DIVISIONAL UNIT: 3rd Canadian Infantry Division
9th Infantry Brigade
58th Battalion - Central Ontario
Scouts Section Headquarters Company
Canadian Infantry Corps
SERVICE NO: 654744
RESIDENCE: Elimville – Ontario
DATE OF BIRTH: December 9, 1893
Elimville – Usborne Township – County of Huron – Ontario.
DATE OF DEATH: September 12, 1917 23 years 9 months
CEMETERY: Beehive Cemetery – Willerval –
Pas de Calais – France
PARENTS: Mr. Henry and Ida Johns – Exeter – Ontario.
Occupation: Farmer. Religion: Methodist.
Enlistment: Exeter – April 11, 1916.
Enlistment Age: 22 years 4 months.
Private Johns arrived in England on November 11, 1916. On November 30, 1916, Private Johns was Struck off Strength of the 161st Battalion at Dibgate - Kent and transferred to the 58th Battalion. He then went overseas in France on December 1st and joined the 58th Battalion in the field on Christmas Eve of 1916.
Private Johns was originally assigned to “A” Company but sometime about Late August or early September he transferred to the Scouts Section which was a sniping unit. He mentioned he liked the fact there was less night work parties or post duties. He mentions in a letter home he gets up before sunrise, find a location where he can observe the enemy front lines, find a hiding place where you are not seen and wait for an enemy soldier to expose himself.
Private Johns was serving with the 58th Battalion near Mericourt in France. He was in the trenches and was struck by an enemy shell and he died instantly.
A letter written to his family by his comrades with the 58th said that Laurence was always cheerful and had kind words for everyone and because of that had made friends in a world that must have been hell.
The Battalion war diaries state the wind on this day was from the north-west at 10 mph. The weather was cloudy with some rain during the day. Enemy gas was projected later the night of the 12th on the right flank. A Gas Alert was on.
Brigade information tells us that during the night of September 11th/12th the 58th Battalion arrived at the fron
lines and relieved the 43rd Battalion.
The 58th Battalion moved one Company to New Brunswick Trench and it was strongly impressed upon these men that there was to be no movement except in the trenches.
Canadian artillery fired intermittently during day but about noon on the 12th German artillery began falling
on New Brunswick Trench. Enemy light / heavy trench mortar activity was heavy on centre and right
Canadian machine gun activity was active both day and night and enemy machine gun fire was active at night. There was normal to very considerable enemy troop movements seen on the September 12th. The enemy blew their horn at 6:45 am on September 12th and again at 5:00 pm in the afternoon but there was no enemy activity following this.
On Sunday November 11, 1917, there was a large memorial service back in Canada for Private Laurence Earl Johns in the Elimville Church and was attended by his family and his many friends.