Johnson family of Carlton Scroop

Harriet Johnson was born in Ewerby in about 1848, a daughter of Thomas Johnson (agricultural labourer, born Honington) and Sarah (born Waddington).  In 1861 the family were living Honington.  Thomas and Sarah were living on Honington Heath in 1871 and Carlton Scroop in 1881. By 1891 Sarah must have died, but Thomas was still in Carlton Scroop (age 76).

Harriet had an (illegitimate?) son, Robert Henry Johnson, in Carlton Scroop in 1867.  In 1869 (Jun Qtr) she married Thomas Chantry (mason’s labourer, born Grantham).  On the 1871 census the 3 of them were living in William Street, Spittalgate, Grantham and Sarah Johnson (age 5, born Grantham) was listed as a visitor.

In 1884 Robert enlisted with the 3rd Dragoon Guards (number 2373) as Robert Johnson.  At the time he was living at 3 Springfield Terrace, Ilkeston, Derbyshire and had been away from his parents’ home  for 3 years.  He was working as a labourer and listed his next of kin as his grandfather Thomas Johnson.  He had previously served in the militia in 4th Bttn, Lincolnshire Regiment but had been rejected by the Marines due to bad teeth.  On joining the Dragoons in June 1884 he was described as looking at least 19 (he was 18), 5ft 7”, 133lb, with a 34.5” chest, fresh complexion, blue grey eyes and brown hair.  He was Church of England and had a dark scar on left shoulder and a brown spot on his right iris.

However, he only served 39 days with the Dragoons before deserting on 21 Jul 1884.  Eight days later he signed up for the Army again, this time at Stamford for the Cameron Highlanders, calling himself Robert Chantry, a collier aged 19.  The paperwork was signed at Grantham the next day, then at Lincoln on 1 Aug.  On 5 Aug he joined 3/4 Cameron Highlanders at Fort George, near Inverness.  In November 1884 his unit moved to Egypt where it stayed until1887.  Pte Chantry/Johnson took part in the Nile Expedition 1884-85 and operations on the Upper Nile 1884-86; however in Dec 1885 he confessed to fraudulent enlistment, stating that his true name was Robert Henry Johnson as per his birth certificate.  He was tried in Jun 1886 and jailed for 8 weeks.  However, he continued to serve another 3 years before buying himself out of the Army in Nov 1891.

Robert H Johnson died in the Nottingham area in 1941, aged 74.