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Francis Earl Johnston

Portrait of Brigadier General Francis Earl Johnston, Archives New Zealand, R24184979. Image may be subject to copyright restrictions.
Portrait of Brigadier General Francis Earl Johnston, Archive … Read more


  • Title
  • Forenames
    Francis Earl AWMM
  • Surname
    Johnston AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
  • Service number
    WWI 10/512A AWMM
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi
  • Hapū
  • Waka
  • Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
    1 October 1871 Peter Dennis, UNSW Canberra Peter Dennis, UNSW Canberra
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Birth notes
  • Address before enlistment
    WW1 Unknown AWMM Wellington, New Zealand AWMM
  • Post war occupation
  • Next of kin on embarkation
    WW1 Messrs Cox and Company, London, England AWMM
  • Relationship status
    Pre 16 October 1914 AWMM Married/WWI AWMM


Wars and conflicts

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Military decorations

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  • Medals and Awards
    • Companion of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath (CB) AWMM
      Companion of the Order of the Bath - London Gazette, 8 November 1915, p11025: For distinguished service in the field during the operations at the Dardanelles. AWMM
    • 1914-1915 Star AWMM
    • Mentioned in Despatches (MiD) Four Times AWMM
      Mentioned in Despatches - London Gazette, 15 June 1916 Mentioned in Despatches - London Gazette, 4 January 1917, p197, Rec No 2052: Has commanded his Brigade since the New Zealand Division landed in France, with ability. During operations on the Somme he handled his Command with great coolness and judgement. Mentioned in Field Marshall D Haig's Despatch of 7 November 1917 for distinguished and gallant services and devotion to duty during the period February 26th to midnight September 20-21st, 1917. AWMM
    • Cross of Karageorge, 3rd Class with Swords (Serbia) AWMM
      Serbian Cross of Karageorge with swords (3rd Class) - London Gazette, 15 February 1917, p1608: For distinguished services rendered during the course of the campaign. AWMM

Training and Enlistment

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  • Military training
  • Enlistment
    WW1 Soldier/Civilian AWMM
  • Occupation before enlistment
  • Age on enlistment


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Prisoner of war

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  • Capture details
  • Days interned
  • Liberation date
  • Liberation Repatriation
  • POW liberation details
  • POW serial number

Medical history

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  • Medical notes
    Killed in Action, Cause of Death AWMM

Biographical information

Biographical information

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  • Francis Johnston was the son of the Hon. Charles and Mrs Johnston, of Karori, Wellington, and husband of Gwen Johnston.

    Was the Commanding Officer of the New Zealand Brigade at Gallipoli

    Also served in North Staffordshire Regiment.

    Rank last held was listed as Temporary Brigadier General

    He was the Commanding Officer for the 3rd New Zealand Rifle Brigade when he was killed.

    Appointed Temporary Brigadier General while commanding 1st NZ Infantry Brigade, 9 July 1915.
    Relinquished command of 1st NZ Infantry Brigade on account of ill-health, and took command of NZ Infantry Reserve Group, England, 27 July 1917.
    Proceeded overseas to France, 27 July 1917, to command 2nd NZ Rifle Brigade.
    Killed in action by sniper bulet while visiting his front line trenches, 7 August 1917.
    Medals: Cross of the Karageorge, 3rd Class (with swords), Serbia, 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal

    Wife: Gwen Johnston, 29 Bullingham Mansions, Campden Hill, London W8, England AWMM
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About death

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  • Death
    7 August 1917 AWMM
    Age 45 AWMM
  • Date of death
  • Age at death
  • Place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Death notes
  • Cemetery
    Bailleul Communal Cemetery Extension, Nord, France AWMM III. C. 260. AWMM
  • Cemetery name
  • Grave reference
  • Obituary
    The news of the death of Colonel (temp. Brigadier) Francis Earl Johnston was received with great regret by all ranks of the N.Z.E.F. The General had only taken over the command of the 3rd N.Z. (R.) Brigade a few days prior to his death, which occurred while inspecting the Brigade area on August 8th. In the spring of this year he relinquished the command of the 1st N.Z. Infantry Brigade, and assumed the direction of the N.Z. Reserve Group at Sling Camp, England, returning to France as stated above. General Johnston was the eldest son of the Hon. Charles and Mrs. Johnston, of Karori, Wellington, N.Z. He entered the Imperial Army, receiving his commission in 1891, and served in the Dongola Expedition and in South Africa. On the formation of the N.Z. Division in Egypt, early in 1915, he was given command of the N.Z. Infantry Brigade, which he directed at the landing at Gallipoli, at Cape Helles, and during the August operations. For his services he was awarded the C.B. in November, 1915. On the formation of the N.Z. Division he retained command of the 1st Infantry Brigade and served at Armentières, the Somme, and in the trench warfare through the worst of last winter. The General was no seeker after popularity. He had the confidence of his men, and his rubicund countenance was often to be seen in the front lines. His cheery ‘Good morning!’ did much to dispel the recollection of the horrors of a bad night. General Johnston married Miss Fell, of Wellington, who died while the Force was in Egypt. A few months ago he married Miss Seaton, to whom we offer our sincere sympathy. (Chronicles of the N.Z.E.F., 5 September 1917, p. 27) AWMM
  • Memorial name
  • Memorial reference



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  • External links
  • Documents
    • New Zealand Army Expeditionary Force. (1914-1919). Nominal Rolls of New Zealand Expeditionary Force, Volume I. Wellington, N.Z.: Govt. Printer. AWMM
      Vol1: 372 AWMM
    • Chronicles of the N.Z.E.F. AWMM
      Obituary: Chronicles of the N.Z.E.F., 5 September 1917, p. 27. AWMM
    • NZEF Peter Dennis, UNSW Canberra AWMM
    • Beattie, P.J. & Pomeroy, M. (2013-2015). Onward : portraits of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (vols 1-3). Auckland, New Zealand: Fair Dinkum Publications AWMM
      Vol. 3: Includes portrait AWMM
    • Stowers, R. (2009). Rough riders at war : history of New Zealand's involvement in the Anglo-Boer War 1899-1902 and information on all members of the 10 New Zealand contingents. Hamilton, N.Z.: R. Stowers. AWMM


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28 October 2017JeniferWairarapaResearcher
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