Born: 1863, Tannington, Suffolk.

Died: 11th August 1900; age: 37; Died of Enteric Fever – duration 9 days, at the Imperial Yeomanry Hospital, Deelfontein, Richmond, Northern Cape, South Africa.

ENTERIC FEVER   Enteric Fever (eneterica serotype bacteria) was a rampant bacterial infection during the South Africa Boer War – 1899 – 1902.

This systemic disease, now known as Typhoid Fever, from the bacterium Salmonella typhi, is characterised by fever and abdominal pain. The disease is spread via the lymphatic system and can affect other parts of the body, or even the whole body. The symptoms usually developed a week or two after a person had became infected bringing on a high temperature, headaches, coughs, lethargy, aches and pains, lose of appetite, sickness and diarrhoea. After 2 – 3 weeks intestinal bleeding.

Enteric Fever was originally thought to be spread via dust storms and flies.

Human carriers with acute illness can contaminate the surrounding water supply through their faeces, which contains a high concentration of the bacteria. The polluted water supply can, in turn, taint the food supply. Enteric (Typhoid) Fever is then contracted by drinking, or eating the contaminated food or water. This bacteria can survive for weeks in water or dried sewage.

In 1897, an effective vaccine was developed by Almroth Wright and William Leisman, at the Army Medical School, Netley. At the time of the Boer War, the new inoculation had many side effects, and soldiers refused the voluntary immunisation. The inoculation was still voluntary in August 1914, when Great Britain entered the First World War. 

Residence: Tannington, Suffolk.

Occupation: Agricultural Labourer – in the employ of Mr. Jeptha Capon, a farmer of Red House, Dennington, Suffolk.


Framlingham Weekly News – Saturday, 10th February 1900 – TANNINGTON – “TO HAMMER PAUL.”On the 1st February 1900, Private W. Johnson (reserve) of this parish, was called up to rejoin his regiment, the 12th Suffolks (H COMPANY) now in South Africa. Before taking his departure he was presented with some tobacco and money from his master, Mr. Jeptha Capon, and neighbouring friends, who all wished him – Good luck and a safe return.


Rank: Private; Service Number: 795.

Regiment: Suffolk Regiment, 1st Battalion, South Africa Field Force.


Medal & Clasps Awarded: India Campaign 1888 – 1890 + Cape Colony & Orange Free State.


Grave Reference:

Deelfontein Cemetery,


Northern Cape,

South Africa.




1871   Tannington, Suffolk.


William was 7 years old and living with his parents & siblings.

Robert Johnson, 44, an Agricultural Labourer, born Tannington.

Emily Johnson (nee List), 39, born Bedfield, Suffolk.

Robert Johnson, 20, an Agricutural Labourer, born Bedfield.

Emily Priscilla Johnson, 15, born Tannington.

Charles Johnson, 10, born Tannington.

Priscilla Johnson, 9, born Tannington.

Eliza Johnson, 5, born Tannington.

George Johnson, 3, born Tannington.

John Johnson, 1, born Tannington.


1881   Tannington, Suffolk.


William was 17 years old, an Agricultural Labourer. He was living with his parents, siblings & widowed, maternal grandfather.

Robert, 54, an Agricultural Labourer.

Emily, 49.

George, 13, an Agricultural Labourer.

John, 11.

Maria Johnson, 9, born Tannington.

Thomas List, 79, a Mole Catcher, born Tannington.


In 1894, in the district of Hoxne, Suffolk, William married Elizabeth Mabel Smith, born 1873, Brundish, Suffolk – daughter of John Smith, an agricultural labourer and Susannah Smith (nee Bloomfield), of Dash Lane, Brundish, Suffolk.

They had 3 children, and William became father to Elizabeth’s son:

John Collett Smith, born 1890, Brundish.

Reginald George Johnson, born May 1896, Tannington.

Harry Jubilee Johnson, 1897, Tannington.

Wilfred Charles Johnson, born 1898, Tannington.


William & Elizabeth’s son lost his life during the First World War, Harry Jubilee Johnson was KiA on the 16th December 1916, at Mesopotamia, aged 19. He was ranked a Lance Corporal, service number 37577, for the Machine Gun Corps, 135th Coy. Formerly 2321 of the Suffolk Regiment. Harry was laid to rest at Amara War Cemetery, Iraq.


One of the notable Battles with a large loss of Suffolk life was the “Battle of Suffolk hill” at Colesberg, Northern Cape 5th- 6th January 1900. The hill was originally called Red or Grassy Hill. The Suffolk regiment was ordered to make a night attack on a Boer position on the heights, four companies, 354 of all ranks, set out at midnight under the command of Col. Watson. The Suffolks were met by a storm of bullets. The Colonel was amongst the first to fall, and the party later retired with 11 officers and 150+ men killed, wounded or captured.

The Boer War.

Suffolk Regiment 

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