Private Jasper JOHNSON M.M.
  

Regiment/Service:
Hampshire Regiment
(Formerly: South Staffordshire Regiment)
Unit:
2nd Battalion
Service Number:
27263
(Fmly: 26256 South Staffordshire Regiment)
Date of Death:
1 August 1918 - Died of wounds (Home)
Age:
21
Cemetery / Memorial:
Cemetery Reference:
Near North-West corner of Church.
Awards:
Military Medal.





Personal History:
Jasper was born in the June quarter 1897, the son of Jasper (Farmer) and Annie (née Davis) Johnson, of Woodland View, Ashford, Derbyshire. He had six older brothers and sisters, Martha, Joseph, Thomas D., Mary and Benjamin and a younger sister, Annie. (1891 Census RG 12/2773 and 1901 Census RG 13/3263). (Strangely, for some reason, Jasper was not living with the family in 1901, nor appears on the Census generally.) In 1911 (Census RG 14/21183) he was helping his father "Working on Farm".

Military History:
There is no record when Jasper enlisted in the South Staffordshire Regiment as unfortunately his Service Papers have not survived. His Medal Index Card indicates that he entered the War in France after December 1915 as he is not eligible for the 1914-15 Star Medal.  However, by the time he was awarded his Military Medal in 1918 he had transferred to the Hampshire Regiment. (London Gazette, 4th October 1918)

At the start of the War the 2nd Battalion had been in Mhow, India, returning to England in December 1914. In February 1915 it came under orders of 88th Brigade in 29th Division, and sailed from Avonmouth on 29th March 1915 for Gallipoli, going via Egypt. Landed at Cape Helles on 25 April 1915. In January 1916 they evacuated from Gallipoli to Egypt and landed at Marseilles for service in France on the 20th March 1916.

During 1917 Jasper's 29th Division fought in The First, The Second and The Third Battles of the Scarpe, all phases of the Arras Offensive. Later in the year they fought at The Battle of Langemarck; The Battle of Broodseinde and The Battle of Poelcapelle during the Third Battles of Ypres, and also in The Battle of Cambrai.

The following year they were engaged again in the Battles of the Lys, in particular The Battle of Estaire; The Battle of Messines; The Battle of Hazebrouck, including the defence on Nieppe Forest, and The Battle of Bailleul.

Without Jasper's Service Papers it is not possible to know during which of these Battles Jasper received the
wounds from which he subsequently died. However, it often took about three months for high awards of bravery,
such as the Military Medal, to be Gazetted so some time during the German offensive in Flanders - Operation
'Georgette' and the Battles of the Lys, 9th - 29th April 1918, would seem most likely.

It is known from the Regimental History that the 2nd Hampshires weren't in
action in July and were last in the trenches on the 20th June.

His CWGC records state he died of his wounds 'at home' and was buried in his
local Parish Churchyard.

However, 75 of his comrades from the 2nd Battalion were killed in action during
the period of 11th - 18th April, coinciding with The Battle of Estaire; The Battle of
Messines and The Battle of Hazebrouck, phases in the Battles of the Lys.
Most are commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial. It is possible, therefore,
that Jasper received his wounds in one of these actions.

Sources:
· I am grateful to Colin Taylor (via the GWF) for the information from the History

Link to CWGC Record
Pt Jasper Johnson's grave
The Ashford Memorial, Derbyshire
Jasper's name is also listed on the memorial in Holy Trinity Churchyard, Ashford, Derbyshire
Jasper's name on Ashford memorial
The Military Medal
poppy