Harold Johnson was born on the 28th April 1912 according to the Hawarden Grammar School Admissions Register, he was the son of John & Edith Johnson (nee Hayes), who had married at Stoak Parish Church on the 10th April 1901: – William John Mealor JOHNSON, 29, Bachelor, Farmer, Neston, William JOHNSON, (Deceased), Farmer & Edith HAYES, 26, Spinster, Little Stanney, William HAYES (Deceased), Farmer. (After Banns). Witnesses: – Thomas Edward JOHNSON & Ethel MEALOR.
On the 1911 census the family were living at Rake Farm, Burton, Neston, Cheshire (9 Rooms). Head of the household was John Johnson, 38 and a Farmer (Employer – At Homes), born Ness, Cheshire. His wife Edith, 36, had been born in Picton, Cheshire and they tell us that they had been married for 10 years and 5 children had been born, sadly 2 died. The children were Edith, 7, Tom, 5 and John 3 months, all born Burton, Cheshire. There was a servant, Eliza Bagnall, age 20, who had been born in Wrexham.
So we don’t see anything of Harold on any documents until he goes to Hawarden Grammar School. Both Harold & John were admitted to Hawarden Grammar School on the same day and their previous school was at Burton N.P. (Perhaps they had only just moved into the district?)
Hawarden Grammar School Admissions Register E/GS/1/10: – 933/1347 JOHNSON, Harold, Date of Birth – 28th April 1912, Model Farm, Penyffordd, Father – Farmer, date of entry 7th September 1923, Burton N.P. Date of Leaving 5th April 1928 – Assisting on Farm.
934/1348 JOHNSON, John, Date of Birth – 3rd January 1911, Model Farm, Penyffordd, Father – Farmer, date of entry 7th September 1923, Burton N.P. Date of Leaving – 23rd December 1925 – Farm.
Then on the 1939 National Register (Taken on the 29th September 1939), we see the family living at Model Farm,Pen Black Brook, Big Mancot, Hawarden R.D., Flintshire, Wales. On this source we see the dates of birth, John Johnson (Snr.) had been born on the 12th March 1872 and he was a Farmer, Edith’s birth date was the 19th or the 16th* November 1875, John Johnson (Jnr.) had been born on the 3rd January 1911 and was single and a Farm Helper. Phyllis Parry’s birth date was the 5th January 1915 and she was single and a Farm Servant. Martin Carthy was single and a Farm Labourer, his birth date was the 10th January 1889. *This was a correction done by the Authorities at a later time.
It is entirely possible that Harold was already in the Forces when the National Register was taken, as he was a Captain in the Indian Engineers when he died in 1946, He had obviously worked his way up the ranks by then. Any help to tell his story would be gratefully received.
Indian Army during World War II – From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_Army_during_World_War_II
The British Indian Army during World War II began the war, in 1939, numbering just under 200,000 men. By the end of the war, it had become the largest volunteer army in history, rising to over 2.5 million men in August 1945. Serving in divisions of infantry, armour and a fledgling airborne force, they fought on three continents in Africa, Europe and Asia.
The British Indian Army fought in Ethiopia against the Italian Army, in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Algeria against both the Italian and German Army, and, after the Italian surrender, against the German Army in Italy. However, the bulk of British Indian Army was committed to fighting the Japanese Army, first during the British defeats in Malaya and the retreat from Burma to the Indian border; later, after resting and refitting for the victorious advance back into Burma, as part of the largest British Empire army ever formed. These campaigns cost the lives of over 87,000 Indian servicemen, while another 34,354 were wounded, and 67,340 became prisoners of war. Their valour was recognised with the award of some 4,000 decorations, and 18 members of British Indian Army were awarded the Victoria Cross or the George Cross. Field Marshal Claude Auchinleck, Commander-in-Chief of British Indian Army from 1942, asserted that the British “couldn’t have come through both wars (World War I and II) if they hadn’t had British Indian Army.” British Prime Minister Winston Churchill also paid tribute to “The unsurpassed bravery of Indian soldiers and officers.”
Engineers – The Indian Engineers were a part of every division in the army. The engineers corps started the war with two army troops companies, 11 Field Companies and one field park company. Expansion during the war took the totals of engineers to; five army troops companies, 67 Field companies, six independent field squadrons, 20 field park companies and two independent field park squadrons.
Harold was awarded an Emergency Commission on the 10th June 1942. (See below).
I looked on this website to see if Harold was listed, https://www.unithistories.com/officers/indianarmy_officers_s01.html but he wasn’t so I wrote to them.
Hans sent me 2 copies of Harold’s Emergency Commission – Emergency Commission 1945 Indian Army List, (2 parts) (See Below). Hans also said that this link might be useful: https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/help-with-your-research/research-guides/indian-army-personnel/
Hans Houterman – www.unithistories.com
I do not know how Harold died, the newspaper does not say, so any information would be gratefully received.
Many thanks to https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/144525515/edith-johnson/photo also to the Photographer, Mike McQuaid, because of his work, helps us tell the story of the family. So I am able to fill in the gaps of the missing children, who had tragically died in their infancy. John & Edith had already experienced bereavement many years before Harold died.
William John Johnson – Birth January 1902 (Cheshire Birth indexes for the years: 1902 –JOHNSON William John (Neston Wirral NES/26/76). Died 20th January 1904 age 2 years, (Cheshire Death indexes for the years: 1904 Neston Wirral NES/15/31)
Lily Johnson – born March 1909. (Cheshire Birth indexes for the years: 1909 – JOHNSON, Lily – (Neston Wirral NES/30/3). Died 13th July 1909 age 3-4 months. (Cheshire Death indexes for the years: 1909 – Lily Johnson Neston Wirral NES/16/57)
Harold’s father, William John Mealor Johnson, died on the 11th August 1957, his probate :- JOHNSON, William John Maelor otherwise John of 4, Brassey-street, Chester died 11th August 1957 at Heath Lane Hospital, Chester. Probate Chester 20th November to Tom Johnson & John Johnson, Farmers and Edith Jones* (Wife of Harold JONES.)
*Edith married Harold Jones in 1926 at St Mary’s Church, Dodleston,(Cheshire West CE19/1/324)
Harold’s mother, Edith, died on the 21st April 1965, age 89 – 90 years. Mother of Captain Harold Johnson who died of wounds in Iraq in 1946 and is buried in the Basra War Cemetery. (Many thanks again to Find a Grave.)
They would have both been alive to see when the Roll of Honour was dedicated at Hawarden Grammar School on the 3rd February 1951 with a Remembrance Service for the 47* former pupils who died in the 1939 – 1945 World War. As recorded in the Chester Chronicle Saturday 10th February 1951.
*Author’s note, there are 46 names on the Roll of Honour, clerical error by the newspaper.
ALWAYS REMEMBERED BY FATHER, MOTHER, BROTHERS AND SISTER