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Christmas Card sent home from the Front

Christmas Card sent home from the Front Click image to view full size.

This embroidered Christmas Card was sent home from the front line by Uncle Will, he was serving with the 12th Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment

Submitted by: Tim Atkinson

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This item belonged to:

Cpl. William Foster Johnson MM. DCM.

British Army 12th Btn. West Yorkshire Regiment

from:Monk Fryston, Yorkshire

(d.19th May 1918)

William Foster Johnson is a little-known war hero. Awarded a bar to the D.C.M in 1917 for single-handedly tracking down and killing a German sniper 'dressed in British uniform', Cpl. Johnson was also the holder of the Military Medal. Yet little else is known about him.

He was my grandfather's uncle and his life and death weren't talked about. I have his medals and a dozen of the most delicate, embroidered postcards send back from France with pencil messages such as 'we are fighting like the very old lad,' or simply, 'Happy Christmas.' I would love to know more - where he was killed, what action he saw, but the facts are elusive.

His battalion was disbanded in February 1918. Keeping his original number, we can surmise he was transferred to another Battalion within the regiment but we don't know where he served in the final months of his life, where he was mortally wounded, whether he was killed outright (I suspect not) or survived as a casualty only to die of his injuries a few days later. All we know is that he is buried in Etaples Military Cemetery.

Editors Note:- The Roll of Individuals entitled to the British War Medal and the Victory Medal indicates that he was 'Killed in Action' whereas other entries refer to 'Died of Wounds', 'Presumed Dead' or 'Discharged'. From this, it would appear that he died, outright, on the battlefield.

Uncle Will's medals - Top:- Victory Medal and 1914/18 Star. Bottom:- Military Medal and British War Medal.

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    The Life on the Home Front Archive aims to build a comprehensive collection to all others to learn about items them may have from this important period in history.

    We are hoping to include photographs of memorabilia, copies of documents, newspaper clippings, postcards, photographs, letters and other ephemera which together will build a picture of the dramatic changed to life in Britain brought about by the Great War of 1914 - 1918.

    All the items listed have been submitted by members of the public, we would love to add photographs or scans of any items you may have in your own possession to help build a comprehensive archive from which everyone may learn more about their own families and communities in during the Great War.

    To commemorate the Centenary of the Great War, the 'Life on the Home Front Archive' aims to create an online interactive archive to allow everyone to learn more about the effect of the Great War on their own families and community. This initiative has been made possible by the generous support of the Heritage Lottery Fund.    
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    The 'Life on the Home Front' section of our website has been made possible by the generous support of the Heritage Lottery Fund.    
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    Please note this funding is ring fenced for "Life on the Home Front", our main website and activities will continue to be funded by donations and advertising revenue. Continued support from visitors is vital to ensure the future of our website.

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