George Edward Johnston AM

b. 1893 Netherfield, Nottinghamshire.  d. 30/04/1918 Crombeke, Belgium.

DATE OF AM ACTION: 30/04/1918 Crombeke, Belgium.

George E Johnston AM Grave

George was born in 1893 in Netherfield, the son of Abraham and Ellen Johnson. Ellen was a widow having been previously married to George Edwards by whom she had four daughters. Following his death, she married Abraham and they moved to Netherfield. They had two children, George and Elsie. By 1911, his father had passed away and Ellen moved the family to No 4 Oak Villas, Colwick Vale. George had begun work as an engine cleaner on the Great Northern Railway. On 21st June 1917, George enlisted at Colwick and was sent to Longmoor Camp to do his basic training. He then joined 21st Light Railway Company, part of the Royal Engineers, doing his civilian job as an engine fireman. He was posted to France in November 1917. His Albert Medal was presented to his mother, Mrs Ellen Johnson at Buckingham Palace on 26th September 1918.



In Flanders, on the 30th April, 1918, a train of ammunition had been placed at an ammunition refilling point, and after the engine had been detached, and was being run off the train, the second truck suddenly burst into flames. Furlonger immediately ordered Bigland, the driver, to move the engine back on to the train for the purpose of pulling away the two trucks nearest the engine. Bigland did so without hesitation, and the engine was coupled up by Furlonger, assisted by Farren, while the burning truck was uncoupled from the remainder of the train by Woodman. The two trucks were then drawn away clear of .the ammunition dump, it being the intention to uncouple the burning wagon from the engine and the first wagon, and so isolate it, with the object of localising the fire as far as possible. The uncoupling was about to be done when the ammunition exploded, completely wrecking the engine and both trucks, killing Furlonger, Farren and Johnston (a member of the train crew), and seriously wounding Bigland. Had it not been for the prompt and courageous action of these men, whereby three of them lost their lives and one was seriously injured, there is not the slightest doubt that the whole dump would have been destroyed and many lives lost.






Allan Stanistreet – Image of the Johnston AM Family Grave in Gedling Cemetery, Nottinghamshire.