Warwickshire war hero Bryan Johnson laid to rest this morning

The funeral for a 95-year-old Warickshire war hero took place in Lillington this morning (Friday May 26).

Friday, 26th May 2017, 1:02 pm
Updated Sunday, 4th June 2017, 10:14 pm
The late Bryan Johnson at the Warwickshire Yeomanry Museum when it re-opened in August 2014 to coincide with the 100th Anniversary of the Commencement of the Great War (1914-18).

Bryan Johnson, who was well-known in both Leamington and Warwick, died on March 14.

His funeral was organised by Mr Johnson’s friends, the Bereavement Services of SWH Trust through John Taylor Funeral Services, along with trustees of the Warwickshire Yeomanry Museum and the Queen’s Own Warwickshire and Worcestershire Yeomanry Comrades Association (QOWWY).

They organised the funeral for Mr Johnson after no family members could be found.

Bryan Johnson at Warwickshire Yeomanry Museum

The service was held at St Mary Magdalene’s Church in Lillington and was well attended.

A collection was also being taken to help raise money for Mr Johnson’s headstone.

Mr Johnson was buried with his wife Sheila, who died some years ago.

Bryan Walker Johnson was born in Kings Norton in Birmingham to Arthur and Emily Johnson (nee Walker) in December 1921.

Bryan Johnson at Warwickshire Yeomanry Museum

He lived in Leamington since the 1950s and joined the Army in 1941 as part of the Royal Armed Corps.

He then went on to serve in the 5th Royal Tank Regiment and took part in the landing on the Normandy beaches on D-Day.

During his service Mr Johnson was the commander of the first tank which went into the town of Bethune in France, which signified the start of the liberation.

After returning from the Second World War he joined the Warwickshire Yeomanry, which in 1956 became the Queen’s Own Warwickshire and Worcestershire Yeomanry.

Mr Johnson went on to help create the yeomanry museum in Warwick, which is housed in the basement of the Court House in Warwick. He ran the museum on his own as the curator for 30 years.

The war veteran was awarded the British Empire Medal in 1980 as part of the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List that year. For his bravery and service in the Army Mr Johnson was also presented with the Légion d’honneur medal from the French Government and over the years he was the principal guest at Bethune when the town celebrates their liberation.

Mr Johnson was the Remembrance Sunday parade marshal for 43 years but he decided to hand the baton of Parade Marshall on last year.

For his many years of faithful service to Warwick, Mr Johnson was made a posthumous Honorary Freeman of Warwick at the Annual Council Meeting, which took place on Wednesday.