Clinton Johnston


William Robinson Clarke

‘After settling in London, family man returned to Jamaica’

1925 - 1978

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Conflict with his father and the fact that he had a brother already living in London, were Clinton Johnston’s two main incentives to come to England on the Empire Windrush.

He had already had a taste of life abroad when in September 1944 he left Jamaica along with hundreds of other young men to work as a labourer in the USA for 12 months. After returning home, Clinton had his first child, Chaplain ‘Chappy’ Romeo, with Mavis Hanson in November 1946.

Clinton Vernon Johnston was born on November 20, 1925 in Santa Cruz, St Elizabeth. He was the son of Frank Johnston and Edith Maud Schloss, née Logan, who had three other children together, Kenneth, Woodrow and Pearl. Frank had done well for himself, going from mercantile clerk to the superintendent of Jamaica’s Public Works Department, but Clinton never got on with him.

In his early days in London Clinton found a job as a driver and shared accommodation in Notting Hill with his brother Kenneth, who had served with the RAF during the Second World War. He met a young Englishwoman, Joan Baxter, at a dance at the Paramount in Tottenham Court Road, a popular hangout for West Indians. Born in Chatham, Kent into a naval family on April 4, 1933, Joan worked as a shorthand typist and lived in Holland Park at the time.


The two fell in love and were eager to wed. Joan’s previous boyfriend was in the Coldstream Guards and her mother strongly disapproved of her daughter exchanging him for a West Indian, so much so that she would not give permission for Joan to marry.

Joan was only 18 and in those days this meant marriage could only take place with the permission of a parent. Her father, Sidney, had died in the war. In the event, Joan and Clinton had to apply to the courts to secure the go -ahead and the couple finally walked down the aisle in November 1951. Their son, Lloyd, was born in 1954, followed by a daughter Deyon and another son, Errol.

Clinton’s father died in February 1966. Clinton had vowed never to return to Jamaica while his father was still alive but then he was free to do so. It took a while to save the fare but in October 1970 the family left for Jamaica by boat.

They lived in Santa Cruz where Clinton’s mother had resided. Clinton worked first as a pig farmer and then ran a little bar called ‘Andy At The Oval’ – Andy being Andy Capp, the Daily Mirror cartoon character. The family later moved to Montego Bay. Clinton died in Cross Roads, Kingston, on March 21, 1978, and Joan in London in May 2019.

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