Image copyright: Copyright expired - public domain,
Public Domain Mark This image is in the Public Domain

ID number P06938.002
Collection Photograph
Object type Black & white - Print silver gelatin
Photographer Cruden, James Charles
Date made c 1914


Pre-war studio portrait of 4315A Private (Pte) Cyril Donald Johnston, 54th Battalion from Delungra, NSW. A 23 year old school teacher prior to enlisting on 1 October 1915, Pte Johnston left Australia for Egypt with the 13th Reinforcements of the 2nd Battalion from Sydney on 20 December 1915 aboard HMAT Aeneas. Transferring to the 54th Battalion as part of the 'doubling-up' of the AIF in April 1916, Pte Johnston was in France for less than a month before taking part in the attack on German positions at Fromelles on the night of 19/20th July 1916. According to his Red Cross Missing and Wounded File, Pte Johnston was last seen wounded in front of the German trenches and was not recovered when the attack withdrew. Initially listed as missing, Pte Johnston was later confirmed by German sources to have been killed in action. Whilst his paybook and identity discs were later found in the Royal Prussian War Office in Berlin, the location of his grave was unknown and he was commemorated on the VC Corner Australian Cemetery Memorial, Fromelles, France. In 2008 a burial ground was located at Pheasant Wood, France containing the bodies of 250 British and Australian soldiers including Pte Johnston. All of the remains were reburied in the newly created Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery. At the time of the official dedication of the new cemetery on 19 July 2010, ninety-six of the Australians including Pte Johnston had been identified through a combination of anthropological, archaeological, historical and DNA information. Work is continuing on identifying the other remains relocated from the burial ground and buried in the new cemetery as unknown soldiers. Pte Johnston's older brother, 1629 Trooper Osborne William Johnston, 1st Australian Light Horse, was killed in action at Khuweilfe, Palestine, on 3 November 1917 (see image P06938.001)