2nd.Lt. James Bulmer Johnson, V.C. Northumberland Fus

Let us look at he options for his birth

Note that there is no "B" in any document, either he has added it some time after WW1 or someone else has added it

1871 The implied date of his parrents marriage from 1911 census

1871 Aug 8. Berwick upon Tweed Holy Trinity, Northumberland, Robert Johnson (son of John Johnson) marries Elizabeth Johnston (d. of John Johnston ) From a LDS transcript of parish register

1882 Jan/Mar His birth registered in Morpeth District which includes Widdrington. He lied to enlist at some stage, and was born in Jan 1882 in Widdrington

1891 census at Widdington Colliery, Widdrington, Northumberland

1901 census at 29 Theodosia St, Elswick, Newcastle upon Tyne

1911 census at 103 Hugh Gardens, Benwell, Newcastle upon Tyne as on MIC

1914 Oct 13.When war broke out he was working as a clerk in the Newcastle Infirmary. He enlisted into the Royal Horse Guards as James Johnson in Newcastle upon Tyne with the rank of Tpr. and a service no. 1836. He rose to the rank of Cpl.Major.

Trooper 1836 RHG gives his age as 25 yrs and 285 days on 13 Oct 1914 . States he was born in Widdrington but he enlists only as James Johnson, no middle name. At the time he states his father is Robert Johnson of 103 Hugh Gardens, Benwell. The examing doctor notd that Johnson had false teeth

1915 May 18. Landed in France

1915 Aug 11. Promoted L/corporal

1916 Jul 4. In hospital (no 2 General Hospital BEF) with wound to L Elbow - record shows him transferred out same day, but does not say where

1917 May 20 Reverted to Trooper at own request

1917 Oct 20 Posted back to UK

1918 May 29 Commissioned 2nd Lt (from Trooper in RHG)

1918 Oct 14. He was awarded the VC. south west of Wez Macquart, France. During operations by strong patrols, Second Lieutenant Johnson repelled frequent counter-attacks and for six hours, under heavy fire, he held back the enemy. When at length he was ordered to retire he was the last to leave the advanced position carrying a wounded man. Three times subsequently this officer returned and brought in badly wounded men under intense enemy machine-gun fire.

1920 Attended the V C Garden Party at Buckingham Palace,

1921 May 12. Attacked in the street

1921 Sep 1. The undermentioned relinquish their commissions on, completion of service: — 2nd.Lt and retain the rank of 2nd.Lt J Johnson V.C

1921 Jun 15. Joined ADRIC with service no 2066, and was posted as a Temp. Cadet to "R" Company.    

Fined £1 by Coy Commander

1921 Aug 13 to Aug 26 On Leave. He was suspended on 22 Aug and then struck off

1921 Aug 22.   He was struck off strength as a deserter

1929 Nov Attended the House of Lords Dinner for VCs

1939 Register Clerk at Army Recruiting Office . Living at 74 Fletemoor Road , Plymouth C.B., Devon

1941 Jul He started work with the temporary staff in the the Plymouth City Treasurer's Office. He lived at 2 Salisbury Road, Plymouth,

1943 Mar 23. Died Plymouth, Devon Registered as James B Johnson aged 59 (implying born 1883/4).

In his will Johnson left his VC to his regiment.

2015 Mar 23. - 2Lt James Johnson VC - Commemoration

The branch will be holding a short service and laying a wreath to commemorate 2Lt James Johnson, VC, on Monday 23rd March 2015 at 1100hrs at Efford Cemetery. 

James Johnson, from Northumberland, was 25 when war broke out in 1914; enlisting in October 1914 is joined the Northumberland Fusiliers and was attached to the 36th Battalion.  The act of bravery that resulted in his being awarded the Victoria Cross occurred on October the 14th, 1918.  where he managed to hold back the enemy for six hours, under heavy fire. 

James moved to Plymouth from the North East towards the end of his life and worked in the city Treasurer's Office.   He died on March the 23rd at the age of 53. This will be the first time the branch has arranged for his death to be commemorated - he was a true hero and deserves nothing less.

2018 Nov 4. And probably not finally. His memorial  seems to be causing upsets in Northumberland. Telegraph 4 Nov 2018 . makes one wonder at local politics

A stone plaque marking the centenary of one man’s Victoria Cross has become the centre of a row between two Northumberland parishes. 

Standing in the village of Widdrington Station next to the town’s Co-Op and chip shop, the plaque commemorates a medal awarded to Second Lieutenant James Johnson, who served with the Northumberland Fusiliers during the First World War. Lt Johnson was awarded the Victoria Cross for bravery in northern France in October 1918, where he returned to the front line three times under machine gun fire to rescue wounded men.

But residents of neighbouring village Widdrington say that Lieutenant Johnson was born in their parish, and that the plaque should be moved.They intend to ask Northumberland County Council for it to be relocated one mile down the road, to their parish church’s war memorial.

Valerie Seddon, the chair of Widdrington Village Parish Council, told The Daily Telegraph: “I think now the consensus at this parish council is that the plaque should be removed to the place where he was actually born, which is here, and should be placed next to our war memorial. “We feel that would be a much more respectful place for a plaque to be, rather than outside a Co-Op, which isn’t a particularly good place.”

She said that the council wished to resolve the dispute amicably, but if the stone was not moved then the matter would “have to be taken further”. 

Her concerns were sharply rejected by Widdrington Station and Stobswood parish, where the plaque currently stands. Shelly Willoughby, the chair of the rival council, said that it would be “morally wrong” for it to be “tucked away in a churchyard” and described the protest as “just a case of sour grapes”. “I think they would come across quite a bit of conflict if they wanted to go down this road of having it moved.” “Yes there’s a chip shop, but are the chip shop people not worthy of having something nice outside?” she said. 

Ms Willoughby said that the stone had been popular with Widdrington Station residents, who do not have a village church of their own. “Our village is very much what you would call a working-class village – we’ve got social housing. Neither of those other villages have social houses, so it’s very elitist, to a certain degree. It borders on basic jealousy.”

The stone was unveiled last month, under a government initiative to commemorate the centenary of Victoria Crosses awarded during the First World War. It bears Lt Johnson’s rank and the date of his bravery.

 

ADRIC