForeignGong said:

Great find, hope they do get published.

https://m.facebook.com/johnston.preston.7/albums/118720382319487/?_rdr

7 hours ago, BillyH said:

This sounds genuine enough, but strangely there is no trace of him on medal index cards?

Can't find a birth record 1875-1900 either.

edit : or a marriage or death record, anywhere.

 

Sadly, there is only his name 

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voltaire60

 Thank you Rohanm- at last, a useful reason for Facebook!!.     Correct identification of this chap is a priority.  Look to me to be a  few years after the Great war to my eye-for typing and style. Is the paper thin or modern-day normal size??

   Should be possible to work out a pseudonym by a close look at text.  Mention of circulation and copies raises problems for publication- if the original diaries exist in MS, then ownership of that will be trumps for copyright.  Any clues as to when he was commissioned-or even where he trained?

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Rohanm
1 hour ago, voltaire60 said:

 Thank you Rohanm- at last, a useful reason for Facebook!!.     Correct identification of this chap is a priority.  Look to me to be a  few years after the Great war to my eye-for typing and style. Is the paper thin or modern-day normal size??

   Should be possible to work out a pseudonym by a close look at text.  Mention of circulation and copies raises problems for publication- if the original diaries exist in MS, then ownership of that will be trumps for copyright.  Any clues as to when he was commissioned-or even where he trained?

Thin paper not quite A4 - will check for other details later 

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voltaire60

   The memoirs appear to have been published in 1919- the only holding I can track is the Imperial War Museum copy-headed "Extracts from an Officer's Diary"   The entry from IWM and the entry from COPAC for the IWM holding are below.

    The man's name appears to be more correctly HARRISON Johnston. He has an officer file at Kew and a MIC-and a DSO as well. More about him should be fairly easy to track. The Cheshire Regiment folk have a photograph of him as well. 16th Cheshire certainly has a modern history (I have a local casualty for Wanstead in the east of London who was an officer with them-Bantams- Captain Ernest Fuller Thurgood). It will be worth contacting the Cheshire Regiment folk about this.

   If you would like the printed version looked at then I can order it up at IWM for the week after next sometime.  The Cheshire Regiment is likely to have pots of information about him.  Entries from online catalogues below

     Still very interesting stuff

Pip,pip

Mike :wub:

 

Harrison Johnston
Geo. Falkner (Publisher)

Manchester 1919

whole: Dimensions: 22cm., Pagination: 156p.

 

Title

Extracts from an officer's diary, 1914-18 : being the story of the 15th and 16th Service Battalions, the Cheshire Regiment (originally Bantams) / by Lt.-Col. Harrison Johnston, DSO.

Author

·         JOHNSTON, HARRISON.

Published

·         Manchester : Geo. Falkner 1919

 

  Major Harrison JOHNSTON. The Cheshire Regiment.

 

Ordering and viewing options

This record has not been digitised and cannot be downloaded. 

You can order records in advance to be ready for you when you visit Kew. You will need a reader's ticket to do this. Or, you can request a quotation for a copy to be sent to you.

·         Order in advance Request a copy

 

Reference:

WO 339/18026

Description:

Major Harrison JOHNSTON.

The Cheshire Regiment.

Date:

1914-1919

Held by:

The National Archives, Kew

Former reference in its original department:

35786

Legal status:

Public Record(s)

Language:

English

Closure status:

Open Document, Open Description

 

 

Black and white photograph. Lt Colonel Harrison Johnston DSO.

Cheshire Military Museum Archive Collections. First World War Collections. Black and white photograph. Lt Colonel Harrison Johnston DSO.

 

Held by:

Cheshire Military Museum

Date:

03 October 1919

Reference:

CHEM 0014.03.01.02

 

 

Medal card of JohnstonHarrison. Corps: Cheshire Regiment. Rank: Captain.

War Office: Service Medal and Award Rolls Index, First World War. Jobling J - Langley P. Medal card of JohnstonHarrison. Corps Regiment No Rank Cheshire Regiment Captain. Cheshire Regiment Lieutenant Colonel.

 

Held by:

The National Archives - War Office, Armed Forces, Judge Advocate General, and related bodies

Date:

1914 - 1920

Reference:

WO 372/11/23147

Subjects:

Armed Forces (General Administration) | Army | Conflict | Medals | Operations, battles and campaigns

 

  

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thetrenchrat22
On 20/04/2018 at 01:15, Rohanm said:

Two volumes of the type written diaries A4 of a Johnston L Preston (from the Wirral) who served as an Officer in the 15th (Service) Battalion (1st Birkenhead)
 

 

Hi,  where did you find about this and is the named typed or handwritten. 

 

It is worth, comparing the details with the Extracts of an Officer’s diary by Harrison Johnston as per the details given above. 

 

To to see if they match. 

 

I dont do Facebook, so I can’t Access was on there.

Edited by thetrenchrat22

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thetrenchrat22

What does the diary show for February 1916.

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Rohanm
13 hours ago, voltaire60 said:

 Thank you Rohanm- at last, a useful reason for Facebook!!.     Correct identification of this chap is a priority.  Look to me to be a  few years after the Great war to my eye-for typing and style. Is the paper thin or modern-day normal size??

   Should be possible to work out a pseudonym by a close look at text.  Mention of circulation and copies raises problems for publication- if the original diaries exist in MS, then ownership of that will be trumps for copyright.  Any clues as to when he was commissioned-or even where he trained?

Thin paper not quite A4 - will check for other details later 

I have posted his signature using Facebook. Signature does not appear to be Harrison Johnston as suggested above. Entry for February 1916 is as per now post also on Facebook

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Rohanm

I have posted his signature using Facebook. Signature does not appear to be Harrison Johnston as suggested above. Entry for February 1916 is as per now post also on Facebook. 

From last page in diary, I notice that he was from Hoylake - photo of page now posted to Facebook 

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Rohanm
10 hours ago, thetrenchrat22 said:

 

Hi,  where did you find about this and is the named typed or handwritten. 

 

It is worth, comparing the details with the Extracts of an Officer’s diary by Harrison Johnston as per the details given above. 

 

To to see if they match. 

 

I dont do Facebook, so I can’t Access was on there.

I just joined Facebook for the purpose of displaying extracts - its very simple to join 

23 hours ago, voltaire60 said:

 How very interesting. No obvious candidate showing up either in officer files at The National Archives,Kew- nor any obvious medal card for anyone called Preston serving in the Cheshire Regiment.    2 vols just on 1916?????  Very,very interesting. Any more details to hand????  Is the A4 typescript  modern or "bashed finger" typewritten????

 

      Reference to Dublin 1919-1921-plus the lack of an officer file at Kew- was this man  a Tan?

 

A marked-up copy suggests that it may have been the draft for publication- any other paperwork with the volumes??

 

No other paperwork, just the two volumes 

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Rohanm
20 minutes ago, Rohanm said:

Thin paper not quite A4 - will check for other details later 

I have posted his signature using Facebook. Signature does not appear to be Harrison Johnston as suggested above. Entry for February 1916 is as per now post also on Facebook

I doubt they had been written more than a couple of years post war as he mentions the role of the War Office is possibly preventing a publication dur to their containing details of units, personnel and places etc 

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thetrenchrat22

I've managed to get a friend to look at Facebook for me and they seem to think that that the signature reads

 

Johnston, Lieut Colonel, Preston.  if this correct then it has to be Lieut Colonel Harrison Johnston

 

As for the other sheets of paper they can not read the details.  Its to too small and they have tried to increase the image and it just comes out blurred.
 

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Rohanm

The limitations of Facebook it would seem

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BillyH

As mentioned previously, some of us don't do Facebook (or have any desire to do so!)

I think Voltaire must have nailed it, even though it's quite a step from Johnston L. Preston to Harrison Johnston.

If the book was published before he left the army perhaps he used a pseudonym in order to avoid any backlash from the powers that be?

Anyway, here is some interesting info on Harrison Johnston (and it ticks all the boxes I think). 6th June 1917

 

BillyH.

gwf.jpg.f7ab0de226e527255153213490d0a5bd.jpg

 

 

Edited by BillyH

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thetrenchrat22

Billy,

 

I've got my friend to send me an image of the signature and I think that the mystery is solved as the image below does now look like.

 

Johnston

Lincluden

Prenton

 

 instead of Johnston, Lieut Colonel, Preston

 

 

Alan

30743268_118733102318215_4030476342259613696_n.jpg

Edited by thetrenchrat22

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helpjpl
37 minutes ago, Rohanm said:

 

From last page in diary, I notice that he was from Hoylake - photo of page now posted to Facebook 

 

1911 Census:

Harrison Johnston (30) Grain Broker born Birkenhead living at 46 Prussia Road, Hoylake, Cheshire, with -

wife Gertrude Jessie Johnston (26) born Singapore

son Harold Erskine Johnston (2) born Hoylake

+ 2 servants

 

National Probate Calendar, 1945:

JOHNSTON Harrison DSO of 46 Queen's-road Hoylake Cheshire died 9 June 1945 Probate Liverpool 28 August to Harold Erskine Johnston lieutenant colonel H.M. army Derek Harrison Johnston major H.M. army  and Hugh Rupert Granger corn merchant. Effects 11814 3s 9d. Resworn 13359 19s 2d.

 

JP

Edited by helpjpl

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Rohanm
6 minutes ago, thetrenchrat22 said:

Billy,

 

I've got my friend to send me an image of the signature and I think that the mystery is solved as the image below does now look like.

 

Johnston

Lincluden

Prenton

 

 instead of Johnston, Lieut Colonel, Preston

 

 

Alan

30743268_118733102318215_4030476342259613696_n.jpg

Excellent work

5 minutes ago, helpjpl said:

 

1911 Census:

Harrison Johnston (30) Grain Broker born Birkenhead living at 46 Prussia Road, Hoylake, Cheshire, with -

wife Gertrude Jessie Johnston (26) born Singapore

son Harold Erskine Johnston (2) born Hoylake

+ 2 servants

 

National Probate Calendar, 1945:

JOHNSTON Harrison DSO of 46 Queen's-road Hoylake Cheshire died 9 June 1945 Probate Liverpool 28 August to Harold Erskine Johnston lieutenant colonel H.M. army Derek Harrison Johnston major H.M. army  and Hugh Rupert Granger corn merchant. Effects 11814 3s 9d. Resworn 13359 19s 2d.

 

JP

This is looking better -- particularly mention of Jessie 

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helpjpl
11 minutes ago, Rohanm said:

 

This is looking better -- particularly mention of Jessie 

 

Gertrude Jessie Erskine, born 26 September 1884 in Singapore.

 

In 1901 she was living with her widowed father Samuel, a retired engineer; brother Harold; sister Gladys and 3 servants in Hoylake.

She married Harrison Johnston in 1907 and was living in Hoylake when she died on 10 July 1973.

 

JP

 

 

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