Johnson – Sergeant William (Bill) Henry

15 October 1890 – 25 April 1945

William was born in Worksop, Nottinghamshire. He worked at Manton Colliery and was a bell-ringer at Worksop Priory Church. He enlisted into the Sherwood Foresters on 9 February 1916 and was serving as a Sergeant in the 1/5th Battalion, Nottinghamshire Regiment when he performed the deed for which he was awarded the VC.

On 3rd October 1918 at Ramicourt, France, when Sergeant Johnson’s Platoon was held up by a German machine gun nest, he worked his way forward under heavy fire, and single-handed charged the post, bayoneting several gunners and capturing two machine guns. During this attack he was severely wounded, but continued to lead forward his men. Shortly afterwards, the line was once more held up by machine guns. Again, he rushed forward, attacked the post single-handed, bombed the garrison, put the guns out of action and captured the teams.

In March 1920, he was also awarded the French Médaille Militaire.

He served in the Home Guard during the Second World War, but while serving in a searchlight unit, he suffered an injury to his leg that necessitated amputation. He was admitted to hospital in Sheffield for further treatment, and shortly afterwards his second foot was amputated. Sadly, William died from his injuries. He was buried with full military honours.

William’s medals are held by the Museum of the Mercian Regiment, Nottingham Castle.

Filed under: WW1