Born in Grenada in 1979, Johnson was one of eight children – living in a two-bedroom hut and walking three miles barefoot to school. Aged 20, he’d scraped together the airfare for England and moved to West London to escape poverty and make a better life for himself but soon found himself involved in gang related crime. Deciding he needed to turn his life around, in 2001 he enrolled in the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment and trained as a Warrior Infantry Fighting Vehicle driver. He served six months in Kosovo, three months in Northern Ireland and then went to Iraq.
In 2004, he was cited ‘valour of the highest order’ for rescuing wounded comrades under heavy fire, for which he was later awarded the Victoria Cross. In 2005, he received a life threatening injuries during an enemy ambush, which left him having to relearn how to walk, speak and eat again. Depressed an traumatised by his experiences in battle, he made an attempt to take his own life in 2008 and now works to help improve the mental wellbeing of war veterans.
In 2014, he founded the JBVC Foundation to help young people leave the cycle of gang violence – empowering them to find an alternative direction and supporting them to become productive members within their community.
Johnson is a captivating motivational speaker. Sharing his own story of turning his life around, he has a wealth of strategies for mental strength, resilience and determination. Johnson’s natural ease and Grenadian charisma always shines through, whether it’s inspiring a workplace, school or general audience, he connects with audiences of all backgrounds to leave a lasting impression.
Johnson has made hundreds of public appearances, speaking about his experiences in schools, youth offenders’ centres and prisons, and continues to support young people involved in gang culture through his charity, the JBVC Foundation. He is always open to discussing how he can help others turn their lives around.
- Overcoming Adversity
- Recovering from Trauma
- Drive & Determination