838686 Pte. Herbert Haines Johnson was born in Chesley, Ontario, on September 6th, 1887, and was the eldest son of William and Dorothy Johnson. At the time of his attestation to the 147th Battalion of November 27th, 1917, Herbert was married and living in Meaford with his wife Loretta and son Earl Laycock.

As the unit was billeted locally over the winter, Herbert would have lived at home until the spring. The outlying companies of the 147th Battalion centralized in Owen Sound in May to finalize the administration and organization of the unit, just prior to their departure for Camp Niagara later that month. As the conditions in the Camp were wanting the unit moved to the new training facility of Camp Borden in late June.

In September the unit received their orders to proceed overseas, but due to an outbreak of diphtheria they were detained in Amherst, Nova Scotia, for over a month. The unit finally sailed for Great Britain, on November 14th 1916.

On January 1st, 1917, the 147th Battalion ceased to exist when it became the nucleus for the 8th Reserve Battalion, whose task it was to supply reinforcements to the 58th Battalion and the 4th C.M.R. Herbert was taken on strength of the 4th C.M.R. on April 22nd, 1917 in a reinforcement draft after the Battle of Vimy Ridge.

Herbert was gassed in September of 1917 while the unit was in the Lens sector. Medically evacuated twenty-nine year old Herbert succumbed to the effects of the gas and passed away on October 20th, 1917.

838686 Private Herbert Haines Johnson was laid to rest in St. Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen, France.

Biography credit: George Auer, with thanks.