2714747 Charles JOHNSON, BEM, 1 Irish Guards

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    Army Number: 2714747
    Rank: Guardsman
    Name: C JOHNSON
    Unit: 1 Irish Guards
    GSM & Clasp: GSM, Palestine Clasp 1936 - 1939
    TNA Reference: WO 100/503
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2019
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    Name: JOHNSON, Charles
    DOB: about 1905
    Place of Birth:
    Died: 9th September 1966
    JOHNSON Charles BEM.png

    Army/Personal Number: 2714747
    Rank: Serjeant
    Regiment/Battalion: Irish Guards, 1st Battalion
    As at 01/09/1939: Irish Guards, 1st Battalion
    Enlisted: 8th February 1919
    Aquittance Roll:

    Medal Awarded: British Empire Medal
    London Gazette:
    1st January, 1957
    "The QUEEN has been graciously pleased to approve the award of the British Empire Medal (Military Division) to the undermentioned :—
    2714747 Sergeant (local) Charles JOHNSON, Irish Guards."

    Theatre of Combat or Operation: New Years Honours, 1957
    TNA Link: Recommendation for Award for Johnson, Charles Rank: Corporal Service No: ... | The National Archives

    "27174747 Local Servant JOHNSON Charles, 1st Battalion Irish Guards
    UK, MELF (Palestine and Tripoli), BAOR, MELF (Egypt).
    1945 to date.
    Quartermaster's Staff.

    This NCO joined the Regiment in 1919 as a Boy and his service is unbroken.

    Pre-war he served in Constantinople 1921-2, Gibraltar 1923-4, Egypt 1936-8 and in Palestine during the rebellion in 1938.

    During the war he served in Norway 1940, and in the bitter fighting in North Africa and Italy.

    Since the war he has served in Palestine, during the trouble 1947-8, in Tripoli and B.A.O.R.; and during the whole time the Battalion was in the Canal Zone, finishing with the evacuation.

    For many years this NCO has held positions of great trust and responsibility in the Quartermaster's department. During the last move of the Battalion from the Canal Zone to England, one fraught with difficulties, his hard work and quiet efficiency ensured the continuation of the Quartermasters Services in the new location, which made it so much easier for the Battalion as a whole.

    During the unsettled post war period he has been a stolid, steadfast example of what a Guardsman should be. He is the finest type of NCO and a shining example to all, especially the many young soldiers who look up to him with admiration and respect.

    During this NCO's 37 years service, which covers four Reigns, he has displayed a devotion to his Regiment and Battalion second to none. There could not be a finer example of selfless service to Sovereign and Country.

    Signed Major RS LANGTON, MVO, MC, Commanding 1st Battalion Irish Guards
    20 June 1956"

    JOHNSON Charles BEM 1.png JOHNSON Charles BEM 2.png

    Campaign Medals: Africa Star, Italy Star
    Medal Roll Details:
    WO 100/503 2714747Guardsman JOHNSON C 1st Bn. Irish Guards Palestine Clasp 1936 - 1938
    WO 100/526 2714747Guardsman JOHNSON C 1st Bn. Irish Guards Palestine Clasp 1945 - 1948

    War Diaries: War Diary: 1st Battalion IRISH GUARDS, September 1939 - July 1944
    Archive Files: WO 100/503, WO 100/526, WO 373

    IG Journal, 1960:
    L/Sgt. JOHNSON, B.E.M. Irish Guards

    It was on the 8th February, 1919, that L/Sgt. Johnson joined the Regiment. That's just over forty years ago, and the world had just experienced one of the most devastating wars in history. Little did he know that some twenty years later he would take a very active part in what was to prove yet another world conflict of even more terrifying proportions.

    In 1922 while still a young soldier, he saw his first service overseas, in Constantinople as it then was, with the 1st Battalion and in 1923 a stay of eight months or so in Gibraltar before returning to England in 1924. Home stations then until 1936 when the Battalion again went East this time to Egypt, and in 1939 the Palestine Campaign saw him in Nablus. Later that year he returned to an England seething with rumours of war. He didn't have long to wait, and when it came in September, 1939, the 1st Battalion was quartered in Wellington Barracks. It was during this war and the troubled years that followed that Johnson's overseas tours mounted up, and it is doubtful if any other fighting soldier has ever completed so many abroad with the same Battalion. Indeed his proudest boast is that in the whole of his service he has never served outside the 1st Battalion of the Regiment, a truly remarkable record.

    There was Norway 1940, North Africa 1943, Italy 1944, Palestine 1947, Tripoli 1948, Germany 1951, Egypt 1953 and Cyprus 1958. A most impressive chain of Countries and Campaigns, and one of which a soldier can rightly be proud.

    But although he took part in some lively engagements in Palestine both before and after the war, survived the dreadful "Chobry" disaster which claimed so many outstanding officers and men off Norway in 1940, lived through the fierce resistance encountered in the famous assault on Hill 212 in Tunisia, and fought in what was probably one of the bloodiest and bitterest battles of the whole war, the Anzio Beach-head, yet rarely if ever does this modest Irish Guardsman speak of them. Rather does he prefer to talk of the countless friends he made in the Regiment and outside during nearly half a century. He has a most engaging and lively conversation on a host of subjects ranging from the story of a Gharry escape in Turkey to the day in Liland when he thought he could ski, with the inevitable undignified result, and from his early days when meals were served in Barrack Rooms to a Robert Service ballad.

    Still a sprightly and very active member of the Battalion and the Sergeants' Mess, he is the Post N.C.O. and his fitness he attributes to the energetic life he led and the many sports in which he took part. A prominent member of the Battalion football and cricket elevens for many years, when his playing days ended, he continued to referee and umpire. When he goes on parade these days, and he still does, his immaculate turnout and general bearing are the envy of many, more than three decades his junior. Yes Johnno as he is affectionately known has certainly made his mark. This outstanding Irish Guardsman has set the highest example in a lifetime of loyal and devoted service to his Regiment.

    A seventeenth Century scribe once wrote: "It hath been the practice of well governed Kingdoms and States to encourage merit by reward." It was fitting therefore that in the Birthday Honours List of 1957 he was awarded the B.E.M. No one who has served with Johnno in war and peace will doubt the merit of this and all will wish him long life, health and happiness, and many more years of soldiering."
    JOHNSON C, IG JOURNAL 1960.png

    From IG Journal, 1967:
    "Lance-Sergeant C. JOHNSON, B.E.M.
    By Colonel C.W.D. Harvey-Kelly

    It is with sad regret that we record the death of Lance-Serjeant JOHNSON who was one of the oldest serving soldiers in the Household Brigade. He was found in his place of duty, the 1st Battalion Irish Guards post bunk at Chelsea Barracks, on the morning of Friday, 9th September, having died peacefully in his sleep. He was 61.

    He joined the Irish Guards as a boy of 14 in February, 1919, and throughout his service never left the 1st Battalion. His first overseas tour was in Constantinople in 1922, followed by Gibraltar in 1923. In 1935 he was with the Battalion in Egypt and served in Nablus during the Palestine Troubles in 1938.

    A survivor of the "Chrobry" disaster of Norway in 1940, he fought with the Battalion in North Africa and Anzio, and since the war served with it in Palestine, Tripoli, Germany (twice), Egypt and Cyprus. He was awarded the B.E.M. in the Birthday Honours of 1957. For the first time in his serve he was due to be left at home when the Battalion went to Aden in October, as he was to finish his colour service in February, 1967.

    "Johnno," as he was widely known, was a we'll and dearly loved character in the Regiment, with a fund of amusing and lively stories covering his long experience. A sprightly and active member of the Battalion and the Serjeants' Mess, his advice was much sought after by younger members of the Regiment. In recent years he had presided over the post bunk, which, whether in London or on some patch of heath or desert, was always immaculately kept and a "must" for any distinguished visitor.

    Our deepest sympathy goes to his sisters and members of his family."
    JOHNSON C , Obit.png

    Irish Guards: Gallantry Awards & Honours - WWII Open Resource Group
    Irish Guards: Medal Roll Palestine Clasp 1936 - 1939 - WWII Open Resource Group
    Irish Guards: Medal Roll Palestine Clasp 1945 - 1948 - WWII Open Resource Group
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2019
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    IG Journal 1960

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    Last edited: Nov 14, 2019

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