We have been contacted by Richard Johnson (who is the grandson of Sgt R H Johnson) and he has given us this family history. He tells us that his grandfather, Richard Herbert, was born in 1878 in Manchester to parents Richard from Salford and Annie from Lockwood in Yorkshire. There was one other child, a daughter also named Annie. The parents, Richard and Annie were travelling show people.
Richard Herbert Johnson married Margaret Healey at St Ambrose Church in Everton in December 1898.
In 1901, Richard Herbert Johnson was living at 86 Anthony Street, Everton, Liverpool with Catherine and Thomas Jackson. In the household was widow Ellen Davies 72. Richard Johnson 21, was listed as a Boarder who was a married man and an Electrician’s Apprentice Mechanic. His wife was not present.
The 1911 census records Richard’s wife and family. Living at 104, Towson Street, Everton. Margaret Johnson, the wife of a Richard Johnson was 29 and said on the form that she had been married for 12 years and had given birth to four children but one had died. The listed children were Robert 11, Albert 7 and Mathew 1. The head of the household was named as Richard Johnson, 31, a ‘wireman’, ‘away from home’. Margaret Johnson had filled in the census form and signed it. We know that the child that died was Annie who had been born in in 1902. The child Matthew grew up to be the father of the Richard Johnson who has provided much of this story.
Margaret died early in 1912 and Richard remarried later that same year. Richard Herbert Johnson 31 an electrical engineer and a widower married Frances Robson on the 7th August 1912 in St Deniol’s Church Hawarden, Flintshire. She was 25 and lived in Brook Road Shotton. The wedding was recorded in the Parish Register Page 169 no 338. (An interesting point of information, is that Frances’s brother Fred was a famous golfer and took part in the Rider Cup on four occasions). In years to come Frances told stories about how she and Richard used to walk to Hawarden carrying a projector to show films, which ties in with the news cutting below.
UK soldiers who died in the Great War 1914 -19, accessible on www.ancestry.co.uk confirms the regimental information above and adds that he was born and enlisted in Liverpool. Richard Herbert’s medal card also accessible on ancestry, records his medal details and also tells us that his first theatre of war was Egypt and that he entered it on 2nd May 1915
There is an index card for Richard Herbert Johnson in the Flintshire Roll of Honour at the County Record Office in Hawarden. (Flintshire WW1 Index Cards F30) It gives the adress 74 High Street, Connah’s Quay. It confirms his regimental No 78476, his regiment and Company but it says his rank was ‘W. Officer’. It says that he had the Distinctions of the Military Medal and was Mentioned in Despatches.
Commonwealth War Graves additional Information:Son of the late Richard and Annie Johnson, of Balfour St., Liverpool; husband of Frances Johnson, of 74, The Laurels, Connah’s Quay, Chester.
Richard Herbert Johnson in the UK, Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects, 1901-1929 tells us that the Sole Legatee was his widow, Frances, who was paid £34. 17s 11d, which included his War Gratuity of £25. 10s 0d on the 10th March 1919 and also £2. 14s 10d on the 19th May 1919.
Finally, his Flintshire Roll of Honour card says he Died of wounds on the 25th October 1918. The card was signed on the 19th September 1919 by Frances Johnson. Frances had been hoping to spend Christmas 1918 with her husband. There were no Christmas celebrations that year or in any subsequent years. Frances could never bear to celebrate Christmas again.
Richard Herbert is also named on the Memorial Plaque in St.Mark’s Church, Connah’s Quay.
Many thanks to Richard Johnson, grandson and namesake of Richard Herbert Johnson, for sharing with us this remarkably complete archive of his grandfather’s story.