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Aaron Johnson


Aaron Bernard Johnson

Johnson, Aaron Bernard. b. December (November) 18, 1912, Greenville, Mississippi; African American; Attended college for 2 years; Single; Mechanic and Mechanical dentistry; CP 1933 county committee; received passport# 26291 San Francisco series on April 6, 1937 which listed his address as 3843 Adair Street, Los Angeles, California (1133 E. 51st Street, Los Angeles, California); Sailed April 28, 1937 aboard the President Harding; Arrived in Spain on June 30, 1937; Served with the XV BDE, MacKenzie-Papineau BN, MG Co., WIA Fuentes de Ebro;  Deserted from a hospital to the front during the Retreats; Returned to the US on July 20, 1938 aboard the Champlain; d. 1940, Los Angeles, California.

Source: Sail, SACB, Cadre, XV BDE, Mac-Paps, RA, Ancestry; (obituary note) The Volunteer, Volume 4, No. 2, April 1942.

Photograph: Aaron Johnson from a photograph of returning volunteers aboard the Champlain, July 20, 1938, VALB/ALBA. 



Aaron Bernard Johnson was born in Greenville, Mississippi, on December 18, 1912. He lived in Los Angeles where he attended college and later worked in mechanical dentistry. Johnson joined the Communist Party in 1933. Johnson left for Europe, aboard the President Harding, on April 28, 1937. In Spain Johnson trained and served with the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion in a machine gun company. Wounded in action Johnson quickly recovered and was sent to officers' school in January 1938. After he contracted tuberculosis he had to be hospitalized again. During the Retreats as the Republican Army's lines collapsed Johnson volunteered to return to the front and served during the second stage of the Retreats and was among the volunteers who made it back across the Ebro River. Johnson was repatriated along with twenty-six other wounded American volunteers during the summer of 1938. The group sailed on the Champlain and docked in New York on July 20, 1938. Johnson and others spent months at a resort in the Catskills Mountains where they underwent treatment. The Friends of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade paid the bills. After a short stay in New York, Johnson returned to California. He found a job with United Electric working in an aircraft plant. Johnson also taught courses at the local CP Workers School. He was active in the Los Angeles post of the VALB. In 1940, Johnson was elected national Adjutant Commander of VALB. A relapse of tuberculosis prevented him from undertaking the associated duties. He died in 1940 in the home of his friend and fellow veteran, Frank Alexander. Veterans from the Los Angeles VALB Post buried Johnson with military honors. ~ Chris Brooks


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Aaron Johnson and other volunteers returning aboard the Champlain, July 1938.

Full Database Record

Last Name Johnson
First/Middle Name Aaron
Ethnicity Note
Immigration Status
AKA Last Name 1
AKA First / Middle 1
AKA Last Name 2
AKA First / Middle 2
Foreign Nation
Foreign Nation City
Alt Pob State, City
Family: Name
Family: Relationship
Family: Begin Date
Family: End Date
Family: Comments
Education HS
Education College / Univ 1
Education College/Univ Notes
Education College/Univ 2
Graduate or Doctoral Work
Graduate or Doctoral Work Notes
Prior Military Service
Passport #
Passport Series
Passport Reported Lost in Spain
Passport Age
Passport Date
PP or Known Address Street
PP or Known Address City
PP or Known Address State
ALT City
Alt State
Sail Date
Marital Status
Marital Notes
Vocation 1
Vocation 2
Vocation 3
Party Affiliation
Date Affiliation
ALT Affiliation
ALT date
ALT affiliation 2
Arrival (in Spain) Date
Units served with
Battle action
Returned Date
Returned other
WWII Service
Place Died City
KIA/MIA/Died other
KIA/MIA/Died other Date
KIA/MIA/Died other Location
KIA/MIA/Died other Battle
Additional Notes