Lieutenant Robert Harold 'Jervis' Johnson

                                                                      Lieutenant Robert Harold 'Jervis' Johnson                                                                          

Second Lieutenant Robert Harold 'Jervis' Johnson. Unit: 2nd Battalion, The Essex Regiment. Death: 13 March 1915.  Jervis was shot by a sniper near Ploegsteert in Belgium.  He was 21.

SECOND LIEUTENANT ROBERT HAROLD 'JERVIS' JOHNSON, 2nd BATTALION THE ESSEX REGIMENT was the elder son of Robert Baines Johnson of The Hope House, Little Burstead, Billericay, Essex and Florence Ethel H (formerly Read) and was born on November 29th 1893 at Wanstead. All firstborn males in the family were given the name Robert and thus Robert probably went by the name Jervis or 'JJ' when he played for  Brentwood Cricket Club.  He was educated at Winchester where he was a commoner in B House and St. John's College, Oxford, which he entered as a "University candidate" for the Army in January 2013.  He was a tall young man, nearly 6ft 5inches in height and was an all-round sportsman. On the outbreak of war in August 1914 he applied for a commission in the Essex regiment and was gazetted to 2nd Bn. on the 26th of that month.  He was attached to 3rd Bn. at Harwich until January 7th 1915 and on the following day, he began his overseas service with 2nd Bn. 

The Essex County Chronicle dated 26th March 1915, in a long report, told how Robert "was killed by a ricochet bullet whilst engaged with his platoon in fortifying a cottage and the sad news was communicated to his parents on Tuesday, March 16th." 

Robert is buried in Calvaire (Essex) Military Cemetery, Belgium in Grave I J 9.  One of more than eighty men from 2nd Bn. The Essex Regiment were buried there from early 1915.

He was awarded the 1915 Star, War and Victory Medals.

He is commemorated on the Billericay Town Memorial, The Little Burstead Village Memorial and on a private memorial tablet in Little Burstead Church, the Most Holy Redeemer RC Church Memorial, Billericay and also on the Wykehamists Memorial and St. John's College, Oxford Memorial.  


The Roll of Honour on the Club's website describes how the outbreak of the First World War 'seriously curtailed' the Club's activities and commemorates four of the first members of the Club to lose their lives whilst on active service: Lieutenants 'Jervis' Johnson, George Frederick BarkerDougal Campbell Clifford Sewell and Hamilton Henry Travers


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