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Johnson, Edwin Henry Cross

Edwin Henry Cross Johnson (Faculty of Engineering) was killed in a heavy engagement on May 9th. He was born December, 1890 and was educated at Brentwood Grammar School from September, 1901 to July, 1908. After leaving school he determined in spite of apparently insurmountable obstacles, to become an engineer and studied far into the night after his day's work to this end. He entered the Faculty of Engineering at King's in 1912 and took the three years course for the Diploma in two years. On leaving college he was employed on the construction of the Canadian Northern Railway as a junior engineer and showed every promise of doing well.

On the second day of the war he threw up his appointment, came home steerage in the absence of better accommodation and enlisted in the Royal Engineers, becoming a motor cycle despatch rider. He went to the front in November, soon became a Corporal, and shortly before his death was recommended for a commission.

His death took place under especially fine circumstances, quite unparalleled in the history of his arm. He saw a sergeant badly wounded while trying to get into the first line of trenches and went out to help him in; while he was putting on the man's field dressing (an emergency bandage) a bullet passed through his waistcoat and coat and killed the wounded man. Then "Johnny" started to get back under cover. While he was on the way he was hit in the abdomen and died about three quarters of an hour later in the trench. He did not know he was badly hit, and until he lost consciousness he was cheerfully telling his friends that he would soon be back in England. This was a fitting end to a life inspired by high ideals and full of boundless enthusiasm. King's College Review June 1915

Biographical

Surname(s)Johnson
First name(s)Edwin Henry Cross
Date of birth1890
Place of birthBrentwood, Essex
Family detailsSon of Edwin Grove Johnson and Ada M. Johnson (nee Cross), of Essie Villa. Brentwood, Essex
Previous educationBrentwood Grammar School (1901-1908)
CollegeKing's College London and/or King's College London Hospital
Dates at college1912
Dept / courseEngineering
Military unitRoyal Engineers, 8th Signal Coy. Motor Cycle Despatch Rider
Place enlistedChatham, Kent
Service number28739
War / conflictWorld War One (1914-1918)
CampaignsFrance and Flanders
Date of death9 May 1915
Age at death25
Rank at deathCorporal
Cause of deathKilled in action
Burial placeSailly-sur-la-Lys Canadian Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France
Commemoration(s)King's College Chapel
NotesBoth Commonwealth War Graves Commission and Soldiers Died in the Great War give his name as Edwin Henry Goss Johnson but the birth registers for 1890 give 'Edwin Henry C. Johnson' and his mother's surname as 'Cross'.
SourcesKing's College London Archives; Commonwealth War Graves Commission; Soldiers Died in the Great War

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