JOHNSON, William Henry (of Worksop)

Photo:Sgt. 306112 William Henry Johnson of 1/5th Btn. Sherwood Foresters

Sgt. 306112 William Henry Johnson of 1/5th Btn. Sherwood Foresters

Photo:William Johnson's Victoria Cross

William Johnson's Victoria Cross

Sherwood Foresters

1/5th Battalion

Born 1891, Died 1945

William Henry Johnson of Worksop was a Sergeant in the 1/5th Battalion The Sherwood Foresters.

He was awarded the Victoria Cross in 1918 when he was aged 27

The Victoria Cross is the highest award for gallantry that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

In December 1918 The London Gazette (14.12.1918) recorded the following citation which lead to the awarding of the Victoria Cross "For most conspicuous bravery at Ramicourt on the 3rd October 1918. When his platoon was held up by a nest of machine guns at very close range, Sergeant Johnson worked his way forward under very heavy fire, and single handed charged the post, bayoneting several gunners and capturing two machine guns. During his attack he was severely wounded by a bomb, but continued to lead forward his men. Shortly afterwards the line was once more held up by machine guns. Again he rushed forward and attacked the post single handed. With wonderful courage he bombed the garrison, put the guns out of action and captured the teams. He showed throughout the most exceptional gallantry and devotion to duty".

Sergeant Johnson's Victoria Cross is displayed at the Sherwood Foresters Museum at Nottingham Castle.

During the Second World war, Mr Johnson served in the Home Guard, but had to resign owing to ill-health.  He died in April 1945 and is buried in Redhill cemetery in Arnold near Nottingham.

In October 2011, The Newark Advertiser newspaper reported that the wording on his headstone at Arnold was repainted.  The report noted "The Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Victoria Cross Committee donated half of the £360 it cost to renovate Sergeant William Henry Johnson's faded epitaph.

"The committee's chairman, Mr Tony Higton of Bingham, said the committee was approached by sergeant Johnson's grandson, Mr Keith Johnson of Radcliffe-on-Trent, to help fund the project and was only too happy to help".

"Mr Keith Johnson did not ask the Victoria Cross Committee to pay for the full cost of the headstone restoration because he wanted to contribute something".

He commented "I was not quite five years old when he died but I know he helped anyone who asked... He was easy going and was a lovely man.  Everyone who knew him said that.  I just want everybody to know about him - I am so proud".

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