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Charles Johnstone

244996 Private

‘B’ Company, 6/7th Battalion, Royal Scots Fusiliers, 45th Infantry Brigade, 15th (Scottish) Division.

Age: 30

Date of Death: 20.7.17

Buried: Menin Gate Memorial Panel 19 & 33

Family history: When he Attested he entered that he was a ‘Widower’ and he subsequently married Christina Fenton Johnstone, 87 Lady’s Mill, Carronshore. Christina was his second wife, his first wife having died. They had four young children from his first marriage. He was the fifth son, there were four other brothers and a sister Agnes, of Alexander and Agnes Miller Johnstone, Canglour Cottage, St Ninians. Before he enlisted on 8 December 1915, he was employed at the Barrs aeriated works in Falkirk (now Barrs Iron Bru) as a Lorryman. One of his brothers had already been killed in action and he had two other brothers serving in the Canadian forces.

After his death his mother wrote to the Army Pension office advising them that his wife intended to renounce the care of the children and that they be placed in the care of their grandmother. The case of his pension was passed to the Secretary, Military Pensions to decide on whether to grant the motherless rate of pension for the children. It was ascertained that the step mother did not intend to renounce custody of the children.

The action leading to his death

On the evening of the 19 July the War Diary recorded that Gas bombs for the Livens Projector (trench mortar) were carried up and placed in the front line. A patrol went out at 11pm and they found that the German wire was cut up and offered little resistance. They also noticed that the German front line was empty and no movement could be seen in their trenches.

On the 20 July the Battalion was relieved by the 8th Seaforth’s and met their guide at Belgian Battery Corner at 9.15pm. At 2am the Germans heavily shelled the frontline, supports and reserve lines with gas. The relief was completed by 6am with the Battalion moving to Erie Camp. The War Diary does not record any casualties.

In a letter to his wife, his Platoon commander wrote: ‘I always found him a splendid fellow, and I miss him very much. The night before he was killed he took part in a raid, and he was of great help to me, behaving like the gallant soldier he was.’ The raid that his Platoon commander mentions, took place on 18 July. The War Diary records: ‘At 10.30pm prompt, ‘B’ Company lined up in No Man’s Land. Commenced a raid on enemy trenches Ice Trench and Ice Support, between Ice Avenue and Ice Lane. Much damage done to enemy trenches and 1 prisoner taken - belonged to the 75th Regiment, 17th Division. Raiding party returned about 11pm - 4 casualties (slight).

Medals Awarded

The British War Medal, Victory Medal.

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