Private Robert Johnston

Private Robert Stanley Johnston, 1st/7th ( Territorial ) Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers. He was killed in action in France on 15th September 1916 during the Battle of the Somme, aged 19. He was the son of Peter and the late Margaret Johnston of Tweed Road, Horncliffe and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, Thiepval, Somme, France. He fell in an attack on German positions at High Wood which cost the Battalion dearly. 3 Officers and 40 Other Ranks were killed and 6 Officers and 219 Other Ranks were wounded. In addition 74 Other Ranks were posted missing presumed killed. Before the war he had been a salmon fisherman on the River Tweed and had enlisted in September 1915 after attending a recruiting meeting. His brother, John William Johnston, had already been killed at the Battle of Loos in September 1915 and this may have been his incentive to join the colours. The photograph shows the impressive Memorial raised to commemorate the 50th ( Northumbrian ) Division of which the Battalion was part until February 1918. It was erected near the village of Weiltje in the Ypres Salient where nearby the Division had fought its first action of the War during the Battle of St. Julien only days after landing on the Continent. The photos show troops on the Somme with the colour image depicting a peaceful Somme landscape today with ” no gas, no barbed wire, no guns firing now”.

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