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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Treasure Chest Thursday – WWII Draft Card for “Tom Junior Johnston”

Not all records can be found online and this draft card for my grandfather, Tom J Johnston, is no exception. Tom was born in 1912 and was part of the group of men born between 1897 and 1927 who registered for the draft.[1] There were men born before 1897 who also registered for the draft and their cards can be found online at Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org. These cards are often referred to as the “Old Man’s Draft.”

So how did I get this card? I ordered the records from the National Archives in St. Louis. Information about how to order is here. There is a special form you fill out for the registrant you’re seeking and when the archives personnel find the record, you’ll receive a letter with an invoice to order the copies. The Registration Card is $7.00 and the Classification Record (including the Registration Card) is $27.[2]

Draft Card[3]
The date of the registration was October 16, 1940 at Stephenville, Texas. Most of the information on the card was typed except for Tom’s signature on the front and the registrar’s check marks and signature on the back. The information on the card was what I expected, except the Jr. that is usually at the end of his name was written out as “Junior” for his middle name. Tom’s father’s name was Thomas Newton Johnston. My grandfather has always written his name as Tom J Johnston, Jr.

At the time of the registration, he was living in Stephenville, Erath County, Texas and his address was Box 627. A telephone number was listed as 192. He was 28 years old and stated his birthdate as Oct. 7, 1912. This was the date we always celebrated his birthday. He said he was born in Gustine, Texas (which is in Comanche County). The person who would know his address was his wife, Mrs. Pansy Louise Johnston, who lived at the same address. At this time, he was working for himself, doing woodworking. He signed the card “Tom Johnston Jr.”

The description on the back of the card had check marks for white, brown eyes, blonde hair, and light complexion. He was 5 ft. 10 inches tall and weighed 182 pounds.

Registration Certificate from Tom Johnston's Wallet
Registration Certificate[4]
I have the contents of my grandfather’s wallet from when he died. One of the documents was a very worn card entitled “Registration Certificate.” This card was to certify that he had registered with the Selective Service and was to carry the card with him at all times. The information is the same as the card above and was likely filled out at the same time.


Classification Record[5]
This classification record came to me in several sections. This gives a history of the draft registration process for Tom. His serial number was 1738. The following dates were recorded:
  • date of volunteering for induction: 3-8-44,
  • date questionnaire mailed: 5-26-41,
  • date questionnaire returned: 5-28-41
  • classification III: A
  • date appeared for physical:
  • date classified: 5-24-41, 1-6-44, 1-23-44
  • date of order for induction: 3-9-44
  • time fixed for transp to induction sta: 3-24-44, 1:30 pm
  • final disposition at induction sta & date: acc, 3-25-44
  • remarks: medical survey: 7-11-44


The inserted page was the listings of classification with dates in the following columns:
  • Classification: IIIA, 1-A, 1-C, 1-C
  • col 32: 7-7-42
  • col 33: 7-11-42


U.S. Navy

Tom was inducted in the United States Navy and did leave for duty on 25 March 1944. He served the entire three and half months in Farragut, Idaho, where he received a medical discharge.[6] This discharge card was also in his wallet.

Discharge Card from Tom's wallet


[1] “Selective Service Records,” National Archives at St. Louis, https://www.archives.gov/st-louis/archival-programs/other-records/selective-service.html#wwii : accessed 16 April 2017)
[2] ibid
[3] World War II Draft Registration Records, Selective Service Records, National Personnel Records Center, St. Louis, Missouri, Ser. No. 1738, order no. 1870, Tom Junior Johnston, Erath Co, Texas.
[4] Selective Service Registration Card, 16 October 1940, privately held by Lisa Gorrell, [address for private use], Martinez, CA 94553. Draft Card. Passed on to me by Pansy Johnston, wife of Tom J Johnston
[5] World War II Draft Registration Records, Selective Service Records, National Personnel Records Center, St. Louis, Missouri, Classification Record, Erath Co TX, p. 59, order no. 1870, Tom Junior Johnston.
[6] "Certificate of Discharge,'" Tom Johnston Jr., U.S. Navy, National Personnel Records Center, 1 Archives Drive, St. Louis, Missouri.

Copyright © 2017 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, Mam-ma's Southern Family