Johnstone Mathewson Douglas

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Private Johnstone Mathewson Douglas, 26th Battalion, Service Number 3644, Australian Imperial Force, was killed on the 14th of November, 1916. He was aged 42. Johnstone was the son of William and Eliza Ann Mathewson. His mother was originally from Lerwick, Shetland.

The 26th Battalion was raised at Ennoggera, a suburb of Brisbane, in early 1915, to form the second Battalion in the 7th Brigade, itself part of the 2nd Division. The 7th Brigade was drawn from the smaller States. The 26th Battalion's men came mainly from Queensland and a smaller number from Tasmania.

Johnstone stayed at 10 Percy Street, Launceston, Tasmania. Prior to enlisting, Johnstone was employed as a farmer. He married Caroline Hollis 5 Dec 1906 in West Kentish, Sheffield, TAS, AUS. She was b. 27 Apr 1882, Sheffield, TAS, AUS d. Sep 1965, Sheffield, TAS, AUS. 

He enlisted on the 22nd of September, 1915. His unit embarked from Brisbane, Queensland on board HMAT A55 Kyarra on the 3rd of January, 1916.

In early November, his Battalion had moved to Carlton Camp, then were engaged in an attack north west of Flers. They had received orders that the Battalion would be placed in support at Cobham Trenches by dawn on 5th November, 1916. during and attack which was to begin at 9:10pm. On arrival at Cobham Trenches, one Company and a portion of "D" Company were ordered to take part in the attack on the centre of Battalion sector having one Company of 27th Battalion on the right, and one of 25th Battalion. Between the 10th and 13th, the Battalion relieved the 19th Battalion on the right sector coming under the jurisdiction of the 5th Brigade. An attack was arranged for 6:45am on the 14th. That morning the attack was launched. The left wing was partially held up by German fire. The centre and right obtained a temporary footing in portion of the Maze Trenches. Eventually strong German rifle and bomb fire drove the whole line back.

His wife, Caroline, received a war pension from 1920 to support three children. He was awarded the British War Medal, and Victory Medal. His name is on the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux, Picardie, France.


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