Topic: Corporal Arthur John Macdonell Johnston

Topic type:

A soldier of the Great War who died of wounds received at Gallipoli.

Johnston, A. J.

Corporal Arthur John McDonnell  Johnston - 2/425 

Arthur was born 21 August 1890 at Sheffield, son of Reverend James and Ellen Johnston. He was 5 ft 8 ½  inches tall with grey eyes and fair hair. His upper teeth were false. Before enlisting he was a Bank Clerk, with the Bank of Australia, Christchurch. He had previous military experience having served 3 ½ years with the Eltham Rifles.

Arthur enlisted on 3 August 1914 in Christchurch and was assigned to the Field Artilliery. He embarked with the Main Body on 16 October 1914 for Egypt on board the Arawa. He spent time in hospital with haemorrhoids in July 1915 but returned to Gallipoli. Arthur had been promoted to bombardier but had asked to be reverted to gunner. He died on 5 December aged 25. It was reported that he died as the result of the operation connected with the evacuation of Suvla Bay. A letter written to his father by another soldier gives more detail. "The battery was being shelled by large Howitzer shells, and Arthur was lying in the telephone dug-out, which was big and very strongly built. He had been sick for two or three days, and was not on duty. The shell blew the dug-out to pieces, and mortally wounded Arthur. He was taken away to the hospital immediately, and while being carried from there to the beach to be sent away he died”. He had suffered severe shrapnel wounds to both legs. His name is recorded on the Chunuk Bair New Zealand Memorial, Gallipoli. In New Zealand Arthur is remembered on the Malvern County & Sheffield War Memorials.
Researched and written by L M Seaton.

CWGC Cemetery locale history: The eight month campaign in Gallipoli was fought by Commonwealth and French forces in an attempt to force Turkey out of the war, to relieve the deadlock of the Western Front in France and Belgium, and to open a supply route to Russia through the Dardanelles and the Black Sea. The Allies landed on the peninsula on 25-26 April 1915; the 29th Division at Cape Helles in the south and the Australian and New Zealand Corps north of Gaba Tepe on the west coast, an area soon known as Anzac. On 6 August, further landings were made at Suvla, just north of Anzac, and the climax of the campaign came in early August when simultaneous assaults were launched on all three fronts. Chunuk Bair was one of the main objectives in the Battle of Sari Bair, fought 6-10 August 1915. The attack was to be carried out by two columns of the New Zealand Infantry Brigade, starting from the outposts on the shore and proceeding up the Sazli Belt Dere and the Chailak Dere. Meanwhile the New Zealand Mounted Rifles were to clear the foothills. The New Zealand Infantry reached Rhododendron Spur, where they were joined by the 10th Gurkha Rifles, from further north, and reinforced by the 8th Welsh, the 7th Gloucesters, the Auckland Mounted Rifles, and the Maori Contingent. The Wellington Infantry and some of the Gloucesters and Welsh reached the summit, and were later joined by men of the Auckland Infantry and Mounted Rifles. These troops, after repulsing incessant Turkish attacks, were reinforced by the Otago Battalion and the Wellington Mounted Rifles. The 6th Gurkhas and the 6th South Lancashire Regiment came in on the left. The 6th Loyal North Lancashire Regiment relieved the force at Chunuk Bair on the evening of 9 August, supported later by part of the 5th Wilts, but on the morning of the 10th, the position was taken by a determined and overwhelming counter-attack, carried out by a Turkish Army Corps led by Mustapha Kemal Pasha. The loss of Chunuk Bair marked the end of the effort to reach the central foothills of the peninsula and on this sector of the front, the line remained unaltered until the evacuation in December 1915. The CHUNUK BAIR (NEW ZEALAND) MEMORIAL is one of four memorials erected to commemorate New Zealand soldiers who died on the Gallipoli peninsula and whose graves are not known. This memorial relates to the Battle of Sari Bair and in other operations in this sector. It bears more than 850 names. CHUNUK BAIR CEMETERY was made after the Armistice on the site where the Turks had buried some of those Commonwealth soldiers who were killed on 6-8 August. It contains 632 Commonwealth burials, only ten of which are identified.

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Corporal Arthur John Macdonell Johnston

First Names:Arthur John Macdonell
Last Name:Johnston
Date of Birth:21 August1890
Place of Birth:Sheffield
Date of Death:5 December 1915
Place of Death:Gallipoli, Turkey
Memorial or Cemetery:Chunuk Bair (New Zealand) Memorial
Age at death:25
User Name:Selwyn Library
Occupation before enlisting:Bank Clerk
Marital Status:Single
Nominal Roll:page 372
Regiment or Service:New Zealand Field Artillery
Country:New Zealand
Enlistment details:3 August 1914
Parents or Next of Kin:Son of Rev James and Ellen Grant Johnston, of 120, Slater St, Christchurch.
Service Number:2/425
Rank last held:Gunner
Embarkation:16 October 1914
Place of Embarkation:Wellington
Transport:Limerick of Arawa
Theatres of War:Gallipoli
Cause of Death:Died of wounds
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 New Zealand License
Corporal Arthur John Macdonell Johnston by Selwyn Library is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 New Zealand License