Douglas Gordon JOHNSTON


JOHNSTON, Douglas Gordon

Service Number: 2124
Enlisted: 19 August 1915
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 50th Infantry Battalion
Born: Oakbank, South Australia , 6 February 1893
Home Town: Oakbank, Adelaide Hills, South Australia
Schooling: Oakbank State School, Hahndorf and St Peter's Colleges
Occupation: Clerk with the Bank of Adelaide
Died: GSW thigh Noreuil, France, pneumonia, heart failure, 1st Eastern General Hospital, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England , 5 May 1917, aged 24 years
Cemetery: Cambridge City Cemetery, United Kingdom
Casmbridge Borough Cemetery (Row C, Grave No. 3638), Fen Ditton, Cambridgeshire
Memorials: Adelaide National War Memorial, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Hackney St Peter's College Fallen Honour Board, Oakbank Old Scholars Roll of Honor, Woodside District of Onkaparinga Honour Board
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World War 1 Service

19 Aug 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 2124, 50th Infantry Battalion
12 Aug 1916: Involvement Private, SN 2124, 50th Infantry Battalion
12 Aug 1916: Embarked Private, SN 2124, 50th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Ballarat, Adelaide
7 Apr 1917: Wounded AIF WW1, Private, SN 2124, 50th Infantry Battalion, Bullecourt (First), GSW to knee/thigh, Noreuil, France. DOW 1st Eastern General Hospital, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England

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Biography contributed by Faithe Jones

'Remembered' at Inverbrackie Cemetery SA 

From the book Fallen Saints

Douglas Gordon Johnston was born at Oakbank and lived with his parents and siblings in Oakbank House, a large two-storey home situated on the southern side of the famous Oakbank Racecourse in the Adelaide Hills of South Australia. He was educated at the Oakbank State School and the Hahndorf College before attending the Collegiate School of St Peter. After leaving the School in 1910, he was a clerk with the Bank of Adelaide until he enlisted for service in the AIF on 19 August 1915.

Douglas was held in transit at B Company 2nd Depot Battalion, Adelaide until 16 October when he joined the 8th quota of reinforcements for the 27th Battalion. 

Throughout all of November and December, he attended an NCO course and was promoted to sergeant on 1 January 1916; two weeks later, he was made provisional Company Sergeant Major of C Company 2nd Depot Battalion.

At the end of January, acting Sergeant Johnston was posted to Duntroon (probably as an instructor) until 16 June when he joined the 4th quota of reinforcement for the 50th Battalion at Mitcham Camp; he sailed from Adelaide with that quota aboard HMAT Ballarat on 12 August.

He disembarked at Devonport, England in late September and joined the 13th Training Battalion at Codford where 4 October he was appointed to the rank of provost sergeant.

In January 1917, he embarked for France and there joined the 50th Battalion towards the end of the month. 

During the fighting at Noreuil on 2 April, he was severely wounded and following admittance to the 13th Stationary Hospital was treated for wounds to his head, knee, hand, as well as exhaustion and Pneumonia.

On 26 April, he was evacuated to England aboard HS St Denis, and admitted to 1st Eastern General Hospital, Cambridge where on 5 May 1917 he died of heart failure caused by empyema and anaesthetic; he was 24 years of age.

Ten days after he died a kindly visitor left the following brief note with a Red Cross representative at the Hospital.

He had many friends in this country and we hope that it will be somewhat of a comfort to his mother to know how three or four old family friends saw a good deal of him and almost at the end when to us all, he seemed so bright and so likely to recover. [i]

[i] Australian War Memorial, Australian Red Cross wounded and missing enquiry bureau files – Johnston, Douglas Gordon / 1450506, viewed 2 November 2005