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George Johnston WWII Medals

Contribution du public
DIMENSIONS en centimètres
Matériaux et techniques
Metalwork, embroidery
English Royal Navy
Numéro d'identification
William Johnston and family
George Johnston was 16 when he received word that his brother Bill was MIA in the South Pacific. Raised in a poor coal mining family near Newcastle, England, Bill’s death was another in a long string of hardship to endure. Shortly after, George enlisted with the English Royal Navy to join the fight overseas.
As these medals attest, George had a notable military service as a submariner in South Asia. His short stature was a natural fit in the cramped confines of the engine room, and for cleaning torpedo tubes despite his own struggles with claustrophobia. George displayed strong character by defying a quarantine to care for an ailing friend, and by jumping alone into the ocean to save a drowning officer while the sub was docked. He also spoke of the enlightening experience of meeting a proud and defiant Japanese Prisoner of War, his first view of a people he had previously only seen in racist cartoon propaganda. After seeing considerable action, near the end of the war George met his future wife Kathleen in Kent, and the two planned to leave Europe once the fighting was done.
Following the war, with a son and daughter in tow, George and Kathleen settled in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada to seek work in the flourishing steel mills. They welcomed another daughter in 1963, who eventually returned to settle in England. George spent most of his working life at the Dofasco Steel Company, eventually retiring as a highly respected General Foreman of Mechanical.
George’s life as a wartime submariner continued to impact him in later years. Following the Canadian purchase of four submarines from the British Royal Navy in 1998, George and another veteran submariner were invited on a dive in Lake Ontario. Though declaring he was too old to climb up the Conning Tower in the frigid February waters, the dive was a fitting bookend to his military career. George Johnston passed away in 2003 in Hamilton. 
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