Johnston, James Stevenson (No. 17980)

Johnston, James Stevenson (James)

Rifleman

No. 17980, ‘C’ Company, 13th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles

Killed in action on Saturday 1 July 1916 (aged 24)

Buried:

Serre Road Cemetery No. 2, France (Grave VI. F. 10)

Commemorated:

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Journey of Remembering Belfast Book of Honour

BIOGRAPHY

The death of Rifleman James Stevenson Johnston (No. 17980) was reported in the Newtownards Chronicle under the headline Comber Heroes.

James Stevenson Johnston was born on 12 September 1891 at 35 Erin Street, Belfast and he was a son of Stevenson and Margaret Johnston (nee Thompson) who were married on 21 January 1887 in Ballygowan Presbyterian Church.  Stevenson Johnston, a farmer from Ballybundon was a son of William Johnston, a farmer.  Margaret Thompson (aged 20) from Drumreagh was a daughter of James Thompson, a farmer.

Stevenson and Margaret Johnston had at least two children, Margaret and James Stevenson.  While Stevenson Johnston was still farming at Ballybundon, his daughter Margaret was born on 11 September 1887 in Drumreagh and she was baptised in Ballygowan Presbyterian Church.

The Johnston family moved to Belfast where they lived at 35 Erin Street and Stevenson worked as a vanman.

Stevenson Johnston died of typhoid fever at home on 9 September 1891 (aged 24) and three days later Margaret gave birth to their son, James Stevenson Johnston.

James Stevenson Johnston was born on 12 September 1891 at 35 Erin Street, Belfast.

Before the Great War James Stevenson Johnston was employed as a farm servant by John Hamilton who farmed in the townland of Ballystockart, Comber.

James Stevenson Johnston enlisted in Downpatrick and he served with the 13th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles in 108th Brigade of the 36th (Ulster) Division.  After the first day of the Battle of the Somme Rifleman James Johnston was posted as missing in action and in February 1917 it was officially confirmed that he must be presumed to have been killed in action.

Rifleman James Stevenson Johnston was 24 when he died and he was buried in Serre Road Cemetery No. 2, France.

Rifleman James Stevenson Johnston is commemorated in the Belfast Book of Honour (Page 299).