Private Robert McMillan Johnstone was a 27 year old chef from Fernleigh, Alfred Street, Granville. He was born in Glasgow, Scotland. His next of kin was Nellie Davidson, also of Alfred Street, Granville. He enlisted on 14 June 1915 and was assigned to the 1 Infantry Battalion, 1 to 8 Reinforcements. He embarked with his unit aboard the HMAT Orsova A67 from Sydney on 14 July 1915. He was wounded in action whilst on command of 1 Australian Light Horse Battalion on 4 January 1916. On 24 June 1916 he was charged with two crimes, both taking place on 11 June 1916. He was charged with taking a bottle of wine whilst employed in the Officers Mess and charged with being drunk. He was sent to detention and struck off strength as a result. He re-joined his battalion in France on 29 July 1916. He was posted in command of the 1 Australian Light Trench Mortar Battery on 29 August 1916. He was admitted to hospital wounded in action with shell shock whilst still in command of the 1 Australian Light Trench Mortar Battery on 4 November 1916. Between 13 April 1917 and 5 June 1917 he was in an out of hospital on numerous occasions with abscesses and septic sores. On 30 June 1917 he was charged and found guilty of being absent from his post without leave for five days from 9am 17 June 1917 to 9:30pm 21 June 1917.
He was killed in action in Belgium on 2 October 1917. He is buried in Hooge Crater Cemetery, Passchendaele, Flanders, Belgium. His name is displayed in the commemorative area of the Australian War Memorial. Upon his death his belongings were bequeathed to his friend Mrs Emily (Bert) Martin of Fernleigh, Alfred Street, Granville.
Kimberley Russell, Volunteer Research Assistant, City of Parramatta, Parramatta Heritage Centre, 2017