Regimental Number: 7793
Branch: 7th Canadian Mounted Rifles; Reserve Brigade, Canadian Field Artillery; 1st Battalion, Canadian Garrison Regiment
According to the Canadian War Museum, some 619,636 Canadians enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Forces, approximately 424,000 of whom served overseas. With such high numbers, one would expect that there were often soldiers with the same, or at least similar, names and initials. Sometimes these similarities resulted in cases of mistaken identities, which was never more distressing than when an incorrect name appeared on the casualty lists. Such was the case with Hedley Johnson.
Hedley was born in Brantford, Ontario on November 30, 1887. He came to Grande Prairie in October of 1910 and filed on a homestead at NE 34-71-5-W6. Hedley enlisted in February of 1915. On June 24, 1915, he married Carmelia “Carrie” Macklin in England. Hedley served only in England and Canada because of his flat feet and bouts of rheumatic fever. In June of 1915, there was some confusion as an H. Johnson was reported to have been killed in action. It turned out to be a H. Hugh Johnston (possibly referring to Norman Johnston, who is also listed on our memorial), and corrections were printed in the Grande Prairie Herald a week later. Hedley and Carrie arrived back to the homestead in February 1919, where they continued to live until they moved into Grande Prairie in 1928. In 1946, they moved to Rocky Mountain House. Hedley died in Edmonton on February 23, 1973.
Sources: Smoky River to Grande Prairie p. 215; Pioneers of the Peace p. 178-179; Grande Prairie Capitol of the Peace p. 70