Percy Clarkson Johnson
22nd March 1875 – 16th May 1915. Manchester Regiment (8th Battalion)
Percy Clarkson Johnson was born in Eccles into a cotton spinning family in 1875. He received a cosmopolitan education, learning things in Canterbury, Repton and Stuttgart. After all that, Johnson returned to Manchester to study engineering at Owen’s College, Fallowfield.
By the time the war began, Johnson had been in the army for twenty years. He initially joined the 5th Manchesters, of Ardwick, and fought in the Boer War, where he earned the Queen’s Medal. After the fighting was over, Johnson left the soldiering life behind and turned to settler colonialism, taking a Rhodesian farm, and marrying Marie Ann Kohler, a French missionary’s daughter.
In 1914, Johnson returned to England for a holiday, now nearly forty and a father of two. It was then that war was declared, and he decided to enlist in lieu of going home, rejoining the Manchesters as captain. A month later he was in Egypt to protect the Suez Canal from potential Ottoman attack.
On the 16th May 1915, Johnson was shot in the stomach by machine gun fire whilst on a scouting mission in Gallipoli. He died from his wounds.
Johnson is commemorated at Helles Memorial, Gallipoli, Pier and Face 13A.
The King’s School Canterbury Roll of Honour
World Rugby Museum