The Manchester Regiment 1758 - 1958

John Cane Crawford

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John Cane CRAWFORD

1868  1933

THE  MANCHESTER  REGIMENT

a.         2nd Lt.  2nd Battalion.

John Cane Crawford was born on 9th April 1868, at Bray, County Wicklow, Ireland

His military career began in the Militia before he transferred as a 2nd Lt. to the 2nd Bn. The Manchester Regiment on 9th May 1888 at Agra, India. 

b.         Lt.  1st Battalion.

He was promoted to Lt. on 18.12.1889 and transferred to the 1st Bn. at Tipperary, Ireland.  He obtained the Hythe Certificate in Musketry in 1893, and in 1894 the 1st. Bn. moved to Preston.  He passed the School of Military Engineering, Chatham course in Fortifications in 1895 by which time the 1st Bn. was at Aldershot. 

He was recorded as being a French speaker.

On 9th July 1896 he was married at Tonbridge, Kent, to Miss Fanny E. M. Harris, born in India in 1875, then living at Chilham, Kent

In November 1896 the 1st Bn. went to Gibraltar and on 10th July 1897 he was promoted to Captain. 

On 15th December 1897, their son, John Cane was born at Sandgate, Kent.

c.         Captain & Adjutant,  3rd Militia Battalion.

On 24th August 1898 he was transferred as Adjutant to the 3rd Militia Bn. based at The Depot, Ashton-under-Lyne. 

They moved into Croft House, Howard Street, Millbrook, Stalybridge, Cheshire and had three servants, consisting of two cooks and a nurse, all from Hexham, Northumberland. 

His brother H. C. Crawford was a serving officer in the 2nd Bn. The Essex Regt. at Malta.

On 1st March 1900, owing to two new Regular Battalions being formed, the 3rd Militia Bn. became known as the 5th Militia Bn. and in May 1901 the Bn. was mobilized and sent to Aldershot and was soon under orders to proceed to South Africa.

On 11th June 1901 his daughter Eileen Maria was born at home, in Croft House, but he wouldnt see her until she was over 1 year old.

Twenty Four Officers and 800 other ranks of the Bn. including Adjutant and Captain J.C. Crawford, embarked at Southampton on 17th June 1901 on the S.S. Bavarian.

On arriving at Capetown they were ordered to proceed to Winburg in the Orange River County to take over the towns defences and that of the local railway.  The Boers made a couple of attempts to break through the defences and the 5th Militia Bn. lost one man killed, one died of wounds and four men wounded. 

On 8th April 1902 the Bn. was ordered to Smalldeel to relieve the 4th Bn. The Cheshire Regiment and took over the defences of the local railway until peace was declared on 31st May 1902. 

On 9th July 1902 the 5th Militia Bn. embarked at Capetown on S.S. Briton and arrived at the Depot, Ashton-under-Lyne on 31st July 1902 and were disembodied the same day.

Captain J.C. Crawford was awarded the Queens South Africa Medal with clasps, Cape Colony, Orange Free State, South Africa 1901 and South Africa 1902.

He was also Mentioned in Despatches in the London Gazette of Tuesday 29th July 1902.

d.         Major,  2nd Battalion

On 18th April 1903 he was promoted to Major and transferred to the 2nd Bn. who were stationed at Aldershot, Hampshire.

e.         Major, Depot Bn.

In 1907 he returned to Ashton-under-Lyne as the Commanding Officer of the Depot, a position he held as a Major, until 13th January 1910

f.          Major, Recruiting Staff Officer (Class11),  Birmingham.

From 14th January 1910 he was transferred to Birmingham as the Recruiting Staff Officer (Class 11) for the Birmingham Recruiting Area.  He remained there for 4 years.

g.         Major,  2nd. Bn.

 He returned to the 2nd Bn. on 31.3.1914 at The Curragh, Dublin, Ireland

h.         T/Lt. Colonel,  16th (S) Battalion (1st City).

On the outbreak of The Great War he didnt go with the 2nd Bn. to France, but remained at the Depot, destined for a higher role.  On 1st September 1914 he was made Temporary Lt. Col and given the command of the first newly raised City Service Bn, The 16th (1st City) (S) Bn. The Manchester Regt.  His photograph and name appears in the Manchester City battalions Book of Honour.

On Thursday 10th September 1914 he arrived in Manchester to physically take command of the Bn. and in the morning of Friday 11th September 1914 opened a Provisional Battalion Office at the 1st/2nd East Lancashire Brigade R.F.A. (TF) (The Manchester Artillery) Headquarters, Hyde Road, Gorton, Manchester.

In the afternoon he inspected the Bns camp at Heaton Park, Manchester with Staff Captain Arthur Taylor, of the Raising Committee.

On the 24th April 1915 the 16th (S) Bn. and the other City Battalions, part of the 90th Brigade, 30th Division, left for Belton Park, Grantham, Lincolnshire and Temp/Lt. Col. J.C. Crawford, as senior Major in the Manchester Regiment, was promoted  Lt. Colonel on 27th April 1915. 

This was as a result of the death, only the day before, of Lt. Colonel Henry William Ernest Hitchins, 1st Bn. The Manchester Regiment, who was killed-in-action at Givenchy, France, by a stray bullet whilst crossing the ground between the French and British trenches at 9.30 pm.

i.          Lt. Colonel,  1st Battalion.

In early June 1915 he was informed he was to be transferred to take command of the 1st Bn. The Manchester Regiment, 8th (Jullundar) Brigade, 3rd (Lahore) Indian Division at Belgium

The local newspaper, The Grantham Journal carried the news in its 6th June 1915 edition.

He arrived at the Ypres sector on 13th June 1915.  The 1st Bn. moved back to the Neuve Chapelle area, France and Lt. Col. Crawford was hospitalized, reason unknown, from 30th July 1915 to 5th August 1915.

On 21st September 1915 the 1st Bn. took part in the Battle of Loos, one of a number of subsidiary actions to support the main offensive in Champagne.  He left the 1st Bn. in October 1915

j.          Lt. Colonel,  12th (S) Battalion and Convalescent Camp, Egypt.

His movements over the next year are a little vague.  One source shows him as transferring, as Commanding officer, to the 12th (S) Bn. The Manchester Regiment, 52nd Brigade, 17th (Northern) Division at Hooge, Belgium.  He is also shown in another source as the Commanding Officer of a convalescence camp in Egypt.  It is quite possible that he performed both of these roles, probably in the above order.

His son, John Cane Crawford served as a 2nd Lt. in F Battery, 14th Brigade, Royal Horse Artillery.  He went to France on 27th June 1916 and was killed in action just two months later on 31st August 1916 aged 18 years.  He is buried in Dantzig Military Cemetery, Mametz, France.  At that time the family home was Cranham, Ashtead, Surrey.

k.         Lt. Colonel,  92nd Training Reserve Battalion.

On 1st September 1916, aged 48 years, he was transferred to the 92nd Training Reserve Bn, 22nd Reserve Brigade at Chisledon, Wiltshire, as Commanding Officer, on its formation.  This T.R. Bn. was formally the 17th (Reserve) Bn. The Royal Warwickshire Regiment.  He remained there until 16th January 1918.

l.          Lt. Colonel,  Russia

He then served in Russia from 17th January 1918 until 7th October 1919.  His role there is unknown. 

He was awarded the 1914/15 Star, the War Medal and the Victory Medal.

His Medal Index Card shows him as also serving in the Royal Munster Fusiliers, but this seems unlikely unless that was part of his service in Russia.

From 7th October until his retirement on 13th January 1920 he remained on Leave and was put on the half pay list.  He was 52 years old and had 31 years and 8 months service when he left the army.  He was granted an annual pension of £600.00.

He died of Heart disease on 9th December 1933, aged 65 years, at his home, Lincoln Lodge, Norwood Hill, Horley, Surrey.  His wife, Fanny, survived him.

I have all 4 of his medals in my collection and his memory will now live on and will not be forgotten.

Simon Butterworth

SOURCES

A.        Documents

1.         PRO Papers.

2.         MIC (Trio)

3.         L.G. 29.7.1902 (MID)

4.         L.G. 12.8.1920 (Retirement)

5.         Medal Roll. (QSA)

6.         1901 Census, (Croft House)

7.         1881 Census, Fanny Harris.

8.         Death Certificate

9.         16th (S) Bn.  Manchesters Old Boys Association, 3rd Annual Dinner invitation,          18.12.1919 (copy)

10.       Grantham Journal, 6.1.1915

11.       MIC (Son)

12.       CWGC  (Son)

13.       Soldiers Died  (Son)

14.       Receipt, 1978 and 2005.

15.       Various Photographs.

B.        Books

1.         Manchester Pals, Michael Steadman.                                              ( Mine)

2.         The Manchesters, 1917                                                                   (Manchesters Museum)

3.         1st Bn. War Diary entry 13.6.1915                                                    (Manchesters Museum)

4.         96th Foot, Roll of Officers, entry                                                       (Manchesters Museum)

5.         The Manchester Regiment, Vol 2, Wylly                                         (Mine)

6.         The 3rd Bn. (Militia) The Manchester Regt.  Col. Dorling 1937    (Manchesters Museum)