|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.
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,