Private Henry Johnston

Private Henry Elliot Johnston, 2nd Battalion, Kings Own Scottish Borderers. He was killed in action in France on 3rd September 1916, aged 19, during the Battle of the Somme and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, Thiepval, Somme, France. He had been born in Ladykirk, Berwickshire and was the son of John and Margaret Johnston of 3 Havannah Court, Kelso. He had only been at the front for three weeks when he fell in the assault on strong German positions at Falfont Farm. A promised French bombardment and supporting infantry assault failed to materialise and the Battalion went in alone and unsupported with the inevitable result. The attack failed disastrously and 8 Officers and 146 Other Ranks were killed. 4 Officers and 137 Other Ranks were wounded.  The War Diary states “The men went forward into the storm towards certain death without flinching. It was magnificent but it was not War “. The War Diary also remains tight lipped about the French failures that had cost the Battalion dearly. The photos show Scots troops on the Somme and the colour image shows a peaceful Somme landscape today with ” no gas, no barbed wire, no guns firing now”.

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