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Remembered Today:

Lt Col Walter Russell Johnson - why was he interested in this murder?


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corisande
49 minutes ago, FROGSMILE said:

Johnson would have been taking an extraordinary risk if he lied, via legal channels, about his association with Helmore.  It really is a conundrum.

 

Johnson seems to have been truthful in everything he claimed (at least as far as I can establish). So the claim on knowing Helmore as his CO is strange. He did not have to say that , he could have found a different reason

 

I have whiled away my morning trying to establish who the two Smiths in the case were, and could not link either to Johnson

 

Marine J W Smith is the man that Johnson give an explanation of what happened at the coastguard station

Anthony Leslie Smith is the man that Helmore lived with from at least 1939 until his death in Ireland in 1974

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headgardener

Is there any indication as to Johnson’s whereabouts during the period between him being returned to the UK (1916?) and his return to France (1918?] - that seems to be the most likely window in which the 2 men’s paths might have crossed.

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FROGSMILE
2 hours ago, corisande said:

 

Johnson seems to have been truthful in everything he claimed (at least as far as I can establish). So the claim on knowing Helmore as his CO is strange. He did not have to say that , he could have found a different reason

 

I have whiled away my morning trying to establish who the two Smiths in the case were, and could not link either to Johnson

 

Marine J W Smith is the man that Johnson give an explanation of what happened at the coastguard station

Anthony Leslie Smith is the man that Helmore lived with from at least 1939 until his death in Ireland in 1974


I think that with Johnson’s statements in this matter we are right to make the assumption of truth.  It just seems too unlikely that he would lie in a legal setting at such enormous risk to himself.  
 

It does appear to be a strong possibility that the window of opportunity within which he and Helmore might have met is after Johnson was sacked from command and sent home by his commanding officer from France.  We don’t seem to know much about that period.  Where did he go?  
 

Usually an officer would be returned to a Reserve Battalion of his regiment that matched with the type of commission that he held. As a TF officer I would expect him to go to a TF Reserve Battalion.  Were any of the TF Battalions of the Essex Regiment based at Reading, whereby his meeting with Helmore would have been facilitated?  Also do you have sight of Helmore’s attestation document, where he was obliged to declare previous service, including any with the auxiliary forces?

 

After note: It seems that all the TF Reserve battalions of the Essex Regt (i.e. the 3rd-Line units) were merged to form a single unit, the 4th Reserve (TF) Battalion at Halton Park (Buckinghamshire) with effect 1st September 1916.  Thence to Crowborough in Aug 1917, and Hastings in Aug 1918.

Another possibility would be his employment as an Instructor at one of the regional ‘Command’ training schools in Britain, which was a common placement for officers with recent experience of the frontline. Presumably his officers record of service should throw light on his precise movements if it’s survived?

Edited by FROGSMILE
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FROGSMILE
3 hours ago, ss002d6252 said:


Unfortunately not digitised and with a cost to getting copies.  I guess it depends on whether corisande feels the outlay to be worthwhile.  I do think that the key to this matter most likely lies in knowing precisely what Johnson did (and thus where he was) after being returned home by his CO.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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corisande
4 hours ago, FROGSMILE said:

Unfortunately not digitised and with a cost to getting copies.  I guess it depends on whether corisande feels the outlay to be worthwhile.

 

My original correspondent , Nicola,  has read his file. I think we are getting all there is to get from his Officer File

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 After reading the link

It might have been something to do with passing on a sexual disease.

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FROGSMILE
3 hours ago, corisande said:

 

My original correspondent , Nicola,  has read his file. I think we are getting all there is to get from his Officer File


With the greatest of respect to Nicola (I have read her notes) I’m not sure that she will necessarily have understood all of the military record’s nuances, the relevance of Johnson’s movements, and any associated locations.  The fact that she said he “joined the Army” in 1906, rather than the Territorial Force, and made no mention anywhere of Johnson’s actual auxiliary status reveals a significant lack of understanding.

Also, where is Helmore’s attestation certificate, do we know?  The answer as to how Johnson met Helmore has to be there somewhere given the statement during legal proceedings and I think it is probably hiding in plain sight, and not being recognised.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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18 hours ago, corisande said:

 

Anthony Leslie Smith is the man that Helmore lived with from at least 1939 until his death in Ireland in 1974

 

In 1939 Helmore was also living with Diana Morrison Carter-Campbell at Winchcombe.

 

Diana was the daughter of  Major John Hendley Morrison Kirkwood DSO, QSA. She married George Lorne Carter-Campbell, 6th of Possil, in 1925, they divorced in 1926 and she died in 1969.

 

1.  http://www.thepeerage.com/p52908.htm#i529077

 

2.  https://theauxiliaries.com/men-alphabetical/men-k/kirkwood/kirkwood.html

 

3.  https://www.rostronandedwards.com/Shop/Country_Life_Magazine/8659

 

JP

Edited by helpjpl
The Wadfield at Winchcombe-The Home of Mr Anthony Leslie Smith
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corisande
9 hours ago, FROGSMILE said:

The answer as to how Johnson met Helmore has to be there somewhere given the statement during legal proceedings and I think it is probably hiding in plain sight, and not being recognised.

 

Yes that thought at the answer is in plain sight is somewhere between possible and probable, :). I will relook at the facts again

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corisande
2 hours ago, helpjpl said:

Diana was the daughter of  Major John Hendley Morrison Kirkwood DSO, QSA. She married George Lorne Carter-Campbell, 6th of Possil, in 1925, they divorced in 1926 and she died in 1969.

 

1.  http://www.thepeerage.com/p52908.htm#i529077

 

2.  https://theauxiliaries.com/men-alphabetical/men-k/kirkwood/kirkwood.html

 

Thanks for that. Like so many things in research, it makes me realise that I have not tied up all the loose ends. I noticed he in the 1939 register, but got no further than thinking "I wonder who she was?" Plus the irony of it being my own research on her father in the ADRIC (I digress here but a larger than life character and worth reading)

 

One does wonder how much of this tale is/could be bisexual as well as homosexual

 

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corisande

OK I have the photos of his officer file now, but it is heavily weeded and has most things missing.

 

However it does clarify what happened with his two bust ups with the army 1916 and 1918. They were in fact both due to him feeling he , as an "Essex man through nd through" shoulh have had command of first 1/7 then 9th Essex. I have added the correspondence to his page.

 

Also I have attempted to put together his 1917/18 movements. They are not on his file, the only clue is is somewhat rambling letter to the king asking to be re-instated to command of 9th Essex which indicates

  • Mid 1917 Johnson sent to France to 9th Essex
  • 1 month later the CO was wounded and died
  • 1 month after that Le Terriere was appointed OC, with Johnson no.2 on 21 Oct 1917
  • 6 months after that Le Terriere returns to UK sick. 26 Apr 1918
  • During this time Johnson commanded a composite battalion
  • Johnson sent to Senior Officer School
  • Johnson returns to 9th Essex, but another man has taken over as no.2
  • Johnson takes over as OC 9th Essex when this man goes sick on 22 Aug 1918
  • 1918 Oct 12 . Johnson's stint as OC is finished
  • 1918 Nov, back in UK he appeals for return of command of 9th Essex , which is rejected

His revised web page is now - click

 

But I do not think I am any closer to finding out why he got involved in Helmore's murder trial

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corisande
On 19/07/2020 at 00:03, FROGSMILE said:

 The answer as to how Johnson met Helmore has to be there somewhere given the statement during legal proceedings and I think it is probably hiding in plain sight, and not being recognised.

 

As we now stand, the only place that Johnson could have been Helmores CO, certainly the only place where he could have been Helmore's CO long enough for Helmore to have felt that he could have asked Johnson for help, would have been if Helmore have served under Johnson with Essex Regt ,

 

If Helmore had served in France then he would have the Pair. But if only in UK the he would have the BWM.  To get the British War Medal a man had to have completed 28 days mobilised service, which did not have to be overseas

 

Helmore should have got the BWM (correct me if I am wrong) for his service in Marines - he enlisted 29 Oct 1918 and served until the murder in Jul 1920. As far as I can see (again feel free to check) he did not get it from the Marines

 

Now this is a bit obscure, but there is a G Helmore in Essex Regt who got BWM alone

spacer.png

 

It in no way proves that the above G Helmore is the same CGR Helmore, but I feel is worth more probing.

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FROGSMILE
31 minutes ago, corisande said:

 

As we now stand, the only place that Johnson could have been Helmores CO, certainly the only place where he could have been Helmore's CO long enough for Helmore to have felt that he could have asked Johnson for help, would have been if Helmore have served under Johnson with Essex Regt ,

 

If Helmore had served in France then he would have the Pair. But if only in UK the he would have the BWM.  To get the British War Medal a man had to have completed 28 days mobilised service, which did not have to be overseas

 

Helmore should have got the BWM (correct me if I am wrong) for his service in Marines - he enlisted 29 Oct 1918 and served until the murder in Jul 1920. As far as I can see (again feel free to check) he did not get it from the Marines

 

Now this is a bit obscure, but there is a G Helmore in Essex Regt who got BWM alone

 

It in no way proves that the above G Helmore is the same CGR Helmore, but I feel is worth more probing.


That certainly seems a possibility. It suggests that Helmore might have served underage (i.e. stated a false age).  There were many who did so in the first two years of war, but less so after that.  Once/if found out, or reported by parents they were usually discharged, although some were sent to a Reserve battalion until they came of age. It depended on exact circumstances.
 

I think that the official Boy Soldier entry (drummers, band boys, artisans) was probably suspended for the duration of the war (although I’m not positive, as those already in were sent to depots and later Reserve battalions) and he was too young to have been already serving as a Boy Entrant I think, although that, too, should be considered.  

In either of the above cases I’m not sure what the rules were regarding eligibility for medals.

 

NB.  There were certainly many reported cases of underage boys going to France, not being discovered until some time after they had seen action, and then being sent home.  One I recall had been employed as a sniper. There are numerous recorded incidences of that kind.  The book, Boy Soldiers, by Richard Van Emden recounts this in some detail.  In such cases my understanding is that medals were awarded.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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headgardener
14 minutes ago, corisande said:

 Helmore had served in France then he would have the Pair. But if only in UK the he would have the BWM.  To get the British War Medal a man had to have completed 28 days mobilised service, which did not have to be overseas

 

I'm pretty certain that this isn't correct. Service didn't have to be in a war zone, but UK service alone wasn't enough. The rules were different for RN and, I am led to understand, RAF personnel. But army men had to leave the UK.

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headgardener
48 minutes ago, corisande said:

 

Helmore should have got the BWM (correct me if I am wrong) for his service in Marines - he enlisted 29 Oct 1918 and served until the murder in Jul 1920. As far as I can see (again feel free to check) he did not get it from the Marines

 

I forgot to say, his enlistment on 29 Oct precluded him from receiving the BWM as his required 28 days embodied service had to be completed before the armistice. BW&VM’s continued to be issued in respect of, say, the Russia campaign, but not BWM’s alone.

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corisande
1 hour ago, headgardener said:

 

I'm pretty certain that this isn't correct. Service didn't have to be in a war zone, but UK service alone wasn't enough. The rules were different for RN and, I am led to understand, RAF personnel. But army men had to leave the UK.

 

Thanks you for clarifying that.

 

So he was not entitled to any medal for his Royal Marine service as he enlisted 29 Oct 1918

 

But a man, for example the G Helmore I have quoted above, could get the BWM (as on that man's MIC)  only if he had left the UK. But had G Helmore been in a War Zone, then he would have got the Victory Medal as  well

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headgardener
10 minutes ago, corisande said:

 

Thanks you for clarifying that.

 

So he was not entitled to any medal for his Royal Marine service as he enlisted 29 Oct 1918

 

But a man, for example the G Helmore I have quoted above, could get the BWM (as on that man's MIC)  only if he had left the UK. But had G Helmore been in a War Zone, then he would have got the Victory Medal as  well

 

Yes, that’s correct.

 

Helmore enlisted too late to qualify for BWM alone, and did;t serve in any subsequent war zone (i.e. Russia), so didn’t qualify for a BW&VM.

 

G.Helmore (Beds R & Essex R) must have left the UK but did not serve with a unit that served in a designated war zone - hence him receiving a BWM and not a BW&VM. He could have received his BWM for garrison duty in India or presumably some other far-flung dominions, or for accompanying drafts of reinforcements to France (referred to as ‘Draft Conducting Duties’ - these were typically older officers and NCO’s). For the sake of accuracy, Soldiers engaged on Home Service could qualify for a BWM if they were killed by enemy action (the bombardment of Hartlepool in 1914 comes to mind) but I suspect that the numbers who qualified in this way are incredibly low. Whatever the case, it’s almost certainly impossible for ‘G Helmore’ (as per the MIC) to have been your man.

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corisande
On 18/07/2020 at 23:10, johnboy said:

 After reading the link

It might have been something to do with passing on a sexual disease.

 

I think you are referring to information that came out in Voss' inquiry, and there is a hint of that about that remark

 

1. The condition of Yates's person, which was sworn not to be venereal disease, was an indicator of Yates's habits

2. Yates’ medical history was to be re-examined although it was noted that this was unlikely to show evidence of an ‘addiction to unnatural crime’ as he would not have been allowed to remain in the service had this been suspected.

3. A further medical statement was made stating that the discharge observed from Yates' genitals was normal in a case of spinal injury and not evidence of an 'unnatural crime'. The original witnesses were re-questioned and while able to confirm that the incident with the overturned furniture had happened they had no reason to suspect anything more.
 
I doubt that we can get any further, as even if were to prove something, whatever the something was would not really help establish a link to Johnson!
 
 
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 The condition of Yates's person, which was sworn not to be venereal disease, was an indicator of Yates's habits

 

This would not have been known to his partners at the time of the incident.

Is there a link to the inquiry?

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corisande
20 minutes ago, johnboy said:

Is there a link to the inquiry?

 

 Afraid not

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corisande
7 hours ago, johnboy said:

The coastguard station had a bad month

 

It is an interesting statistic of the War of Independence that in broad terms the number of British soldiers killed by their own guns (gun accidents, suicide and murder) is roughly equal to the number killed in action by the IRA

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HarryBrook

Pte. G. Helmore, 50065 Bedford R., 51808 Essex R. was George Helmore, born 1895, enlisted 10 November 1917. Parts of his damaged service record survive and are available on findmypast https://search.findmypast.co.uk/record?id=GBM%2FWO363-4%2F007406810%2F00407&parentid=GBM%2FWO363-4%2F7406810%2F14%2F407

His address, on one of the forms, was given as 94, Invicta Road, Sheerness. Another paper, a confession, states that he served in 19th Bn. the Essex R. and goes on to state that he had absented himself from that unit on 20 August 1919 and fraudulently enlisted in the regular forces as L/12673 1st Bn. The Buffs on 31 August 1919 at Canterbury. 

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corisande

Thank you Harry

 

So that rules George Helmore out, so we are still short of a definite link between Helmore and Lt.Col Johnson

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