Henry Martin Finch Johnson was born on the 25th September 1868 in Islington, the eight of nine children of James Henry and Adelaide Johnson.Henry married Jennie Hodges in 1890 in Basford, Nottinghamshire and by 1901 the family had moved to Shipley living at 15 Granville Road. Henry was working as a railway district estate agent and two children had been born to them, Hilda Mary Finch in 1891 and Marjorie Lizzie in 1896, both born in Nottinghamshire. There followed Norah Annie in 1901, Alec Henry in 1904 and Ronald Lewis in 1908.
The family moved around, living at 2 Lenton Villas, Idle in 1906 and at 43 Shipley Fields during the years 1907 to 1910. In 1911 the family had moved to 71 Aireville Drive, Frizinghall and Henry is still working as a railway district estate agent for the Midland Railway Company in Bradford. When Henry enlisted in the September of 1914 the family were living at 15 Norman Drive, Eccleshill.He enlisted as Corporal 16/362 in the 16th Battalion of the West Yorkshire Regiment (Prince of Wales Own). He was 45 years old.
Henry joined the Battalion when it was formed in September 1914 by the Lord Mayor of Bradford. In December 1915 the Battalion moved to Egypt to guard the Suez Canal and in March 1916 transferred to the Western Front in readiness for the forthcoming Battle of the Somme. At 7.30am on the 1st of July 1916 Henry’s battalion as part of the 31st division was one of the first to go over the top to attack the German line and he was one of the twelve men on the St Luke’s, Eccleshill, memorial to lose his life on this date. He was killed in action at the age of 48 years.
Henry is buried at Serre Road No. 1 cemetery started in May 1917 when the British V Corps cleared the battlefield of soldier’s remains after the territory came into British hands. Many soldiers killed in the British Offensive 1st July 1916 had been irretrievable for many months and could not be identified and were buried in the Serre Road Cemeteries.Henry left his effects to his widow Jennie who received £1.15.6d on the 21st October 1916 and a War Gratuity of £9.0.0d on the 17th September 1919.
. Researched and written by Jean Britteon, to whom many thanks