Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria to include a Fine Collection of Napoleonic Medals (25 March 2015)

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Date of Auction: 25th March 2015

Sold for £320

Estimate: £300 - £350

Five: Fusilier J. Johnson, Royal Northumberland Fusiliers, late Private in the Sherwood Foresters, taken prisoner at Tobruk and who escaped from a P.O.W. camp in Italy

1939-45 Star; Africa Star; War Medal 1939-45, these unnamed; Korea 1950-53, 1st issue (4976269 Fus., R.N.F.) correction to service number; U.N. Korea 1950-54, modern issue, unnamed, very fine (5) £300-350


Ex D.N.W. 18 May 2011.

Jasper Johnson was born on 19 February 1920 in Bakewell, Derbyshire. While working as a lorry driver’s mate, he enlisted at Derby into the Sherwood Foresters on 14 January 1939. On 3 August 1939 he joined the 1 Battalion in Palestine and so qualified for the G.S.M. with clasp Palestine. In June 1940, the 1st Battalion moved to reinforce the Garrison of Cyprus, where they suffered their first war casualties in an air raid. Early in 1942 the Battalion was moved to Egypt, converted to a motorized role and joined the 201 Guards Brigade. Unfortunately, after a sharp engagement in the Knightsbridge Box, the Battalion was ordered to surrender when the Garrison in Tobruk capitulated. On 21 June 1942 Private Jasper Johnson tried to escape but was captured by a German patrol as he attempted to break through the perimeter. He was sent to three different P.O.W. camps in Italy but on 9 September 1943 the Sergeant in charge of Campo 63 allowed everyone to escape. Jasper had been working on a farm and had made friends with the local farm workers. They guided him to Taranto Railway Station where he took a train to Tirana and began to walk over the mountains to Switzerland. He met an Italian woman who was also trying to escape and she guided him across the border. After a night on the mountain they arrived safely in Switzerland. He was eventually repatriated and allowed to return home on 22 October 1944.
On 12 June 1945 he married Muriel Beverley in Sheffield and was ‘demobbed’ on 27 July 1946 as a Class Z Reservist. In 1950 he was recalled to the Army and posted to the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers. Landing in Korea on 10 October 1950 the regiment fought at Sibyon-ni, Kan-don, the Imjin River and finally at the Battle for Point 217. During their tour in Korea the regiment lost 93 killed, 279 wounded and 45 prisoners. Private Jasper Johnson survived and left Korea on Sunday 29 October with the regiment on H.M.T.
Empire Pride, and was released for the second time as a Class Z Reservist on 23 November 1951. He died in Sheffield in December 1984 aged 64.

With copied P.O.W. report papers.