John Johnston

Military Information

  • Date of enlistment: September 1914
  • Place of enlistment: HMS Unicorn, Dundee
  • Service no: Clyde Z/358
  • Rank: Able Seaman
  • Service Occupation:
  • Awards:
  • Regiment/Service: Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve
  • Unit/Ship: Drake Battalion, R.N. Div
  • Place of Death: France
  • Age at Death: 40
  • Date of Death: 13.11.1916
  • Burial Country: France
  • Cemetery: Thiepval Memorial
  • Grave/Mem Ref no: Pier & Face 1A

Personal Information

  • Date of Birth:
  • Place of Birth:
  • Address: 50 Mains Road, Dundee
  • Occupation: Works Dept, Dundee Corporation
  • Mother:
  • Father:
  • Siblings:
  • Spouse:

    Margaret Johnston, 50 Mains Rd, Dundee

  • Children:

More about John Johnston

John has no known grave but is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial.

John Johnson   CZ/358   Drake Bn   R.N.D.


A.B. John Johnson, R.N.D., whose wife resides at 50 Mains Road, Dundee, has been killed in action.  The deceased was in the employment of the Works Department of the Dundee Corporation before enlisting.  He joined the colours in October 1914, and went through the Dardanelles campaign.  A.B. Johnson was 40 years of age.

Dundee People’s Journal 9th December 1916

John Johnson was the husband of Mrs Margaret Johnston of 50 Mains Road, Dundee and worked for the Dundee Corporation. In September 1914 he was one of the first Dundee men to volunteer to join the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve onboard HMS Unicorn for service in the Royal Naval Division. After initial Naval Training at the Crystal Palace in South London he was sent to Blandford Camp in Dorset for advanced military training. In January 1915 he was drafted straight into the Drake Battalion at Blandford Camp. The Drake Battalion left Blandford at the end of February sailing to the Eastern Mediterranean to assist in the forcing of the Dardanelles by the British and French Navies. The Naval attempts failed and the decision was made to land troops to seize the Gallipoli Peninsula. Nine Battalions of the RND landed shortly after the landings on 23 April and took their place in the front line. The second battle of Krithia took place in early May and, during the fighting, John Johnson received a gunshot wound and was evacuated to hospital in Alexandria. During his recuperation he overstayed his leave and was deprived of four days pay. He returned to the Drake on Gallipoli but became ill in October and was sent to the island of Mudros to recover. Here he remained until January 1916. By this time all troops were withdrawn from Gallipoli and he remained in the Aegean on garrison duties until May when he sailed to France. After training in Army tactics the RND experienced the war on the Western Front and was being prepared to join in the Somme battle. One of the first day’s objectives of the British attack on 1 July 1916 was the capture of the village of Beaucourt just to the west of the River Ancre. It was finally taken on 14 November by the men of the RND. This was the first major operation by the RND in France and established a reputation for being a “Can Do” Division. However, the casualty list was very long and over 30 local men were killed and countless more wounded. This was the worst ever day for Dundee’s Naval forces in the First World War. John Johnson was killed in action during the assault and his body was not found. He is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial in Northern France.

Additional information kindly supplied by Michael Caldwell

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