An Extensive Collection of Medals for Long and Meritorious Service
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Date of Auction: 25th June 2008
Sold for £580
Estimate: £400 - £500
1914-15 Star (24257 Pte., 7th (sic) Hrs.); British War and Victory Medals (24257 Pte., 8-Hrs.); Canadian Volunteer Service Medal 1939-45, no clasp (Capt.); War Medal 1939-45, silver issue (Capt.); Permanent Forces of the Empire L.S. & G.C., G.V.R. (Q.M.S. W.O.II, C.M.S.C.); Army Meritorious Service Medal, G.VI.R., 1st issue (WO. Cl.II (QMS) CMSC) mounted for display, very fine and better (7) £400-500
FootnoteThomas Henry Johnson was born on 21 September 1885 in Emo, Port Arlington, in the Registration District of Mountmellick, Queens County, Ireland, the son of Thomas Johnson, a farmer, and Anna Maria Fisher He first served as Private 6931 in the 2nd Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment, 2 January 1904-1 January 1907. He then enlisted in the Royal Canadian Dragoons as Private 1298 on 8 September 1908 at St. Jean in the Province of Quebec and completed his engagement on 7 September 1911. On the outbreak of the First World War he was in Montreal preparing to rejoin his old Unit when he received a letter from his mother stating that two of her younger sons had joined up and requesting that he return to Ireland and enlist in the Regiment of the youngest son, the 8th (King's Royal Irish) Hussars, to look after him. He booked his passage on the earliest steamer and succeeded in enlisting in the same Regiment as his brother, as Private 24257, on 25 November 1914 and served until being demobilised on 31 May 1919. After returning to Canada, he enlisted in Lord Strathcona's Horse at Winnipeg, Manitoba on 11 June 1921 as Private 2430 'Harry' Johnson; he was promoted to Acting Lance-Corporal on 9 February 1922. On 22 May 1922, he transferred and was promoted to Corporal and granted the Acting Rank of Sergeant as No. 38129 in the Corps of Military Staff Clerks with effect from 1 May 1922. On 1 March 1926 he made a statutory declaration assuming his correct name of Thomas Henry Johnson, now Staff Sergeant. He was again promoted, to Quartermaster-Sergeant (W.O. Class II) on 1 May 1928. On 22 March 1929, he was awarded the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal (Ref General Order No. 22 of 1929). He continued to be engaged in the C.M.S.C. for three-year periods, and on 1 September 1939 he attested for the Canadian Active Service Force. He was made Acting Sergeant-Major (W.O. I) with effect from the same date, Temporary Sergeant-Major (W.O. I) with effect from 1 December 1939, and 1st Class Staff Sergeant-Major on 1 January 1942. On 1 June 1942 he was commissioned as Lieutenant, and on 1 June 1943 as Acting Captain, in which rank he was confirmed on the same date. In January 1944 he was awarded the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal with effect from 1 March 1941. Johnson was compulsorily retired to pension on 12 February 1945, with intended place of residence at 92 Borebank Street, Winnipeg, after service of 34 years and 79 days. He received a Parchment Certificate on Discharge and the War Service Badge No. 149781 on 4 April 1945, and a Canadian Army (Active) Certificate of Service dated 17 May 1945. In September 1945, the Canadian Department of National Defence in Ottawa announced the award of his Meritorious Service Medal, which he received and acknowledged on 10 January 1946 at 386 Ashland Avenue, London, Ontario. The M.S.M. was announced through G.O. 348 of 5 October 1945. In February 1946 he received a new Silver War Service Badge (General Service Class No. 763255) to replace his old type Badge, which was returned to the Department of National Defence. His Canadian Volunteer Service Medal and War Medal 1939-45 were despatched to him on 26 October 1949.
A letter in his records states that ‘In World War I, my brother, two stepbrothers and I served throughout the campaign in France, one stepbrother also receiving a medal for operations in Irak. One stepbrother and I spent the last nine months of the war as Prisoners of War under the Germans. At the outbreak of the present war (World War II) I was the only member of my family in the army. Immediately war was declared one of my stepbrothers again enlisted in the Imperial Army, was in France on 17th October 1939, and served through Dunkirk. He was 46 years of age when he enlisted. My other stepbrother is serving with the United States Naval Reserve. My brother though over 50 years old was disappointed that the United States could not find a place for him in any of the Armed Forces. His only son has been serving with the U.S. Army in the South Pacific from the beginning of the campaign.’ Johnson's typed notebook shows him as Prisoner of War from 22 March to 25 December 1918.
His Medical Board Proceedings on Discharge state ‘Wounded in last war. Gunshot would to left shoulder’ and the Radiological Examination states ‘An oval metallic fragment about 3/4” long in the soft tissue of left shoulder ...’ and ‘There is evidence of a former fracture ...’
On 16 June 1923, Thomas Henry Johnson married Helen Bogart Duncan in the Diocese of Rupert's Land, Manitoba. He left no surviving issue. He died on 30th January 1967, aged 81, at 825 Cook Street (The Royal Armada, Suite 111), Victoria, British Columbia, and was survived by his wife (she was still alive in April 1982). His obituary states that, besides his wife, he was survived by two brothers in England, two in Ireland, a brother Frederick in Portland, and a half-brother in the U.S.A.
Sold with a quantity of documentation including: a copy of his Canadian Permanent and Active Force file; copies of birth, marriage and death certificates; original memorial documentation; notebook; obituary; a photograph of Thomas Henry (Harry) Johnson in the uniform of Captain, wearing ribbons, one wearing the 1914-15 Star trio and Permanent Forces L.S. Medal, and another with his wife Helen.