The AIF Project

Cyril Donald JOHNSTON

Regimental number4315
Place of birthInverell, New South Wales
SchoolAshford Public School, New South Wales
OccupationSchool teacher
AddressKeystone, Myall Creek, Delungra, New South Wales
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation23
Height5' 7"
Weight138 lbs
Next of kinMother, Mrs Elizabeth Johnston, Keystone, Myall Creek, Delungra, New South Wales
Previous military serviceNil (previously rejected for enlistment on account of defective teeth)
Enlistment date1 October 1915
Place of enlistmentHolsworthy, New South Wales
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name2nd Battalion, 13th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/19/3
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A6 Aeneas on 20 December 1915
Regimental number from Nominal Roll4315A
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll54th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 19-20 July 1916
Age at death24
Age at death from cemetery records24
Place of burialFromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery (Plot I, Row D, Grave No 6), France
Panel number, Roll of Honour,
  Australian War Memorial
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: Ronald and Elizabeth JOHNSTON. Native of Inverell, New South Wales
Family/military connectionsBrother: 1629 Pte Osborne William JOHNSTON, 1st Light Horse Regiment, killed in action, 3 November 1917.
Other details

War service: Egypt, Western Front

Admitted to No 1 Australian Dermatological Hospital, Abbassia, 9 February 1916 (venereal disease); discharged to Overseas Base, Abbassia, 19 March 1916: total period of treatment: 40 days.

Joined 54th Bn, Ferry Post, 21 April 1916.

Embarked Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 19 June 1916; disembarked Marseilles, France, 29 June 1916.

Reported missing, 20 July 1916.

Name extracted from list of dead whose pay books were handed to German authorities by Geneva Red Cross. To be reported as killed in action, 20 July 1916, on the authority of the Assistant Adjutant General, ANZAC Section, 3rd Echelon, General Headquarters, 24 November 1916.

On 8 September 1921 Base Records wrote to the mother of Private Johnston, Mrs E. Johnston, asking if she had received any correspondence about the circumstances surrounding his death. The only evidence on file was an extract she received around November 1916 that stated, 'I heard he was taken wounded prisoner in the Battle of Pozieres between the 19th and 20th of July 1916.'

Translation of German report, 29 October 1919, 'Pay-book was handed over by Intell: Officer with 6th Army H.Q. 17/8/16. Documentary Distinguishing Marks, 334.8.16.Z.N. Australian Pte. C.D. Johnston, 54th Bn. fell in the neighbourhood of Fromelles.'

Statement, Red Cross File No 1450502, 4866 Pte L. PRICE, 54th Bn (patient, Queen's Hospital, Birmingham, England), 3 September 1916: 'Informant states that on July 19th about 3 p.m. south of Armentieres he saw Pte Johnston fall wounded in front of the German barbed wire. The trenches were afterwards taken by the Australians and Johnston should have been found.'

Note on Red Cross File: 'Identity disc received from Germany and despatched to Next of Kin 24/1/17.'

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal

Originally listed as 'No Known Grave' and commemorated at V.C. Corner (Panel No 10), Australian Cemetery, Fromelles; subsequently (2010) identified, and interred in the Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery, France.
SourcesNAA: B2455, JOHNSTON Cyril Donald
Red Cross file 1450502

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