William Henry Johnston VC

William Henry Johnston (21/12/1879 – 08/06/1915) was awarded the Victoria Cross for an act of bravery that he performed on 14 September 1914 during the “Race to the Sea” at Missy, France.  

The Citation, recorded in the London Gazette of Supplement: 28985, Page: 9958, reads:

“Captain William Henry Johnston, Royal Engineers.

At Missy on 14th September under a heavy fire all day until 7 p.m., worked with his own hand two rafts bringing back wounded and returning with ammunition; thus enabling advanced Brigade to maintain its position across the river.”

Having achieved the rank of Major, William Johnston VC, was killed in action at Ypres on 8 June 1915. He is buried at Perth Cemetery, Ypres, Belgium.

© DRW 2017-2018. Created 25/04/2017. Image courtesy of Mark Green

Alexander Fraser Campbell GC

Alexander Fraser “Sandy” Campbell (02/05/1898 – 18/10/1940) was awarded the George Cross for his actions on 17 October 1940 in Coventry.

“He was 42 years old and serving in the Corps of Royal Engineers when he and Sergeant Michael Gibson were called to deal with an unexploded bomb which had fallen on the Triumph Engineering Company’s works. War production in the two factories had stopped because of it, and a large number of people living nearby had been evacuated. Campbell found the bomb was fitted with a delayed action fuse which it was impossible to remove, so he decided to transport it to a safe place. This was done by lorry. He lay alongside the bomb so that he could hear if it started ticking and could warn Gibson, the driver, to stop and run for cover. Next the two men carried the bomb a mile to Whitley Common, where they successfully made the bomb safe. Both men were killed the following day trying to defuse another bomb.”

Following a funeral service at Coventry Cathedral on 25 October 1940, the squad were buried in a collective grave in Coventry’s London Road Cemetery. The squad comprised Second Lieutenant Alexander Fraser Campbell GC and Sappers William Gibson, Richard Gilchrest, Jack Plumb, Ronald William Skelton, Ernest Arthur Stote and Gibson.

© DRW 2016-2018. Created 17/03/2017. Images and information courtesy of Mark Green.