As part of the Richmond At Home and At War exhibition, the Royal Star & Garter Home loaned the Museum of Richmond material from their archives.
One of the items was a patient card for Earnest Laurence Johnson. These cards were written for every soldier at the home.
One of the fantastic Museum of Richmond volunteer researchers patiently uncovered Ernest’s story:
The 1911 census lists Ernest living on Townsend Terrace Richmond with his father Ernest Robert Johnson, a builder and decorator, his mother Margaret Johnson, and eight brothers and sisters.
Ernest was born in 1896. Aged 16 on the 1911 census, he is identified as a student. In October 1914, he was one of the eager young men who volunteered on the steps of the Town Hall in Richmond. He joined the 9th East Surrey Regiment and had achieved the rank of Corporal when he was wounded at Messines Ridge, Flanders, on 29 June 1916.
As was the practice with severely wounded soldiers, Ernest was discharged from the army on 9 April 1917, with a pension of 30 shillings. He was then readmitted (on 3 May 1917) to military hospital, with a slight paraplegia caused by his wounds. He left the Northumberland War Hospital on 11 October 1917 and was admitted to the Star & Garter Home in Richmond. The home had been established in 1915 to care for severely disabled men returning from the war.
Ernest’s story is featured in one of the Museum of Richmond school resources, which can be downloaded free here.