Served in the Indian Army (22 Punjabis) in the First World War.
2nd Lieutenant (unattached): 20/1/1909
2nd Lieutenant: 12/3/1909, 22 Punjabis
Lieutenant: 20/4/1911, 22 Punjabis
Captain: 1/9/1915, 22 Punjabis
Brig Major: 7/4/1925
1943-1950? - Special employee in army since retiring.
22 Punjabis War Diary - ref WO 95/5122:
1-11-1914 Lahore, Karachi
28-11-1914 Anchored off Bussorah
3-12-1915 Maghil Camp
30-1-1915 Attacked by small band of Turks at 8pm
1 Turk bayoneted in throat. 6 dead, 15 wounded Turks.
Right flank of Tigris
8-4-1915 Mezera fort.
- May Bombarded by enemy
5-5-1915 Raiding party up Euphrates helping Sehikh of Medina
7-5-1915 Raid up Euphrates. Brought back 16 rifles.
No rain, malarial fever very prevalent.
1-6-1915 One Tower Hill, right bank of Tigris. Bahran position.
2-6-1915 SS Mejidien, Ezras Tomb
6-6-1915 Steamed up Tigris on SS Mejidien. Arrived at Amarah at 8pm
7-6-1915 Exceedingly hot and stifling, Men suffering from heat. Sun fever very prevalent. 10 men transferred to No 1 Field Ambulance. Improved perimeter defence.
25-6-1915 Lieutenant Johnson & 7 men transferred to No 1 Field Ambulance.
30-6-1915 Arrived Kumait
1-7-1915 Fever, diarhoea very prevalent
26-9-15 Camp Sannaiyat
Chahela - enemy shelled camp
(Fall of Kut)
The 6th Poona Division retreated to the town of Kut where it was besieged from 7th December 1915.
Despite many attempts to relieve it, the sheltering army eventually ran out of supplies and was forced to surrender on 29th April 1916. The 22nd Punjabis were captured along the rest of the Division and the officers and men suffered terrible treatment by the Turks during their captivity. A list of the Indian Officers and men taken prisoner by the Turks during the Mesopotamia campaign can be found at the British Library.
The war diaries covering the period between November 1915 and April 1916 were destroyed when Kut fell.
Extracts of War diary of officer Kenneth Crawford:
Things were going badly with us inside the Kut perimeter. We were assailed chiefly by various intestinal diseases resembling cholera, and were burying from 30 to 50 men a day, latterly as many as 80 in a day. From 24 January 1916 we had been on three quarters rations and the meat issued was either horse or mule. The ration was gradually reduced, and by 9 April we were down to 5 ounces of bread, and by 17 April to 4 ounces, with a similar quantity of meat.
By 27 April no food was left, Townshend began negotiations with Khalil Bey, the Turkish commander, and on the morning of 29 April the Turks were allowed to march into the town. Our force, consisting of 400 British officers, 2700 British soldiers, and about 9000 Indian officers and men, was taken prisoner.The officers and other ranks had been separated into different groups. The Turks made a very great difference between their treatment of officers and their treatment of other ranks. The officers travelled up to Baghdad in barges, and were allowed a suitcase and a roll of bedding each. But the men had to march, as there was no railway.
Officers on the march were allowed a pack animal between two to carry their baggage, but the other ranks had to carry their kits, and were flogged along with whips by the Arab guards if they fell behind at all. Hundreds of them couldn’t keep up, and died of cholera or dysentery by the way. In two places there were long marches of 30 miles or more without intermediate watering places. So many men died on these marches that the later parties coming after them were taken round another way, so that they shouldn’t see the bones of their comrades by the roadside. I spent a year and 9 months at Afion (Afyonkarahisar) and then went to another camp between that and Smyrna where I passed the last 5 months of the war.
NB George Thomas Johnson married Geraldine Denny on 13 July 1918 in Barnstaple, Devon so it is unlikely he could have been involved in the siege of Kut as he would have then been a prisoner in Turkey until the end of the war. Maybe he was invalided back to England after being taken ill on the 25 June 1915. He was promoted though from Lieutenant to Captain in the 22 Punjabis on 1 Sep 1915.
1919 - G T Johnson, Captain, 22 Punjabis awarded War medal & Victory medal
On 2 Feb 1919, he departed Liverpool for Bombay with wife Geraldine.
Regiment went to Afghanistan in 1919
Water rationed 2 gallons per man per day
3-8-1919 Diwana Kot
7-8-1919 Peace treaty signed with Afghans.
1. 22 Punjabis War Diary - ref WO 95/5122, National Archives, Kew
2. Source: Army Lists 1914-1950, National Archives Kew & British Library, St Pancras
3. Indian Army Quarterly List for 1 January 1912:
REMARKS: Lieutenant, 22 Punjabis. (Their regimental base was at Jhelum in northren India, now Pakistan).
Page #: 153p
2. The First World War by Martin Gilbert, pages 244-248, Surrender of Kut, and Death March
3. Diary of an officer describing life during the siege of Kut and as a prisoner https://www.forces-war-records.co.uk/blog/2014/11/24/exclusive-world-war-one-diary-life-as-a-turkish-prisoner-of-war-after-the-siege-of-kut-al-amara-mespotamia
Best place to view hard copies of Indian Army List is the Asian and African Studies Reading Room at the
British Library. Less extensive collection is also at the National Archives.