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Johnson, Robert Newton

Robert Newton Johnson was born in the December quarter of 1922, (Flintshire (Mold)HAW/30A/8), the son of Robert Henry & Eva Johnson, (nee Wakley) who married in the June quarter of 1922 in a Civil Marriage at Hawarden, (Flintshire (Mold) HAW/08/2).

Robert Henry was working for the London and North Eastern Railway Company from  the 7th October 1919 at Hawarden Bridge Junction and        Connahs Quay and Shotton.   He was earning £2 15s 0d a week.  This source differs on his date of birth, it is given as the 27th July 1902, the year being originally given as 1905 – this was corrected to 1902.   This also states he was married, but he didn’t marry till 1922.

Robert Henry and Eva are seen on the 1939 National Register which was taken on the 29th September 1939.   They are living at “Springdale,” Bennett’s Lane , Hawarden, Flintshire, and this source tells us their dates of birth, Robert Henry’s was  the 26th July 1902 and a Railway Signalman, Eva, his wife’s date of birth was the 15th May 1903 and like most women on this Register was doing “Domestic Duties” usually “Unpaid Domestic Duties!”    There are two redacted or closed records, and I have no idea who they may be, but are usually children.

I also believe that Robert Henry’s father Isaac N. Johnson is living very close to them on this Register with his new wife, Barbara A Johnson, at “Ashlyn” Hillside, Hawarden.   Isaac Newton Johnson’s date of birth is given as the 16th May 1876 and he is a General Labourer, his new wife Barbara A. Johnson’s date of birth is given as the 1st April 1880 and she is doing “Unpaid Domestic Duties.”    Again there is one redacted or closed record.

Robert Henry’s mother Emma had died on the 11th March 1930, age 50 years (Flintshire (Mold)HAW/19A/67).   Isaac Newton Johnson remarried in the December quarter of 1938 to Barbara A. Moore at Chester (Chester Vol.   8a Page 967).        

So Robert Newton lost his Grandmother when he was eight years old.

I have no record or information about Robert Newton’s early life or teen years but he was either conscripted or enlisted, but he was a Flight Engineer, so must have had a lot of training, any information to add to Robert Newton’s story will be gratefully received.

He was to find himself in 106 Squadron and was stationed at Metheringham, Lincolnshire, please see  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAF_Metheringham  – RAF Metheringham – From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

RAF Metheringham was a Royal Air Force station situated between the villages of Metheringham and Martin and 12.1 mi (19.5 km) south east of the county town Lincoln, Lincolnshire, England.

Operated as a bomber airfield during the Second World War the station opened in October 1943 and was decommissioned in the spring of 1946.[1]

Although now mostly returned to agricultural and commercial uses the site retains one original runway, the eastern perimeter track and some contemporary buildings together with a No. 106 Squadron RAF memorial garden and a visitor centre.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No._106_Squadron_RAF

During the Second World War, No 106 Squadron operated on 496 nights and 46 days, flying 5,834 operational sorties. In so doing it lost 187 aircraft – a percentage loss on sorties flown of 3.21 – but on the credit side its gunners claimed 20 enemy aircraft destroyed, 3 probably destroyed and 29 damaged. A total of 267 decorations were won by the squadron, including a Victoria Cross awarded to Sergeant NC Jackson for conspicuous bravery during an attack on Schweinfurt on 26/27 April 1944.[2]

I purchased and downloaded the Operations Record Book for 106 Squadron, which is too big to put on the Website, so if anyone wants to have a copy please get in touch with the website.

Robert Newton Johnson was in a crew of 8, 1 Belgian, 2 Canadians and 5 British in Lancaster LL891 on a Bombing Mission  on an Ammunition Dump at Salbris.   They took off at 22.10 – Nothing was heard of the aircraft after take-off.   MISSING.   3 other Aircraft were MISSING that night from 106 Squadron.

Robert Newton John’s crew were:-

Pilot – F/O/ ‘Dickie’ Ernest Richard PERMAN, age 31

2nd Officer – F/O Louis David STEYLAERTS , age 20

Fl/Eng. – Sgt. Robert Newton JOHNSON, age 21

Nav. – F/O Eric Lewis SHARP

Ait/Bmr. – F/O Elmer Oscar AARON, age 23

W/Op/Air/Gnr.- Ft/Sgt. Samuel Roger PATTI, age 21

Air/Gnr. – Fl/Sgt. Robert Ford STUBELT, age 34

Air/Gnr. – Sgt. John Andrew ROBERTS, age 20

All above, except for John Andrew ROBERTS, who was in a grave of his own, were buried in the same Collective Graves.

His 106 Squadron,  along with 619 and 44 Squadrons, (620 Sqdn and 138 Sqdn were also involved and there may have been other Squadrons) were to suffer heavy losses, his squadron alone lost 4 aircraft, from night fighters.

He is also remembered on this wonderful website http://aircrewremembered.com/penman-ernest-richard.html, many thanks to Kelvin Youngs for his wonderful work, which brings ‘to life’ these young men so they won’t be forgotten for their sacrifices.   Some of the information below was taken off that website with Kelvin’s permission, many thanks to him.

29 young men involved in this Bombing Mission are buried at Orleans Main Cemetery at Loiret, – 15 from 106 Sqdn, 6 from 44 Sqdn, (one man’s body was not found and I cannot find him on the CWGC database) and 8 from 619 Sqdn.       Six from 106 Sqdn are buried at St. Viatre Communal Cemetery, Loiu-et-Cher, with 1 crew Member evading capture and 7 from 106 Sqdn buried at St. Doulchard Communal Cemetery at Cher.

It is thought ‘probable’ that LL891 was shot down by Ofw. Reinhard KOLLACK of 8./NJG4 at 00.36 hrs – his 40th claim of the war.   He survived the conflict with a total of 49 claims – passed away on the 6th February 1980 at the young age of 65. – Many thanks to Researcher: Michel BECKERS for Aircrew Remembered April 2017.   

Family Gravestone in Hawarden:- (Photo below)

“In Remembrance of a devoted wife and Mother EMMA JOHNSON, Bennett’s Lane, Hawarden, who fell asleep March 11th 1930 aged 50 years.

“Her children arise up and call her Blessed; Her Husband also, and he praiseth her.”

And her husband

ISAAC NEWTON JOHNSON, who died Aug 9th 1956, aged 80 years.

“Reunited.”

And Grandson

ROBERT NEWTON JOHNSON, Sgt. Flt. Engr. R.A.F. V.R.

Bomber Command, now presumed killed over France May 8th 1944, aged 21 years.

Duty Nobly Done.

Also EVA Mother of the above and wife of ROBERT HENRY JOHNSON, who died April 8th 1988

Aged 84 years.

Cremated at Colwyn Bay.

God is Love.” 

One can only wonder at these young men as they went off, not knowing if they would return, we can only thank God for their dedication and bravery.

He is also remembered on the International Bomber Command Centre website https://losses.internationalbcc.co.uk/loss/112270/

LAST OPERATION INFORMATION

Start Date            07-05-1944

End Date              07-05-1944

Takeoff Station Metheringham

Day/Night Raid  Night

Operation           Salbriz explosives and ammunition factory

Reason for Loss                Crashed at Loreaux, near Romorantin Lanthenay, probable night fighter victim

His parent’s after the war must have moved to Bryneglwys, Merionethshire as that is what the Commonwealth War Graves Commission have added to his citation.

He was well loved and his name was put forward by his family to be added to the Hawarden WW2 War Memorial to be remembered for perpetuity.

RESTING WHERE NO SHADOWS FALL. YOUR MEMORY IS FOR EVER DEAR


Learn more about the other soldiers on the Hawarden Memorial

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