A Prairie Boy Serves His Country Well
Captain(N) The Honourable George Johnson, M.D. was born and then educated in Winnipeg, Manitoba, initially attending Daniel McIntyre Collegiate and United College.
On 20 June, 1941, a young George Johnson joined the Royal Canadian Navy Volunteer Reserve at the Winnipeg Division Ellice Avenue Barracks. He was posted to H.M.C.S. ROYAL ROADS, in Esquimalt, BC, for initial officer training, and graduated in December 1941, a member of only the second class to graduate from Royal Roads.
As an Acting Sub-lieutenant he took up his first assignment, onboard HMCS MEDICINE HAT, a minesweeper on escort duty in the North Atlantic and western approaches.
In May 1942 he was promoted to lieutenant and in November 1943 he was posted ashore, to HMCS KINGS (Kings College, Halifax, N.S.), where he completed an extensive three month navigation course. He was then assigned as Navigation Officer to the corvette HMCS KITCHENER. After completing work-ups off Bermuda, the KITCHENER proceeded to Great Britain, where Lieutenant Johnson had been posted.
In May of 1944 he joined HMCS LOCH ACHANALT, a new frigate, and he served her as Navigation Officer until she was paid off, in June 1945. Lieutenant Johnson was honourably discharged in October 1945.
After the war, George returned to school to complete his education and to set up a family medical practice in the community of Gimli, Manitoba. Later, he entered public life as a member of the Manitoba Legislature. On 12 December 1986, he was installed as Manitoba’s twentieth Lieutenant Governor, the first Manitoban of Icelandic origin to serve in the position. He was also made an Officer of the Order of Canada.
In 1988, Captain Johnson was appointed as the Honorary Captain of CHIPPAWA. He proudly served in this capacity until he passed away, at his cottage in Gimli, on the 8th of July 1995.