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  #1  
Old 20-02-2015, 07:22 PM
leslie leslie is offline
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Default Victoria Cross awarded to widdrington Man!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Bulmer_Johnson.

James Bulmer Johnson VC (31 December 1889 – 23 March 1943) Born 31 December 1889 was an English recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

He was a Second Lieutenant in the 2nd Battalion, The Northumberland Fusiliers, British Army, attached to 36th Battalion during the First World War and 28 years old when on 14 October 1918 south west of Wez Macquart, France, he performed the act for which he was awarded the VC.

During operations by strong patrols, Second Lieutenant Johnson repelled frequent counter-attacks and for six hours, under heavy fire, he held back the enemy. When at length he was ordered to retire he was the last to leave the advanced position carrying a wounded man. Three times subsequently this officer returned and brought in badly wounded men under intense enemy machine-gun fire.

After World War I, Johnson served in the Auxiliary Division of the Royal Irish Constabulary.[1]

He died in Plymouth, Devon, in 1943 aged fifty-three, and was cremated at Efford Crematorium, Plymouth.
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Old 20-02-2015, 07:56 PM
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Great find Leslie, can we get Janwhin onto some family research......
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Old 20-02-2015, 08:34 PM
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I saw the article on a commemoration for this guy in the Gazette published today, couldn't work out where he was from! Embarrassed to say this is new to me!
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Old 20-02-2015, 10:14 PM
janwhin janwhin is offline
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Did I hear my name mentioned in vain somewhere? Since it's you asking, Hollydog, I'll see what I can find
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Old 21-02-2015, 10:49 AM
janwhin janwhin is offline
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In the meantime, here's a photograph of the man himself to be going on with. Courtesy of Ancestry.
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File Type: jpg James Bulmer Johnson VC.jpg (93.4 KB, 34 views)
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Old 21-02-2015, 11:53 AM
janwhin janwhin is offline
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Well, it's a mystery. I can't find anything to match when and where he was supposed to be born. The Sunderland newspaper refers to him being the first Newcastle man to be awarded the VC. No mention of Widdrington.
I notice that his normal occupation was police officer, I wonder if he belonged to a fairly mobile family.
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Old 21-02-2015, 01:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by janwhin View Post
Well, it's a mystery. I can't find anything to match when and where he was supposed to be born. The Sunderland newspaper refers to him being the first Newcastle man to be awarded the VC. No mention of Widdrington.
I notice that his normal occupation was police officer, I wonder if he belonged to a fairly mobile family.
The address on his medal index card is 103 Hugh Gardens, Benwell, Newcastle upon tyne, but that would be post war 1920s.

Someone here has noted possible discrepancies in birth date.
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Old 21-02-2015, 02:35 PM
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There is a James Johnson born in Widdrington in c.1882. if you follow him forward through the censuses he appears in the 1901 at Elswick as James 'H'; that census is the transcribed list type so possibly an error for 'B'. Carry on and we have him at Hugh Gardens, Benwell as a porter (infirmary) on the 1911 census, still with parents correct as at the 1891 census at Widdrington. Bingo.

He was born c.1882 not 1889. Could have underestimated his age for some reason, or just as likely a transcription/interpretation error by whoever saw his enlistment papers to produce the 1889 date.
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Old 21-02-2015, 02:46 PM
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So he was the son of Robert Johnson, colliery engineman, and Elizabeth Johnson, of Cement Row, Widdrington. He was one of eight surviving children. (Ten total, two died) The family appear to have come from Berwick. The oldest child born at Widdrington is Robert jnr. aged 16 on the 1891 census.


Cement Row was built in 1875. Received mains electricity in 1939 although classed by then as condemned. Families housed here moved to Widdrington Station and Lynemouth.
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Old 21-02-2015, 03:10 PM
janwhin janwhin is offline
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Well, there you go. I have read the piece about the birth discrepancy and his name. I thought the name Bulmer would produce something, and it did, a James Bulmer Johnson born in Yorkshire and in the RA. Seems like the whole thing got very confused.
The local newspaper report in 1943 about his funeral, states that he was 55, and the only family member present was his bro in law, W R Dodd of Whitley Bay. A wreath had been sent by his sister Chris. This ties back to the family you've identified Coquet, a sister, Christina, also born in Widdrington.
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Old 22-02-2015, 08:45 AM
leslie leslie is offline
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My mums Family were Johnsons from Spittal originally( Hauliers the business was still going till late last century I understand!) several of the family My Great Grand father and grand father(Alec) Came south to Ashington Area to work in mines circa WW1!! ,
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Old 22-02-2015, 11:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leslie View Post
My mums Family were Johnsons from Spittal originally( Hauliers the business was still going till late last century I understand!) several of the family My Great Grand father and grand father(Alec) Came south to Ashington Area to work in mines circa WW1!! ,
Hey you never know, you could have a VC in the family!

I see the medal itself is in the Alnwick NF museum. Price of VC groups is firm with Lord Ashcroft collecting them, I see he now has 1 in 8 of the whole lot:

http://www.lordashcroftmedals.com/

I think they start at about 150,000 for a group, but you will probably have to battle it out at auction with Ashcroft if you want one!
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Old 22-02-2015, 01:50 PM
janwhin janwhin is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by janwhin View Post
The local newspaper report in 1943 about his funeral, states that he was 55, and the only family member present was his bro in law, W R Dodd of Whitley Bay. A wreath had been sent by his sister Chris. This ties back to the family you've identified Coquet, a sister, Christina, also born in Widdrington.
Confirmation that this is the correct family.....Esther Jane, older sister of James, married William Ruddick Dodd in 1901. At the 1901 census William was a hospital porter.
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  #14  
Old 22-02-2015, 02:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by janwhin View Post
The local newspaper report in 1943 about his funeral, states that he was 55, ...
Confirmation that this is the correct family.....Esther Jane, older sister of James, married William Ruddick Dodd in 1901. At the 1901 census William was a hospital porter.
Good work. I wonder why this age error is perpetuated in the 1943 papers as well? The BMD has him dead 1st quarter aged 59 born c. 1884.
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Old 23-02-2015, 10:38 AM
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The page showing the man and the cemetery is incorrect in a number of ways....name, date of birth and date of Gazette (24 December 1918). I don't know how it is compiled?
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Old 23-02-2015, 06:41 PM
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As he spent his non-commissioned service in the Household Cavalry, and as the Household Cavalry service documents have survived we have something to look at on the NA site.

His age given at attestation on the 13th October 1914 is 25 years and 285 days. Trade is Clerk, birthplace Widdrington, Northumberland. Height 5'10⅛''
complexion fresh, eyes hazel, hair brown. Father Robert at the address in Benwell above. Religious denomination: Presbyterian.

So he is giving his date of birth as 31st Dec 1888?
Attached Images
File Type: jpg janes_johnson_1.jpg (59.1 KB, 5 views)
File Type: jpg janes_johnson_2.jpg (27.1 KB, 4 views)
File Type: jpg janes_johnson_3.jpg (44.1 KB, 4 views)
File Type: jpg janes_johnson_4.jpg (53.3 KB, 2 views)
File Type: jpg janes_johnson_5.jpg (37.5 KB, 2 views)
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