DeckHand Arthur Johnston

Deck Hand Arthur Johnston, Royal Naval Reserve. He was killed in action aboard H.M. Trawler “John E. Lewis” on 16th January 1918, aged 59. He was the youngest son of Alexander Johnston and Helen Lindores and was born at Partanhall, Burnmouth on 8th September 1859. He was a Royal Naval Reservist and before joining up he was a fisherman aboard the ” Susan “. Arthur joined up in April 1915 and spent a year on patrol duty off the Russian coast before being sent back to British waters and was based in Harwich. On 16th January a group of trawlers were on minesweeping duties in the vicinity of the Sunk Light Vessel. Due to bad weather the trawlers were returning to Harwich when the ” John E. Lewis ” struck an unseen mine which exploded under her bow and she sank in 8 minutes Arthur and another seaman ( from Spittal ) died in the blast. His body was not recovered and he is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial. The John E. Lewis was a former Aberdeen trawler of 253 tons and was commanded by Lieutenant Francis Wood R.N.R. It is interesting to note that Arthur was a survivor of the great fishing disaster of 1881 when so many Berwickshire men were lost at sea during the great storm. (The photograph is not the “John E. Lewis” but of a sister vessel ).

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