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Alexander Brown Johnston

Bard Cottage Cemetery. Ypres Salient. Flanders. Falkirk District.
Acting Bombardier Alexander Brown Johnston

322475 Acting Bombardier

261st Siege Battery, 65th Heavy Artillery Group, Royal Garrison Artillery

Age: 36

Date of Death: 17.8.17

Buried: Bard Cottage Cemetery IV.D.27

Family history: Son of John and Janet Johnston, of Falkirk. He was married to Mary Arnott Johnston and they lived at 18 Garthall Place, Falkirk with their three children Elizabeth, Janet and John. Prior to enlisting in June 1916, he had been employed as a postman in the Falkirk Post Office for twenty years.

In all probability he was conscripted to the Citadel, Plymouth at the start of June 1916. After going to one of the Siege Schools he would have been attached to the 261 Siege Battery, which left Folkestone on the 8th February 1917 and arrived Boulogne the same day.

The structure of the Siege Battery:

The battery would include:

· Personnel: 5 officers and 177 other ranks

· Horses: 17 riding, 6 draught and 80 heavy draught

· Transport: 3 two-horse carts, 10 four-horse wagons

The battery would normally be with three others, under command of a Siege Brigade. The brigade would also include an Ammunition Column of:

· Personnel: 3 officers and 104 other ranks

· Horses: 13 riding, 2 draught and 72 heavy draught

· Transport: 1 two-horse carts, 16 four-horse wagons

The brigade would also include its headquarters of:

· Personnel: 7 officers and 137 other ranks

· Horses: 21 riding, 5 draught and 72 heavy draught

· Transport: 1 one-horse cart, 2 two-horse carts, 16 four-horse wagons

261 Siege Battery. Ypres Salient. Passchendaele. Flanders. Falkirk District
IWM E(AUS) 694 The 55th Australian Siege Battery in action with 9.2 inch howitzer near Voormezeele.

The action leading to his death

The Battery was located from 3 August to 9 August 1917 close 65 HAG's HQ at Culloden Farm, just North of Vlamertinghe. 65th HAG HQ moved East of the Ypres - Yser Canal on 9 August, to new headquarters at Joffre Farm. The battery created a new dugout in Coney Street a communication trench which ran west to east of the canal from Bridge 4 to La Belle Alliance Farm. During their time in this area the battery was subjected to gas attacks, bombing and strafing by enemy aircraft, as well as counter-battery fire.

Linesman. Joffre Farm. La Belle Alliance. 261 Siege Battery. Ypres Salient. Flanders. Falkirk District


Medals Awarded:

The British War Medal, Victory Medal.

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