For Posterity's Sake         

A Royal Canadian Navy Historical Project


In memory of those who have Crossed the Bar


Alfred Harry Beale Johnson, DSM, Petty Officer


Submarine Detector Instructor, C/JX.151297, RN


Born: 07 Nov 1920, Summerberry, Saskatchewan


Died: 22 Dec 2009, Stranraer, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland


JOHNSON, Alfred Harry Beale - an only child, was born on the 7th November 1920 in Summerberry, SK. His parents had emigrated from England in 1907. Unfortunately when he was 4 years old his mother died from cancer. Before he went to secondary school his father decided to move back to Norfolk - so they returned when he was 11 years old in 1931. In 1936, when he was sixteen, he joined the Royal Navy as a boy seaman. He continued to serve in the RN during WW2 and was on board HMS Eskimo when it was torpedoed in the 2nd battle of Narvik in Ofotfjord, Norway. He made three crossings to Dunkirk in 1940. After Dunkirk he went for training, first as an ASDIC operator (Submarine Detector), then an instructor. He was drafted to HMS Nimrod - a land base in Campbeltown on the west coast of Scotland as an ASDIC instructor till he was seconded to the Royal Canadian Navy (O.N. 61784) at the beginning of July 1941. He was a HSD on HMCS Chambly when, with HMCS Moose Jaw, they successfully sank U-501. He was awarded the DSM for his part in the operation. He was in Canada as part of the Anti-submarine team (HMCS Avalon) until July 1943 when he returned as an instructor to Campbeltown. He served in the RN until 1947 when he was invalided out (medically discharged). He was very proud to have served in Canada and to be part of the first Canadian crew to sink a submarine.


Ships served in:






Click on the photo s below to view larger images


photo 1

photo 2

photo 3

photo 4

(1) SD Johnson, 20 Apr 1941. Note: LS, 1st GC stripe and Marksman Badge  (2) Portrait of HSD Johnson, Nov 1941, Note: PO, HSD badge, 1st GC stripe (Square Rig PO)  (3) Supplement to the London Gazette, 3 March 1942 - Award of DSM to LS Alfred Harry Beale Johnson, HMCS CHAMBLY  (4) HSD Johnson, Nov 1941


photo 5

photo 6

photo 7

photo 8

(5) Family that Alfred Johnson stayed with in St John's, Newfoundland - the O'Neils  (6) Autographs from the survivors of U-501 that were rescued by HMCS Chambly  (7) Message on the awarding of the DSM to LS Johnson  (8) HMCS CHAMBLY match booklet


photo 9

photo 10

(9) Alfred Johnson's RCN ID card  (10) Excerpt from the book "The Battle of the Atlantic" by Donald MacIntyre to read the prelude to the action in which HSD Johnson won his DSM.



Photos (below) taken in St. John's, NFLD while Alfred Johnson was drafted to HMCS AVALON


photo 11

photo 12

photo 13

photo 14

photo 15

(11) A.H. Johnson (left) and W. Jelly  (12) A.H. Johnson  (13) St. John's, NFLD. Cabot Tower visible in up left of photo  (14) St. John's, NFLD  (15) W. George (left) and W. Jelly


photo 16

photo 17

photo 18

photo 19

photo 20

(16) unknown sailors on dock in St. John's, NFLD - sailor on right wearing a RCNVR cap tally  (17) W. George  (18) W. Jelly (left) and A.H. Johnson  (19) W. Jelly  (21) Authorization card for HSD Johnson to have access to the A/S facilities at St. John's as necessary to repair / replace equipment.  (20) unknown sailors on dock in St. John's, NFLD


photo 20

(21 ) Authorization card for HSD Johnson to have access to the A/S facilities at St. John's as necessary to repair / replace equipment.


Alfred and Elizabeth (McMaster) Johnston in Campbeltown when Alfred returned after two years in Canada.  Alfred married Elizabeth McMaster from Campbeltown whom he met while teaching ASDICs there. They married on Friday 13th June 1941 by special licence one hour before he boarded the ship to Canada. They had four children and enjoyed over 55 years of married life together.



Crossed the Bar Index