Johnston, John (No. 7018189)

Johnston, William (Curly)

Rifleman

No. 7018189, 1st (Airborne) Battalion, Royal Ulster Rifles

Killed in action on Monday 19 June 1944 (aged 22)

Buried:

Ranville War Cemetery, Calvados, France (Grave VA. Q. 2)

Commemorated:

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Downpatrick and District War Memorial

BIOGRAPHY

It was reported in the Press that William Johnston’s parents lived in Scotch Street, Downpatrick and his wife, Jane D. (Joye) Johnston (nee McGahey) lived with her parents, Mr and Mrs John McGaghey, at 12 Circular Street, Newtownards.

William Johnston and Jane (Joye) McGaghey were married in February 1944 and William was home on leave in May 1944, about a month before he was killed.

Before he enlisted, William Johnston worked for Thornton Printers, Cregagh Road, Belfast.  His father served with the Royal Air Force (RAF) in England and one of his brothers served with the RAF in North Africa.

William Johnston enlisted in 1940, served with the Royal Ulster Rifles and was killed in action on 19 June in Normandy.  Initially he was reported as missing in action and then in October 1944 it was officially confirmed that he had been killed.

Rifleman William Johnston (No. 7018189) was buried in Ranville War Cemetery, Calvados, France and there is an inscription on his CWGC headstone:

SADLY MISSED

BY HIS LOVING WIFE JOYE

AND INFANT SON BILLY

JESUS HAVE MERCY R.I.P.

His wife, his parents-in-law and the McBratney family of 69 South Street, Newtownards placed Killed in Action notices in the 7 October 1944 edition of the Newtownards Chronicle and they contained the texts:

On his soul Sweet Jesus have mercy

Immaculate Heart of Mary pray for him

Rifleman William Johnston (No. 7018189) was 22 when he died, and he is commemorated on Downpatrick and District War Memorial.