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Christmas Card sent home from the Front--This embroidered Christmas Card was sent home from the front line by Uncle Will, he was serving with the 12th Battalion, West Yorkshire RegimentSubmitted by: Tim Atkinson
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221962This 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.
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