World War 1 (1914 - 1918)


Image reproduced by permission of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Hugh McColl Johnston

Service: Army
Unit: Army Veterinary Corps, attached to 1st The Royal Dragoons
Rank: Captain

Hugh was born in Polnoon Street, Eaglesham in 1887, second son of Robert and Elizabeth Johnston of Newton Mearns. Hugh's father was employed as a joiner and Hugh at the age of 13 was also working as a joiner. The family moved to Newton Mearns and lived at Parklea, Barrhead Road. He later attended Glasgow Veterinary College and qualified as a veterinary surgeon on 18 May 1911 after passing the exams of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS).

When war broke out Hugh was living at Elmdene, Norton on Derwent, North Yorkshire and working as a veterinary surgeon. He applied for a commission on 15 August 1914 and the 1915 Register of the RCVS shows him as a Lieutenant in the Army Veterinary Corps (Special Reserve). His Medal Card shows that he went to France in October 1914 with the BEF and so was eligible for the 1914 Star. The 1917 Register of the RCVS shows that his rank had changed to Captain.

Hugh died of his wounds in France on 4 April 1918, aged 30. Captain Johnston was talking to two brother officers in his tent and stooped to pick up his belt when a stray shell burst and hit him in the back, also wounding one of the other officers. He is buried in Picquigny Cemetery, Somme, France - Grave reference C1. Hugh is also commemorated on Norton on Derwent War Memorial which is in the form of a hand printed manuscript book, on the 1914-18 RCVS War Memorial in London and on the family gravestone in Mearns Cemetery.*


 *Website of Rotary Club of Malton & Norton,

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