Private John Johnson

Private John Johnson, 1st/8th ( Territorial ) ) Battalion, Durham Light Infantry. He was killed in action in France on 27th May 1918, aged 21, during the German Spring Offensives. He was the son of Abraham and Priscilla Johnson of 10 Kiln Hill, Tweedmouth and is commemorated on the Soissons Memorial, Soissons, France. He fell on the first day of the German attack on the Chemin des Dames which had previously been known as a quiet sector. Thus several Divisions had been sent there to refit after the severe trials of the German March Offensives. A very heavy artillery bombardment with High Explosive and Gas shells preceded an overwhelming attack and there were not many survivors who were able to retreat over the River Aisne. The photos shop Allied troops in defensive positions. The Battalion was part of the 50th ( Northumbrian ) Division which by the end of the day had suffered around 5000 casualties most of whom were Prisoners of War. The photos show Allied troops in rather makeshift defences awaiting the advancing enemy. The colour photograph shows the impressive Memorial raised to commemorate the fallen of the 50th ( Northumbrian ) Division during the War. It was erected near the village of Weiltje in the Ypres Salient where nearby on the 26th April 1915 the Division fought its first action of the War only days after landing on the Continent.

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