Geoffrey Allan JOHNSON MM

JOHNSON, Geoffrey Allan

Service Number: 19097
Enlisted: 12 December 1915, Enlisted at the Warren, Marrickville, Sydney
Last Rank: Gunner
Last Unit: 7th Field Artillery Brigade
Born: Bendigo, Victoria, Australia, date not yet discovered
Home Town: Kyneton, Macedon Ranges, Victoria
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Salesman
Memorials:
Show Relationships

World War 1 Service

12 Dec 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Gunner, Field Artillery Brigades, Enlisted at the Warren, Marrickville, Sydney
11 May 1916: Involvement Gunner, SN 19097, 7th Field Artillery Brigade
11 May 1916: Embarked Gunner, SN 19097, 7th Field Artillery Brigade, HMAT Argyllshire, Sydney
24 Apr 1918: Honoured Military Medal, Villers-Bretonneux, recommendation:- 'This N.C.O. during the heavy bombardment on the morning of the 24th April, 1918, went out on the telephone lines running between this battery position near MERICOURT L'ABBE and the 26th Battery at 3.50 a.m. He was continually under heavy shell fire, but he persisted with his work in maintaining communication, although the line was being repeatedly cut. He showed exceptional coolness and bravery under most trying conditions.'

Help us honour Geoffrey Allan Johnson's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Biography contributed by Jack Coyne

Geoffrey Allan JOHNSON

Military Medal

 

Recommendation:-

'This N.C.O. during the heavy bombardment on the morning of the 24th April, 1918, went out on the telephone lines running between this battery position near MERICOURT L'ABBE and the 26th Battery at 3.50 a.m. He was continually under heavy shell fire, but he persisted with his work in maintaining communication, although the line was being repeatedly cut. He showed exceptional coolness and bravery under most trying conditions.'

Geoffrey Johnson stated on his Attestation paper that he was born in Bendigo. The two Kyneton newspapers also made claims that he was ‘one of their own’ and that he was born in Kyneton. Following his enlistment in Sydney where his father lived in December 1915, the first piece of news in the district on Bombardier Geoff Johnson was published in the Bendigo Independent on Thursday May 30 1918: -

MILITARY MEDALLIST - BOMBARDIER GEOFF JOHNSON.

Word was received yesterday by Mr. B. Ward, manager of Morley Johnson's, Bendigo establishment, from Mr. Johnson, of Sydney, that his eldest son, Bombardier Geoff Johnson, had been awarded the Military Medal. Bombardier Johnson, who enlisted in Sydney, where the family now resides, was born in

Bendigo. Mr. Johnson has received cabled congratulations from Lieut-Col. Murdoch, on Mr. Johnson's son's award.[1]

Morley Johnson and Co. was a well-known ‘Furnishing House’ established in Mitchell Street, Bendigo in 1898. The business was originally established in Kyneton in 1890 and had even expanded to a store in Sydney, which Mr Johnson senior was managing when Geoff enlisted. The connection with and congratulatory message from Lieut-Colonel Murdoch to Mr Johnson Senior on his son’s military medal would re-emerge years later in the local press.     

A week after the above news report, news of Geoffrey becoming an officer emerged, when the Bendigonian on June 6 1918 published: - BOMBARDIER G. JOHNSON, M.M.

In addition to being awarded the Military Medal. Mr. Johnson previously had word that he (Geoffrey) was entering an officers' school for training. It is thought that the German push may have deferred his entry. The recipient of this military decoration was born in Bendigo.[2]

Perhaps the most interesting piece is from Geoffrey himself writing home, which was published in the Kyneton Guardian on Nov 30, 1918: - AUSTRALIAN INFANTRY PRAISED.

‘The following extract from a letter from Bombardier Geoffrey A. Johnson, of the Field Artillery, to his family in Sydney, will be read with interest. Bombardier Johnson, we are pleased to state, has qualified for his commission: -                                                   'Three days before I left, after we had been fighting very hard for four weeks solid, Fritz put in his two crack regiments - the Kaiser's Prussian Grenadier Guards, and Princess's Guards. They had volunteered to stop the Aussies. These Germans were fresh from a spell, and our men were tired out. There was not a man in those two Fritz regiments under 6ft. They were a magnificent lot, and well fed and clothed The Aussies attacked, and Fritz fought for a while, but we took all our objectives and 2,000 prisoners. I watched them pass through, and never saw finer looking men -the pick of Germany. You may, and can well be proud of the Aussie Infantry. There is none to beat them in the whole world’.[3]

The Kyneton Guardian announced on Saturday, December 28, 1918 that: - 'Our readers will be interested to learn that a matrimonial engagement has been announced between Bomdr Geoffrey Johnson and the daughter of Lieut.Col. Murdoch, C.M.G., who has been for the period of the war in London doing voluntary war work in her father's office.'[4]

SERVICE DETAILS: 

Regimental No: 19097

Place of birth: Bendigo Victoria

Religion: Presbyterian

Occupation: Salesman

Enlisted: December 12 1915, The Warren, Marrickville, Sydney

Address: Turramurra, New South Wales

Marital status: Single

Age at enlistment: 20

Next of kin: Father, W M Johnson, 'Gainsborough', Lanecove Road, Turramurra, New South Wales

Enlistment date: 21 December 1915

Unit name: Field Artillery Brigade 7, Battery 28, 3rd Division

Embarked: HMAT A8 Argyllshire on 11 May 1916 (Sydney)

Final Rank: Lieutenant Promotion date: 5 April 1919

Fate:  Returned to Australia 17 August, 1919

Photo - Bendigo Advertiser (Friday 14 June 1918 p 3 Article Illustrated

Photo: Discovering Anzacs - National Archives Australia.

24th April, 1918, MERICOURT L'ABBE.

(Battle for Villers Bretonneaux)

Mericourt-l'Abbe is a village approximately 19 kilometres north-east of Amiens and 10 kilometres south-west of Albert. Australian troops were brought from northern France to defend the crucial railway city of Amiens following the German Spring offensive. Actions taken the following night on Anzac day April 25, 1918 to retake the hill town of Villers-Bretonneaux proved crucial in stemming the German advance on Amiens and possibly saved the war for the Allied forces. 

[1] Bendigo Independent on Thursday May 30 1918.  Page 5
[2] Bendigonian on June 6 1918,  Page 3
[3] Kyneton Guardian on Nov 30, 1918.  Page 2
[4] Kyneton Guardian Sat 28 Dec 1918.  Page 2

Read more...