JOHNSON, John Alfred

No.16914, Private, John Alfred JOHNSON
Aged 23

11th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
Killed in Action on Saturday, 28th April 1917

John Alfred Johnson was born in Cheveley in 1892 (Newmarket Q4-1892 3B:486), baptised in Cheveley on 28th May 1893, the son of Richard and Louisa JOHNSON (née BOON).

1901 census...Aged 8, he was at Mill Lane, Fordham with his father Richard JOHNSON [40] ex policeman retired in health, born Madingley; his mother Louisa [34] born Fordham; sister Margaret Louisa [7] born Cheveley and brothers William Thomas [2] born Newmarket and Albert Edward [1 month] born Fordham.

1911 census...Aged 18, an apprentice carpenter, he was at The Reindeer, Saxon Street with his widowed mother (publican), sisters Margaret Louisa and Minnie M [7] born Saxon Street, and his brother Edward. His father had died in 1904.

He enlisted in Newmarket.
From "History of the Suffolk Regiment" by Lt Col CCR Murphy we learn that;
April 28th 1917, at 4:27 am the 11th Suffolks forming the left battalion of the 101st Brigade, attacked the chemical works north of Roeux and immediately south of the railway . It was soon held up, and then driven back by intense machine gun fire from a trench which appeared to have been missed by our barrage, but a few men actually got through and into a quarry to the east of the works, coming back in the evening with 2 or 3 prisoners.
At 9:45 am the enemy counter attacked from the direction of Roeux, capturing Mount Pleasant Wood and part of Ceylon communications trench. Major Tuck then went up into the line again and found the battalion front intact, Ceylon trench once more in our hands and the enemy in the process of being driven out of Mount Pleasant wood. At 10 that night the battalion was withdrawn from the front to the support line trenches for two hours to enable our artillery to bombard the chemical works, which were attacked - but again unsuccessfully - by a fresh unit afterwards.

The 11th Suffolks suffered 107 killed, 82 having no identified grave. Among them were James Smith from Stetchworth, Ernest Taylor from Newmarket and Arthur Benstead from Swaffham Prior.

photo: Commonwealth War Graves Commission

John Johnson is commemorated on the Arras memorial, Faubourg d'Amiens Cemetery, bay 4

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details