Personal info

  • Name: Barry JOHNSON
  • D.O.B: 25th Jan, 1952
  • D.O.A: 7th Oct, 1989
  • Award: George Cross
  • Occupation at time of action: Royal Army Ordinance Corps
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Sources & Acknowledgements


 WO1 B. Johnson R.A.O.C. serving as an E.O.D. operator in N. Ireland completed 25 E.O.D. tasks, including the safe neutralization of 9 live devices. The most significant incident occurred (on 7 October 1989) when W.O.1 Johnson was tasked to a vehicle which, it was suspected, contained mortars designed to be fired at a nearby Security Forces base. The vehicle had been abandoned in the middle of a housing estate and was beside a hospital. WO1 Johnson immediately realized that civilian lives would be put at risk if any of the mortar bombs were inadvertently launched during his disposal action. The normal procedure would have been to deal with the mortars by using a remotely controlled vehicle to disrupt the device. He decided that this posed too great a risk to civilian lives and that he would have to remove the bombs from their firing tubes and dismantle them by hand.

With the help of his assistant, the firing tubes were carefully moved from the back of the vehicle and placed on the ground. As the next stage was extremely hazardous, due to the delicate nature of the bombs, WO1 sent his assistant back behind cover and continued the render-safe procedure alone. He placed the firing tubes so that if they fired or exploded, the patients in the hospital would not have been in danger. In the dark, and in a bitterly cold drizzle, which made the handling of metal objects more hazardous, he proceeded to remove the bombs, dismantling each in turn. While he was dismantling the last bomb, there was an explosion, causing him very serious injury to his face, eyes and legs. Completely blinded by high velocity fragments, he was thrown across the road by the force of the blast, suffering multiple injuries to his legs. Such was his courage and determination to ensure that the task was completed safely that, although in great pain, he refused to be evacuated until he had carefully briefed his assistant on the precise details of the device so that the operation could be safely completed by a replacement operator.

George Cross citation, published in The London Gazette, 5th November 1990

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