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Sunday, 26 February 2012

Identity Discs: Sergeant Robert Allen Johnson, 44 Battalion, AIF

ID Number    PERS004

Title                Identity Discs: Sergeant Robert Allen Johnson, 44 Battalion, AIF

Maker             Unknown

Object Type  
Personal Equipment

Place made     Unknown

Date made      c 1917

Physical          Compressed fibre; aluminium

A pair of identity discs joined by a length of string knotted at the top end. One disc is a issue circular compressed fibre ‘Disc, Identity, No 2, red’ and the other is a circular aluminium improvised identity disc. The fibre disc is impressed 'CE 1848 CPL. R.A. Johnson 44 BN. A.I.F'. The aluminium disc is impressed '1848 R.A. JOHNSON 44 BN. A.F CE'.

Robert Allen Johnson was a 44 year old married labourer from Blackboy Hill, Western Australia when he enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) on 1 May 1916. 1848 Private Johnson embarked for overseas on board HMAT A28 Miltiades on 9 August 1916 with the 2 Reinforcement of the 44 Battalion.  He arrived at Plymouth, England on 25 September 1916.

On 1 October 1916 Private Johnson marched into 11 Training Battalion, Codford. On 11 December he was admitted to the Fargo Military Hospital for observation. Six days later, he was detailed for home service due to age and Subacromial bursitis. On 24 January 1917 Private Johnson was placed on the permanent cadre of 11 Training Battalion and promoted to substantive Corporal and temporary Sergeant, which was backdated to 1 January 1917. Between 19 and 24 March 1917, Sergeant Johnson was admitted to Fargo Military Hospital with Pleurisy. On 26 September 1917 he returned to Australia due to illness. He was subsequently discharged due to chronic bronchitis on 12 May 1918. Sergeant Johnson’s only medal entitlement was the British War Medal.

For more information on the 44th Battalion, click here. 

For David O'Mara's excellent article, Identifying the Dead: a Short Study of the Identification Tags of 1914-1918, click here.  

For another good website on Great War identity discs, click here. 

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