Johnston, Roy L. (607th)

Roy L. Johnston 1Roy L. Johnston

Biography:  Roy Leonard Johnston was born on June 19, 1914, in Leadville, Lake County, Colorado. He was one of two sons and a daughter born to Robert O. Johnston and Elizabeth Mullen. The 1930 Census shows the family was living in Englewood, Arapahoe, CO. Sometime prior to 1934, the family moved to Bozeman, Gallatin, Montana.

Roy graduated from Gallatin County High School and in 1934, he was attending Montana State College. His draft card, dated October, 1940, indicates he was working for Don M. Langohr, a local florist.

Service Time:  Roy entered the Army on March 17, 1942 at Fort Lewis, Washington. He was assigned to and joined Company B of the 607th Tank Destroyer Battalion stationed at Fort Ord, California. At some point, he was transferred to Headquarters Company and eventually became a member of the Personnel Section. He trained with the unit at several locations including; Camp San Luis Obispo, Hunter Liggett Military Reservation and the Desert Training Center, all in California, along with Camp Hood, Texas and Camp Cooke, CA. While they originally trained with M10 self-propelled tank destroyers, the unit was converted to a towed battalion, utilizing the M5 3” anti-tank gun, on December 15, 1943.

Arriving at Liverpool, England, on April 21, 1944, they continued training. Company B landed at Utah Beach, Normandy, France on June 24th and the 607th supported the advance on Cherbourg, fighting along the Seves River in July. They joined the drive to Le Mans and envelopment of the Falaise Pocket in August, advancing to the Moselle River in September and supporting operations against Metz through late November. The unit converted to a self-propelled battalion equipped with M36 tank destroyers in time for the final assault on Metz.

Joining the drive toward the Saar River, they supported the capture of Saarlautern, Germany, and the subsequent fight against the Siegfried Line in December. The unit was deployed to the Ardennes sector in January, 1945 and again committed against the Siegfried Line in February in the Schnee Eifel. Supporting the capture of Koblenz, Germany in mid-March, they crossed the Rhine River at Boppard on March 25. The 607th continued to drive east through Hessen and Thüringen during April and reached the Czechoslovak border near Plauen by mid-April. Thereafter, they remained in defensive positions until VE Day.

Roy L. Johnston 2Roy returned home with the 607th, aboard the SS George Washington, and was discharged on October 31, 1945. He earned the Good Conduct, American Theater Service and World War II Victory medals along with the EAME medal and credit for the campaigns of Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace and Central Europe. He left the Army at the rank of Corporal.

Now home in Bozeman, Roy went back to his job at Langohr Florist. On July 31, 1946, he married the former Cecelia Katherine Hartman who was born in Helena, MT. She was the daughter of Peter John Hartman and Libby Mary Doerr and was working in the Gallatin County Agent’s office. The couple had two daughters.

Roy passed away on March 20, 1995, and was buried in the Sunset Hills Cemetery, Bozeman, MT. Thank you to Find a Grave contributor Jim Harrison for use of the grave marker photo.

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