Skip to main content

JOHNSON, Walter Henry Morrell (1912-1969) – Gordon Highlanders

Walter Johnson, of Evesham, married Gladys Irene Southern, of Pitchers Hill, in Wickhamford, in July 1935.  They went to live in Evesham but when he joined the Army, she returned to her parent’s house and was there at the end of the War.

He served in the Far East in the Gordon Highlanders, who were still in action in Burma when the War ended.  Although an infantry Regiment, their role in the East was unusual, as the men acted as tank crews and manned anti-tank guns, mortars and anti-aircraft guns.

Articles appeared in the Tewkesbury Register and Evesham Standard, in April 1945, concerning a letter Sgt Johnson had written to his wife in Wickhamford. While on leave in India he had visited Dooars, North Bengal, to stay with the Warner family who had invited any men from the Evesham area to spend their leave with them on their tea plantation.  Whilst there, he played tennis and football – before his marriage he had played football for Broadway AFC, Evesham Town and Willersey & Littleton Rovers.  By April 1945, Walter Johnson had been in the Army for nearly five years. He was sent to India and served on the Manipur front.  He was probably in the 9th (Donside) Battalion which arrived in India in May 1942 and was converted to an armoured regiment and designated 116th Regiment, Royal Armoured Corps.  It was heavily involved in the Battle of Meikila, Burma, as part of the 255th Indian Tank Brigade.  In April 1945 the Battalion took part in the dash for Rangoon.

Walter Johnson worked for Pearl Assurance Company before and after the War, when he lived on Pitchers Hill, and eventually becoming Manager of the Hereford branch.

Note - More information can be found about the Southern family in WWII in the article "Southern Family of Wickhamford - the WWII service of eight sons of Maria Southern", which includes a press photograph of Walter Johnson.