Author Topic: Lieutenant Frank Percy Crozier  (Read 6676 times)


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Lieutenant Frank Percy Crozier
« on: January 20, 2011, 06:47:50 PM »
I am wondering whether anyone has any information on the above officer's time with the Mounted Infantry Coy of 2nd Manchesters in the second half of 1900 and his subsequent service with the 4th Manchesters in Aldershot late 1905 - early 1906 and then with the 2nd Manchesters in the Channel Islands until spring 1907. I have consulted the relevant volume of the Regimental History.

Charles M

Offline kingo

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Re: Lieutenant Frank Percy Crozier
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2011, 07:04:14 PM »
From the Reynolds Newspaper of the 20th May 1900 entitled "Promotions from the ranks" (Click on photo to enlarge)

« Last Edit: January 20, 2011, 07:11:08 PM by kingo »
Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.


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Re: Lieutenant Frank Percy Crozier
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2011, 08:00:00 PM »

I can tell you he was awarded a Queens South Africa Medal (QSA) with clasps,

Laing's Nek : Relief of Ladysmith : Tugela Heights : Transvaal : Cape Colony : Wittebergen & S. Africa 1901.

This is a unique clasp combination to the Battalion and no doubt due to previous service in Thornycrofts Mounted Infantry

Do you have his medal?



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Re: Lieutenant Frank Percy Crozier
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2011, 11:09:19 AM »
Many thanks to you both. I don't have his medals, although I have a photocopy of his miniatures, which shows the QSA with six clasps.

Charles M

Offline mack

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Re: Lieutenant Frank Percy Crozier
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2011, 02:57:15 PM »
he married ethel,mary cobb at st.marys church,west brompton,on 10-7-1905,she was the daughter of Lt/colonel robert cobb of 21 pearl court,london
his father burrard,rawson crozier was a major in the army pay dept,mothers name frances
he lived at 19 half moon st,london at the time

mack ;D


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Re: Lieutenant Frank Percy Crozier
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2011, 03:42:55 PM »

Thank you for that. The two also had a registry office wedding in 1904 when FPC was seconded to the West African Frontier Force.

Charles M

Offline tonyrod

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Re: Lieutenant Frank Percy Crozier
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2011, 11:31:34 AM »
GOC Infantry Brigade, Wellington College
Royal Irish Rifles

Frank Percy Crozier was descended on both sides from families with long records of naval,
military and imperial service.  His own career, however, did not run along conventional
lines, but was rather that of a colonial adventurer and mercenary.  His commission in the
Manchester Regiment was from the ranks of the Local Military Forces of Natal during the
South African War.  He later served in Northern Nigeria (1902–5) and Zululand (1905–6).
He was forced to resign from the Army in 1908 after failing to honour cheques, a lifelong
weakness, and put his military skills up for hire.  The outbreak of war found him in
Ireland, training Sir Edward Carson’s Ulster Volunteer Force.  He had slept for four months
with a pistol under his pillow, surrounded by armed guards, land mines, alarms and contraband ammunition.  In August 1914 he was recalled to the colours from the Canadian Reserve of Officers as ‘Captain, Royal Irish Fusiliers’, a regiment in which he never served.  He used his influence with Ulster’s Unionist elite to escape from the singularly inappropriate mission of raising a company of Fusiliers in Dublin to become 2 i/c of the 9th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles (‘Shankill Road boys’), part of the 107th Brigade, 36th (Ulster) Division.  Crozier succeeded to command of this somewhat ill disciplined battalion in November 1915 and led it during its costly baptism of fire at Thiepval on 1 July 1916, personally taking part in the attack, contrary to orders.  Crozier became notorious in the division for his advocacy of trench raiding.  One officer, 2nd Lieutenant J H Stewart Moore, thought that Crozier’s trench raids served no purpose other than to ‘show off’ and dismissed him as a ‘callous and overbearing martinet’.[1]  Crozier’s reputation as an aggressive officer did his prospects no harm, however,
and he was promoted GOC 119th [Welsh Bantam] Brigade, 40th Division, on 20 November 1916.

‘I am afraid you will be disappointed with your new command,’ Crozier was told.  But he was
undaunted by this opinion and immediately set about infusing the brigade with his own
 martial spirit.  The key to this, for him, lay in finding the right battalion commanders.
 One CO was immediately replaced after his battalion lost more than a hundred men in four
days to trench feet.  Later, and to general astonishment, Crozier sent back a favoured
Staff officer, attached to 119th Brigade to gain front line experience, and refused to
recommend him as ‘qualified to command a brigade’, because he could not hold the line with
confidence or ‘slaughter the enemy’ effectively.  The battalion commanders Crozier
eventually acquired were ‘war dogs’ like himself.  One had been a sergeant-major in 1914,
another a mere private, the third a 2nd lieutenant in the Ceylon Planters Corps.
Crozier’s view of war was utterly uncompromising.  Like Sherman, he believed that war
‘was Hell’ and certainly he did his best to make it so.  By his own admission, some                         
thought him ‘mad’ and a ‘butcher’.  He was quite happy to sacrifice a thousand men for some
useful purpose, but he hated losing one man for no reason at all.  Nothing was more useless
in war than ‘a dead body’.  Safety in trench warfare lay in seizing the initiative and he
expected his battalions to dominate No Man’s Land with aggressive patrolling and raiding.
He himself was not averse to reconnoitring ‘beyond the wire’ and the title of one of his
most famous books, A Brass Hat in No Man’s Land, is apt.

119th Brigade’s heaviest fighting came in the winter of 1917 and the spring of 1918.
After suffering heavy casualties at Bourlon Wood in November 1917, it put up a dogged
resistance to the German March offensive, but – together with the rest of 40th Division –
was overrun on the Lys in April.  The brigade was reduced to cadre strength, refitted and
re-organised with new battalions.  It played only a minor role in the Great Advance.

After the war Crozier acted as military adviser to the government of Lithuania before
taking command, in August 1920, of an Auxiliary Division of the Royal Irish Constabulary,
the ‘Black and Tans’.  He resigned this command, almost in despair, in February 1921,
appalled by the demoralising effects of civil war.  Increasingly, during the 1930s, he
lent his energies and his pen to the cause of peace, denouncing war as a means of settling
international disputes in a series of books that sought to portray war with uncompromising

[1] PRONI: T.3217, J L Stewart Moore, ‘Random Recollections’, p. 26.

[2] F P Crozier, A Brass Hat in No Man’s Land (London: Jonathan Cape, 1930), p. 131.

John Bourne
Centre for First World War Studies

Back to Lions Led by Donkey


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Re: Lieutenant Frank Percy Crozier
« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2011, 09:14:27 AM »

Many thanks. In fact, I was already aware of John Bourne's piece.

Charles M