Clarence Johnston

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Clarence Johnston
Birth name Clarence Howard-Johnston
Nickname(s) "Johnny"
Born 1906
Died 1996
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  Royal Navy
Years of service 1917–?
Rank Rear Admiral
Commands held

Rear Admiral Clarence "Johnny" Howard-Johnston DSO, DSC (1903–1996) was a British admiral who specialised in anti-submarine warfare during the inter-war years.

Johnston was known as 'Johnny', as he disliked the name Clarence. He entered the Royal Navy in 1917, and rose to Lieutenant in 1925, when he served on HMS Tarantula on the Yangtze river. By 1931, he had decided to specialise in anti-submarine warfare, and served in destroyers and the anti-submarine training centre at HMS Osprey. It was here that he invented the Towed Asdic Repeater Target. By 1937 he had become a commander - his first command was HMS Viscount. After Viscount he spent some time on secondment to the Royal Hellenic Navy, where he was decorated by the Greeks.[1]

By the outbreak of the Second World War, he was back at the Admiralty - but in 1940, was taken to organise anti-submarine operations in Norway. He received a DSC here, although not for anti-submarine duties: instead, for the evacuations at Andalsnes and Molde. A month later, he was ordered to demolish the port facilities at St Malo, and received a Mention in Dispatches for this work.[1]

He was then transferred to command HMS Malcom on the north Atlantic convoys, for which he received another Mention in Dispatches - and then the DSO, for the sinking of U-651. He was then transferred to Liverpool, to train others, before being promoted to Captain in 1943, and had been made Director of the Anti-Submarine Division at the Admiralty.[1]

In 1945, he was given command of HMS Bermuda, and later, HMS Vernon. At Vernon, he had to organise the unsuccessful search for HMS Affray, on which his son was serving.[1]

In 1953, he was promoted to Rear-Admiral, and served on NATO staff before finally retiring.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e Wilson, Alastair; Callo, Joseph F. (2004). Who's Who in Naval History (1. publ. ed.). London: Routledge. pp. 166–7. ISBN 978-0-415-30828-1.