Friends of the Somme - Mid Ulster Branch  
Date Information
24/06/2020 JOHNSTON – Drowned at sea, 13th December, Leading Stoker George Johnston, Royal Navy, only son of William and Annie Johnston. Deeply regretted by his sorrowing father and mother and sisters. Some day we will understand. Mr and Mrs Johnston wish to thank all friends who called or wrote expressing sympathy on their bereavement, 97 Coagh Street, Cookstown.
24/06/2020 From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 1st January 1944: Cookstown Naval Raring Drowned
24/06/2020 Mrs Johnston, of 97 Coagh Street, Cookstown, received a telegram on 13th December from the Royal Navy Barracks, Devonport, stating that her son, George Usher Johnston, acting Leading Stoker, had lost his life through drowning as the result of an accident when bathing from the ship’s side. The Commander conveyed severe sympathy with Mrs Johnston in her very sad loss.
24/06/2020 The deceased young man, after serving his apprenticeship to the grocery business with Messrs. Henry and Faulkner of Cookstown, joined the Royal Navy in June 1941. He saw active service as he was on one of the warships in the relief of Malta. He was also at the landing and evacuation of Norway, but principally on convey work on the Murmansk route to Russia. His last home leave was in November 1942. He was only 21 years of age. Two of his sisters are in the A.T.S.
24/06/2020 From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 1st January 1944: Roll of Honour
14/09/2019 In December 1943, HMS Kenya was deployed at Kilindini. On 4th December HMS Kenya took passage to Trincomalee, Sri Lanka, with HM Cruiser Newcastle.
14/09/2019 George Usher Johnston was the son of William and Annie Johnston. He was born on 21st January 1923 at ‘Orange’ Row, in Coagh Street, Cookstown.
14/09/2019 George had five sisters and went to Oldtown School.
14/09/2019 Known family: William Johnston, Annie Johnston, George Usher Johnston (born 21st January 1923), Ivy Johnston, Sadie Johnston.
14/09/2019 He worked as a shop boy in Faulkner’s, Cookstown.
14/09/2019 Prior to enlisting, he had tried to join the Navy on a couple of occasions before his 18th birthday, but had been unsuccessful.
14/09/2019 HMS Kenya was a Crown Colony-class cruiser of the Royal Navy. The ship was named after Kenya, a British possession at the time of the ship's construction. It was launched on 18 August 1939.
14/09/2019 On 9th December they arrived at Trincomalee in advance of carrying out local exercises with HMS Newcastle.
14/09/2019 Leading Stoker George Usher Johnston died as a result of a fatal accident during recreational bathing in Trincomalee harbour on 13th December 1943. He was 21 years old.
14/09/2019 Leading Stoker Johnston was buried in an iron casket on the shore close to where he died.
14/09/2019 A few years later his body was re-interred at Trincomalee War Cemetery. The inscription on his grave reads: ‘I SHALL GO TO HIM, BUT HE SHALL NOT RETURN TO ME II SAMUEL XII.23’
14/09/2019 Two of his sisters, Ivy and Sadie, joined the ATS in the Second World War.
14/09/2019 George Johnston is commemorated locally on Cookstown Cenotaph and on Molesworth Presbyterian Roll of Honour.
14/09/2019 A war memorial bell in the Council House, Derby commemorates the members of the crew of HMS Kenya and the adoption of the ship by the City of Derby. Leading Stoker Johnston is listed on the memorial.
14/09/2019 The CWGC record Leading Stoker George Usher Johnston as the son of William and Annie Johnston of Cookstown, County Tyrone.
14/09/2019 Leading Stoker George Johnston served with the Royal Navy on board H.M.S. Kenya.
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