Dudley Graham Johnson VC CB DSO* MC

b. 13/02/1884 Bourton, Gloucestershire. d. 21/12/1975 Fleet, Hampshire.

Dudley Graham Johnson (1884-1975) was born on February 13th, 1884 at Bourton­on­the­Water in Gloucestershire. He was the son of William Johnson, who hailed from Hampshire, and Rosina Arnott, originally from Lanarkshire, Scotland. He was one of seven children, with brothers named Leslie, Cecil, Victor, Mervyn and John and a sister called Rose. Educated at Bradfield College. He served with the 3rd Wiltshire Regt during the second Boer War transferring to the South Wales Borderers on the 4th July 1903, he was the battalion Adjutant from 1909 to 1912.

Dudley G Johnson

Serving in China with the 2nd Battalion at the outbreak of WW1, he was awarded the DSO for his actions on the night of the 5/6th Nov 1914, Tsing-tau, China, citation for the award of the DSO posted in London Gazette 16th March 1915. He then saw Service in Egypt and Gallipoli, March to June 1915.

He joined The Royal Sussex Regiment in November 1916 from The South Wales Borderers, and was the Commanding Officer of the 2nd Battalion from March 1918 until April 1919. He was awarded the MC on 1st January 1918. It was during the assault on the Sambre Canal on 4th November 1918 (a week before the Armistice) that he was to perform the action which led to the award of the Victoria Cross.

The 2nd Infantry Brigade, of which 2nd Battalion Royal Sussex formed part, was ordered to cross the lock south of Catellon. The position was strong and before the bridge could be thrown, a steep bank leading up to the lock and a waterway about 100 yards short of the canal had to be crossed. The assaulting platoons and bridging parties Royal Engineers, on their arrival at the waterway were thrown into confusion by a heavy barrage and machine gun fire and heavy casualties were caused.

At this moment Lieutenant ­Colonel Johnson arrived and realising the situation at once collected men to man the bridges and assist the Royal Engineers and personally led the assault. In spite of his efforts heavy fire again broke up the assaulting and bridging parties. Without any hesitation he again organised the platoons and bridging parties and led them at the lock, this time succeeding in effecting a crossing after which all went well. During all this time Lieutenant­Colonel Johnson was under heavy fire, which, though it nearly decimated the assaulting columns, left him untouched. His conduct was a fine example of great valour, coolness and intrepidity, which, added to his splendid leadership and offensive spirit that he had inspired in his Battalion, were entirely responsible for the successful crossing.

He was also made a Companion of the Order of the Bath. He married Marjorie Grisewood and had three children. From 1928-32 he commanded the 2nd Battalion, North Staffordshire Regiment; Commanding the 12th (Secunderabad) Infantry Brigade from 1933-36; from 1938-1940 he commanded the Fourth Division, which followed by becoming the General Officer Commanding Aldershot in 1940. He became the Colonel of the South Wales Borderers 1944-49. He retired as a Major-General, and spent his retirement in Hampshire, where aged 91, he died on 21st December 1975. He was buried with his wife in Christ Churchyard, Church Crookham, Hampshire.

His impressive medal group including VC, CB, DSO and Bar, MC, are held by the South Wales Borderers Museum, Brecon, Wales.





Carol Pollard – Images of Johnson VC’s Grave and Johnson Way sign in Church Crookham, Hampshire.

Mark Sanders – Johnson’s Medal Card.

Brian Drummond – Johnson’s name on the Freemasons Memorial, London.