Driver James F Johnston

21 Sep 1944

James Francis Johnston was the son of Charles Rice and Rebecca Johnston, of Chester. He enlisted in the Royal Army Service Corps, and volunteered for airborne forces.

Driver Johnston successfully completed Air Despatcher training and was posted to 253 (Airborne) Divisional Composite Company, Royal Army Service Corps, and took part in Operation Market Garden (Arnhem).

Dvr Johnstone was killed in action on 21 September 1944, aged 28, when RAF 295 Squadron Stirling LK-115, base Harwell, was hit by Flak and made a belly landing north of Wolfheze, in the Planken Wambuis area, near the Van Nieuwenhuizen farm. The RAF crew were unhurt and made POW. Sadly both the Air Despatchers were seen falling from the burning plane without parachutes. Dvr Johnston’s remains were found in the woods north west of Arnhem in June 1952 and re-interred in Jonkerbos War Cemetery. (Roll of Honour, 5th Revised Edition, 2011).

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By Rod Gibson

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