JOHNSTON, Charles Goodwill
(Service number 21844)

Aliases Enlisted as Charles JOHNSTON
First Rank Rifleman Last Rank


Date 15 November 1889 Place of Birth Dunedin

Enlistment Information

Date Age
Address at Enlistment Arundel
Occupation Labourer
Previous Military Experience
Marital Status
Next of Kin R. Johnston (brother), Arundel, Rangitata, New Zealand
Religion Presbyterian
Medical Information

Military Service

Served with NZ Armed Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation New Zealand Rifle Brigade
Unit, Squadron, or Ship 7th Reinforcements 3rd Battalion, G Company
Date 21 August 1916
Transport Mokoia
Embarked From Wellington, New Zealand Destination Plymouth, England
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With

Military Awards

Service Medals
Military Awards

Award Circumstances and Date

No information

Prisoner of War Information

Date of Capture
Where Captured and by Whom
Actions Prior to Capture
PoW Serial Number
PoW Camps
Days Interned
Liberation Date


Date Reason

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

Post-war Occupations



Date 8 January 1944 Age 54 years
Place of Death
Memorial or Cemetery Timaru Cemetery
Memorial Reference General Section, Row 130, Plot 374
New Zealand Memorials

Biographical Notes

Charles Goodwill Johnston, who was born on 15 November 1889 at Dunedin, the second of the three sons of William Smith and Rebecca (née Waugh) Johnston, enlisted simply as Charles Johnston. By 1893 the family was living at Arundel. C. Johnston, 21844, returned to New Zealand per the “Arawa” (Draft No. 244), reaching Lyttelton about 12 May 1919.

Notes supplied by family historian Ken Johnston, 6 May 2014 (SCM L2014/007):

“Born 1890, the third son of William and Rebecca Johnston. In 1895 when he was five, his father died. He went to Arundel School in 1896. In 1899 when he was nine, his mother remarried, John Alexander Finlayson.

In 1906 when he was sixteen, his mother died, and she was buried, in Timaru cemetery.

He worked mainly as a farmer worker around the Arundel district. In 1916 aged twenty six he went to Timaru with three mates, to enlist in the army. One of the group was turned down because of heart problems. He owned Waikari Station in Rangitata Gorge. Charles served three years and forty one days in Western Europe as a Machine gunner, suffered head injuries, and was gassed. He was awarded the British War Medal, and the Victory Medal. He was discharged June 1919, aged twenty nine.

The owner of Waikari Station gave the whole property and stock to the three mates returning from war. Charles and another sold their shares to a mate called Allan. Then property remained in the Allan family for generations. Charles bought land in Arundel and farmed it for twenty five years. He played violin and piano in a band at functions in the district. Charles never married. He discovered the local store keeper Bill Gaby, had been murdered, by an escaped prisoner.

Charles died aged fifty four on the 8/1/1944, and was buried in Timaru cemetery. It was only recently discovered that Charles had no headstone. The Johnston family paid for a plaque, and this was unveiled, with many family attending.

Charles eldest brother Robert (Bob) died 1967 aged 82. The middle brother James (Jim) died 1940 aged 53. One of Jim’s sons, Charles Thomas Johnston was in the 27th Machine Gun Battalion in WW 11.”


Family history notes supplied by Ken Johnston (SC Museum L2014/007); Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [31 May 2020]; NZ BDM Indexes (Department of Internal Affairs) [01 June 2020]; New Zealand Times, 29 April 1919 (Papers Past) [26 May 2020]; Timaru Cemetery burial record (Timaru District Council) [02 June 2020]

External Links

Related Documents

No documents available.

Researched and Written by

Tony Rippin (South Canterbury Museum); Teresa Scott, SC branch NZSG

Currently Assigned to

Not assigned.

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