Colonel H. A. Johnston, DSO, MC, ED
Hugh Johnston was a native of Montreal having been born there 9 June 1893 and attended St. Andrew’s College from 1908 to 1912.
When war broke out in 1914 he was working as a clerk and enlisted in the Army Medical Corps in March 1915. He later transferred to the infantry and went overseas with the 40th battalion and received a battlefield commission while serving with them in May 1916. He transferred to the 13th battalion in August and received shrapnel wounds to his left arm shortly thereafter. That was not the only brush with death Hugh would have as he was reported missing for two days in April 1917 following the attack on Vimy Ridge. Promoted to Captain that October he took command of one of the battalion’s companies.
It was in this position, in 1918, that he would receive the Distinguished Service Order for his leadership during the attack on Canal du Nord, which was part of the Hindenberg Line.
Captain Johnston sailed for Canada in April 1919 and was demobilized upon after arrival on the 21st.
Come WW2 he re-enlisted in the Black Watch and reached the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. He retired for the last time in July 1945.
"On 27th September 1918, during the attack across the Canal du Nord which led up to the capture of Marquion, he led his company with marked gallantry. He was wounded just as the company attacked, but continued to lead his men through heavy fire to his objective, where he supervised the consolidation of his position after is company had captured prisoners out numbering their own strength. Though wounded, he remained at duty and his conduct throughout was splendid."
"For conspicuous gallantry while commanding a company during an attack. Finding himself held up by a strong enemy machine gun nest, he exposed himself recklessly while disposing of his men with such skill that the position was quickly rushed. Thanks to his fine leadership and courage his company arrived at the final objective before the scheduled time.”
Gazetted 11 July 1919 London Gazette 31448