DCLXVI – The Numeral of the Beast - Part 32

A way to promote my fantasy trilogy - Breaking the Tranquillity of Solitude…

Part 32

Joy Amongst Sadness continued...

To expand upon what I was discussing last week, from what I remember my father telling me, if a regiment was taken from its capacity down to a nominal number of survivors it was then deemed to have been wiped out and thus was often reformed afresh from survivors and transfers alike. So, Thomas Johnson lost nearly all his fellow soldiers and friends 5 times over and each time through heroism and a large slice of luck managed to survive to help reform the regiment and fight on. He was allowed home on leave after this horrendous period and was later decorated in early 1917.

The London Gazette printed this:-

‘His Majesty the King has been graciously pleased to award the Military Medal for bravery in the field to the undermentioned Non-Commissioned officers and men’

12971 Pte T.S.Johnson was amongst those hero’s listed. He was, at around this time, also promoted from Private to Lance Corporal, but according to my Fathers account, deliberately overstayed his leave period to spend more time with his wife and children and also to ensure that he was stripped of this promotion. My father used to tell me how, his father had told him that he wanted to continue the fight alongside his friends, new, old, alive or dead and didn’t want to be ranked above them. If this is a true statement or just a proud son’s memory I will never know as there was no internet back then and my father passed away himself in 2002 aged 92. However, records do show the promotion and subsequent demotion soon after, so I choose to believe it to be true. Either way, as a matter of historic fact, he once again went back into the field to fight in France protecting King and country.

Sadly his luck ran out on 24th of April 1918 and he died of wounds sustained in battle a mere 200 days before the war was won. I still have his medal which I believe to be the highest award that can be bestowed on a ‘non-commissioned officer’, which is by today’s standards quite ludicrous. To think that one man could be, in effect considered less brave than another merely by his status or rank.

One day I will pluck up the courage to visit his resting place and pay him the respect he truly deserves…

world war 1 cemetery
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