Alan Chesher JOHNSON (Alan Cheshyre JANION)

Alan Chesher JOHNSON (Alan Cheshyre JANION)

Per his military service record (regimental no. 4817), Alan Chesher (or Chester) Johnson was born at Liverpool, England. He gave his age as 33 years, his marital status as single, and his occupation as laborer. His description on his medical was height 5 feet 6 ¾ inches tall, weight 151 lbs., with a fair complexion, grey eyes, and dark hair. His religious denomination was Church of England. He claimed that he had no previous military service. He completed his medical on the 16th October 1915 at Wellington (while the Coo-ees were in Wellington), and was attested at Dripstone on the 19th October 1915 by Captain Nicholas.

After completing the Coo-ee March he went to Liverpool Camp as reinforcement for the 13th Battalion.

On his embarkation roll his address at time of enrolment was 50A Young Street, Redfern, Sydney, N.S.W., and his next of kin is listed as friend, A. Hunter, 50A Young Street, Redfern, Sydney, N.S.W. (Miss A. Hunter was the sister and NOK of William Emmerton Hunter, who also joined the Coo-ees at Wellington, and embarked on the same ship).

Private Johnson departed Sydney on the HMAT Star of England along with many of the Coo-ees on the 8th March 1916. He arrived in Egypt on the 11th April 1916. On the 19th April 1916 he transferred to the 45th Battalion in Egypt.

On the 2nd June 1916 Private Johnson left Alexandria aboard the transport Kinfauns Castle bound for France, arriving at Marseille on the 8th June 1916.

On the 23rd July 1916 the Battalion was training in the vicinity of Berteacourt, France. Private Johnson was charged with being Absent From Parade at 9.00 am and 1.00 pm on the 22nd July and Being Absent from Church Parade on the 23rd July 1916. He was awarded 7 days Field Punishment number two.

On the 14th October 1916 the Battalion was resting at La Clyette, France, after being relieved from the front line. On this day Private Johnson was charged with being Absent Without Leave from 9.15 pm on the 10th October to 4.00 pm on the 11th October and of being Drunk and Urinating in Troop Quarters. He was awarded 7 days Field Punishment number two and forfeiture of eight days pay.

On the 30th December 1916 when the Battalion was training at Flesselles, France, Private Johnson was evacuated to the 8th Australian Field Ambulance with sore feet, possibly mild trench foot. He returned to the Battalion on the 18th January 1917 whilst it was at Mametz (near Pozieres), France.

On the 7th June 1917 the 45th Battalion was involved in an attack in the vicinity of the Messines Ridge, Belgium. Private Johnson was killed in action on the first day of the Battle of Messines.

Private Johnson has no known grave and is remembered on the Menin Gate at Ypres, Belgium.

A. C. Janion served as A. C. Johnson on 45th Battalion panel at the Menin Gate Memorial, Belgium (Photograph: H. Thompson 11/9/2012)

Janion A. C. served as A. C. Johnson on 45th Battalion panel [bottom right row in centre] at the Menin Gate Memorial, Belgium (Photograph: H. Thompson 11/9/2012)

A letter in his service record dated 3rd December 1920 addressed to his mother Mrs. A. I. Janion, James Bay Hotel, Government Street, Victoria, B.C. in Canada acknowledges receipt of her statutory declaration (also in the file) advising his last name of Johnson which he enlisted under to be an assumed name, and states that the ‘records have been amended to read – “Stated to be JANION Alan Cheshyre.”

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