Lieutenant Colonel G.C. Johnston
2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles
During the morning of February 3rd , I had the honour of a visit from General Currie, one I did not at all appreciate, as he at once proceeded to reduce me to a nervous wreck by putting me through a whole catechism of questions as to where I was to go, and what I would do with my company in the event of the Huns breaking through the front line. At this point, when I was thoroughly uncomfortable, the Bosche commenced to shell the hill and some shrapnel, coming through the roof, wounded one of our batmen, Hawkins, broke a window and ended the interview, much to my relief. Ten minutes after the general left the shelling became more intense, and before it finished we had fourteen casualties.
(G. Chalmers Johnston, 2nd CMR in France and Flanders, 18)
George Chalmers Johnston was born in London, England on 21 April 1874. A general agent in British Columbia with the 30th B.C. Horse, Johnston enlisted in Lieut. Col. J.C.L. Bott’s 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles as a captain in December 1914.
He received the Military Cross in 1916, “For conspicuous gallantry under heavy shell fire. He reorganized his defences after heavy losses had been suffered and set a fine example to his men.” He replaced Colonel Bott at the end of November 1916 and remained in command of the 2nd CMR until demobilization. By the end of the war, he was also three times mentioned in dispatches and received the Distinguished Service Order and Bar.
He wrote the regimental history of the 2nd CMR in 1932. Johnston died on 29 September 1956.