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Robert William Edward Johnson

Corporal 3944 - Sherwood Foresters
Notts & Derbys Regiment 1/5th Battalion

Enlisted: Alfreton 1st March 1915

Killed in Action Flanders 24th August 1916 : Aged 19

Bellacourt Military Cemetery, Riviere - I C 2

Huthwaite Online WW1 Remembrance

Corporal 3944 Robert Johnson was born Q2 1897 in Huthwaite given fuller name Robert William Edward Johnson. Parents 1896 Q3 Southwell registered marriage between Mr Robert William Johnson from Edwinstowe and Miss Harriett Pickaver from Main Street, Hucknall-under-Huthwaite, initially favours coal mining work holding Club Yard address. Family quickly move through Edwinstowe and Hardstoft ending up in Alfreton 1911, when 3 Queens Head Yard is headed by Mr Robert Johnson 38. Mrs Harriett Johnson 34 mothers Robert William 14, Leonard Arthur 12, Mary Ann 10, John George 8, Alice Elizabeth 6, Ann 3.   Ida would be born c1912 before military attestation also registered a fatherless household last leaving 19 Nuttall Street, Alfreton.

Mr Robert William E Johnson had started work in Alfreton as Pit Pony Driver. That was usual underground training for a maturing Coal Miner. Mr Robert Johnson signed 1st March 1915 attestation, offered apparent age 19 with updated family address having no father. Pte 3944 Robert Johnson completed training with the 3/5th Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Territorials. Promotion to Lance Corporal predates embarking to France & Flanders 12th July 1916 with that Expeditionary Force to soon earn fuller rank.

Corporal 3944 Robert Johnson holds recognised promotion just weeks after transferal into the 1/5th Battalion. Operations diary recorded precise account when killed in action by a head shot fired from front line German trenches 24th August 1916, aged 19.   Robert William Johnson was assured Alfreton War Memorial remembrance, plus Huthwaite family tied roll of honour.

R Johnson
R Johnson

Derbyshire Territorials in the Great War

Operation Orders 77 - WO-95-2692-6 Diary

Mapped patrol points lay between two areas named The Talus and The Blockhouse. 24th 7am: A patrol of 5th Sherwood Foresters found wire laid on the river bed under The Blockhouse intact. 7.30pm: A Party under Lieut Sandover left our front line near the top of Willows and reached the enemy's wire under the Blockhouse forty minutes later.
8.30pm: Lieut Smalley with 8 men and a Lewis Gun B Party left our trenches and took up their position in the Ravine to support the first party.   Lieutenant Sandover hearing a party working to his right front endeavoured to find a gap in the German wire between the Ravine and the Blockhouse.   After passing through two rows of wire he and Sgt Loomes were cutting through a third row when challenged by the enemy's sentry 15 yards from them who threw four hand grenades.   Finding it was impossible to surprise the enemy's post, Lieut. Sandover ordered his party to withdraw.   In the meantime Rifle and Machine Gun fire had been opened from the German trench and Cpl Johnson was hit in the head.   Lieutenant Sanderson dragged the Corporal through the wire with the assistance of Pte Marriott who had returned to help him, and the whole party gained the cover of the river bed without further casualties.

R Johnson

23 Jul 06     by Gary Elliott       Updated 25 Nov 15