Eric Johnson was born on the 11th October 1920 and was one of 140th Regiment’s early recruits, at the age of 19 years, into the Woolwich section of 140th Field Regiment, 367 Battery. It sounds as if he joined up almost on a whim, as he casually announced it to his family after his return from work. His son, Richard Johnson, and I have met to discuss the very scant details we have of both our fathers’ wartime experiences.
Gunner Eric Johnson, 1939
Gunner Johnson’s military records confirm his involvement with all 367 Battery’s battles, including the battle of Cassel and the breakout towards Dunkirk on 29th May 1940. His Liberation questionnaire confirmed his capture in Watou (mis-spelled as ‘Watteau‘) on 30th May 1940. We don’t know whether he may have been captured with the column of Artillerymen that was being led by Major Ronald Cartland MP.
After his capture Gunner Johnson was transported across Belgium and Germany to Stalag VIIIB and, for part of his captivity, was sent to the E72 Arbeitskommando (amongst various other work parties that included E543 Drmbrowa, E346 Lenschutz and E725 Konigshutte Bismark) at the same time as my father Eric West.
It is known that Eric Johnson participated in the Long March across Czechoslovakia and Southern Germany and was liberated by American forces in March 1945, weighing less than 7 stones with his 6′ 1” frame.
Eric Johnson died in 1997 at the age of 77 years.