Friends gathered for Warwickshire war hero’s moving funeral

Bryan Johnson at Warwickshire Yeomanry Museum
Bryan Johnson at Warwickshire Yeomanry Museum

A 95-year-old Warwickshire war hero who was described by many as a “true gentleman” was laid to rest last week.

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

The funeral of a Bryan Johnson a  95-year-old decorated war veteran who kept Warwick marching on Remembrance Sunday for 43 years held at St Mary Magdalene's Church Lillington, Warwickshire. See NTI copy NTIHERO: More than 100 people attended the funeral of a World War Two hero after an appeal by his army friends to give hit a fitting send-off captured people's hearts. Bryan Johnson, 95, died on March 14, but pals feared that, as he had no living relatives, just a handful of people would turn out to pay their respects. Bryan, of Leamington, joined the Army in 1941 as part of the Royal Armed Corps, and went on serve in the 5th Royal Tank Regiment.  NNL-170529-102906005

The funeral of a Bryan Johnson a 95-year-old decorated war veteran who kept Warwick marching on Remembrance Sunday for 43 years held at St Mary Magdalene's Church Lillington, Warwickshire. See NTI copy NTIHERO: More than 100 people attended the funeral of a World War Two hero after an appeal by his army friends to give hit a fitting send-off captured people's hearts. Bryan Johnson, 95, died on March 14, but pals feared that, as he had no living relatives, just a handful of people would turn out to pay their respects. Bryan, of Leamington, joined the Army in 1941 as part of the Royal Armed Corps, and went on serve in the 5th Royal Tank Regiment.  NNL-170529-102906005

Mr Johnson’s funeral took place at St Mary Magdalene’s Church in Lillington last Friday (May 26).

The funeral was organised by the Bereavement Services of SWH Trust through John Taylor Funeral Services, with friends closely associated with the Warwickshire Yeomanry Museum and the Queen’s Own Warwickshire and Worcestershire Yeomanry Comrades Association (QOWWY) after no family could be found.

Many of those who knew Bryan attended the service, which included a moving eulogy from Yeomanry Museum Trustee Philip Wilson.

A leaving collection was made at the end of the service, which will go towards a headstone for Mr Johnson’s grave.

The funeral of a Bryan Johnson a  95-year-old decorated war veteran who kept Warwick marching on Remembrance Sunday for 43 years held at St Mary Magdalene's Church Lillington, Warwickshire. See NTI copy NTIHERO: More than 100 people attended the funeral of a World War Two hero after an appeal by his army friends to give hit a fitting send-off captured people's hearts. Bryan Johnson, 95, died on March 14, but pals feared that, as he had no living relatives, just a handful of people would turn out to pay their respects.NNL-170529-102917005

The funeral of a Bryan Johnson a 95-year-old decorated war veteran who kept Warwick marching on Remembrance Sunday for 43 years held at St Mary Magdalene's Church Lillington, Warwickshire. See NTI copy NTIHERO: More than 100 people attended the funeral of a World War Two hero after an appeal by his army friends to give hit a fitting send-off captured people's hearts. Bryan Johnson, 95, died on March 14, but pals feared that, as he had no living relatives, just a handful of people would turn out to pay their respects.NNL-170529-102917005

Philip Wilson said: “Bryan never considered himself to be a war hero. Like others of his generation he was reserved and rarely talked about his wartime experiences.

“Yet his contribution as evidenced by his citation for the BEM in 1980 was ‘outstanding, bequeathing an example of devoted service which can scarcely be bettered by any member of the Territorial Army.’ That personal example of devoted service continued right up until the day he passed away.

“Lorna his second cousin, who lives on the Isle of Skye, was unable to attend and has said ‘How lovely to know how well thought of Bryan was and that he had such good friends.’

“In his passing we have lost a good friend but his legacy is the copious military research undertaken by him these past forty years which the Warwickshire Yeomanry Museum will put to good use.

The funeral of a Bryan Johnson a  95-year-old decorated war veteran who kept Warwick marching on Remembrance Sunday for 43 years held at St Mary Magdalene's Church Lillington, Warwickshire. See NTI copy NTIHERO: More than 100 people attended the funeral of a World War Two hero after an appeal by his army friends to give hit a fitting send-off captured people's hearts. Bryan Johnson, 95, died on March 14, but pals feared that, as he had no living relatives, just a handful of people would turn out to pay their respects. Bryan, of Leamington, joined the Army in 1941 as part of the Royal Armed Corps, and went on serve in the 5th Royal Tank Regiment.  NNL-170529-102939005

The funeral of a Bryan Johnson a 95-year-old decorated war veteran who kept Warwick marching on Remembrance Sunday for 43 years held at St Mary Magdalene's Church Lillington, Warwickshire. See NTI copy NTIHERO: More than 100 people attended the funeral of a World War Two hero after an appeal by his army friends to give hit a fitting send-off captured people's hearts. Bryan Johnson, 95, died on March 14, but pals feared that, as he had no living relatives, just a handful of people would turn out to pay their respects. Bryan, of Leamington, joined the Army in 1941 as part of the Royal Armed Corps, and went on serve in the 5th Royal Tank Regiment.  NNL-170529-102939005

“Our thanks are extended to all who attended his funeral including those unable to do so who have since sent their condolences.”

Bryan lived in Leamington since the 1950s and joined the Army in 1941 as part of the Royal Armed Corps. He went on to serve in the 5th Royal Tank Regiment and took part in the landing on the Normandy beaches on D-Day.

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 he also ran on his own as the curator for 30 years.

Mr Johnson was awarded the British Empire Medal in 1980 as part of the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List that year. Mr Johnson was also presented with the Légion d’honneur medal from the French Government. The war hero was also the Remembrance Sunday parade marshal in Warwick for 43 years.

The funeral of a Bryan Johnson a  95-year-old decorated war veteran who kept Warwick marching on Remembrance Sunday for 43 years held at St Mary Magdalene's Church Lillington, Warwickshire. See NTI copy NTIHERO: More than 100 people attended the funeral of a World War Two hero after an appeal by his army friends to give hit a fitting send-off captured people's hearts. Bryan Johnson, 95, died on March 14, but pals feared that, as he had no living relatives, just a handful of people would turn out to pay their respects. Bryan, of Leamington, joined the Army in 1941 as part of the Royal Armed Corps, and went on serve in the 5th Royal Tank Regiment.  NNL-170529-102844005

The funeral of a Bryan Johnson a 95-year-old decorated war veteran who kept Warwick marching on Remembrance Sunday for 43 years held at St Mary Magdalene's Church Lillington, Warwickshire. See NTI copy NTIHERO: More than 100 people attended the funeral of a World War Two hero after an appeal by his army friends to give hit a fitting send-off captured people's hearts. Bryan Johnson, 95, died on March 14, but pals feared that, as he had no living relatives, just a handful of people would turn out to pay their respects. Bryan, of Leamington, joined the Army in 1941 as part of the Royal Armed Corps, and went on serve in the 5th Royal Tank Regiment.  NNL-170529-102844005

Last week, for his many years of faithful service to Warwick, Mr Johnson was made a posthumous Honorary Freeman of Warwick.