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Lest We Forget
British Legion
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CROFT WAR MEMORIAL

World War 1 & 2 - Detailed Information
Compiled and Copyright © Sheila Kent 2010

The Croft Ex-Servicemen’s Association applied to the Parish Council in 1920 for a site on which to erect a memorial to their fallen comrades. A piece of land by the river opposite the Heathcote Arms was designated and Mr. Spence of the Croft Granite Company arranged for the memorial to be built. Stonemason Jack Knight was appointed to cut the stones, which consisted of a granite column on a plinth with a surrounding wall and chain posts. The unveiling ceremony was held on 27 July 1921, conducted by the Reverend Leonard Babb MC CF. The following year the Croft Granite Company presented trees to be planted behind the memorial. In 1934 the Croft and District Branch of the Royal British Legion took responsibility for the planting and upkeep of the memorial and this continues to the present day. In 1993 the residents of Croft donated 60 ‘Warrior’ rose bushes for the garden and three flagpoles were erected.

Every year on Remembrance Sunday an annual Service of Remembrance is held at the memorial, preceded by a parade through the village led by the Croft Silver Band. Crosses of Remembrance are planted among the roses and on the war graves in the cemetery. On Armistice Day 11 November two minutes silence is observed at the memorial.

Photographs of the 2009 Remembrance Day Parade can be found on Facebook

Photograph Copyright © Shelia Kent 2010

GONE BUT NOT
FORGOTTEN
FROM
THEIR COMRADES
WHO CAME BACK
SACRED TO THE MEMORY OF
THE MEN OF THIS VILLAGE
WHO FELL IN THE GREAT WAR

1914-1918

Of the twelve men named below eight lie in France, three in Belgium, and one in Croft Churchyard. Two were brothers, four were first cousins from the same family and two were first cousins from another family.

COCKERILL Percival Heath

Private 20640 8th Battalion The Leicestershire Regiment. Percy was the son of Walter and Annie (nee Heath) Cockerill. He enlisted in1916 and was killed in action on the Somme on 25th September 1916 age 20. He has no known grave, he is commemorated on the Memorial of the Missing in Thiepval Cemetery.

COLLEDGE Alfred
Private 32558 7th Battalion The South Staffordshire Regiment. Alfred was the son of Alfred and Dinah (nee Rowley) Colledge. He married Mercy Smith in 1910 and they had two children, Catherine in1911, and Cecil in 1916. He enlisted in the Notts & Derby Regiment then was transferred to the South Staffordshire Regiment in Flanders. He was killed in the Third Battle of Ypres 8th June 1917 age 32. He has no known grave, he is commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial in Ypres.
CRICK George
Private 242158 1st/6th Battalion The Royal Warwickshire Regiment. George was the son of Samuel and Eliza (nee Raynor) Crick., the third generation of his family to live in Croft. He enlisted in July 1915 in the Leicester Regiment, and then transferred to the Royal Warwickshire Regiment. He was killed in action on the Somme 8 March 1917 age 44. He has no known grave but may lie in Kiboko Wood Cemetery with twenty comrades from the 1st/6th Battalion. He is commemorated on the memorial in Assevillers New British Cemetery.
GIRDLER Aubrey James
Sapper 196244 199th Quarrying Company The Royal Engineers. Aubrey, sometimes known as Richard, was born in London. He married Rose Duncan in Croft in 1909 and they had two children, Elsie May 1912, and Aubrey 1915. He was employed quarrying stones to build roads on the Somme and was killed there on 25th September 1917, age 33. He is buried in Les Baraques Military Cemetery in Sangatte, one of the first British soldiers to be interred there.
MILNE Arthur Harry
Private 14717 9th Battalion The Leicester Regiment. Arthur was the son of James and Emma (nee Noon) Milne. He enlisted in September 1914 in the 9th Battalion The Leicestershire Regiment. He was killed in action on the Somme on 25th September 1916 age 22. He is commemorated in the Guards Cemetery in Les Boeufs.
PRESTON George Adcock
Private 025501 Royal Army Service Corps. George was the eldest son of James and Clara (nee Broadhurst) Preston. He was taken ill in Tidworth Camp in Surrey and died in Davidson Road War Hospital, Croydon, Surrey on October 29 1918 age 29. He was buried with full military honours on November 4th 1918 in the churchyard of St. Michael and All Angels, Croft.
SLINGSBY Albert Edward
Private 202037 2nd/5th Battalion Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regiment). Albert was the son of William and Lucy (nee Strain) Slingsby. He enlisted on 11 December 1915 and married Winifred Grace Bennett 9 September 1916. He died on 26 September 1917 age 24 at Ypres. He has no known grave, he is commemorated on the memorial in Birr X Roads Cemetery in Ypres.
WEBB Frederick Henry

Private 14876 9th Battalion The Leicestershire Regiment. Fred was the eldest of the two sons of Frederick and Lydia (nee Wilson) Webb. He enlisted on 8 September 1914 and was a bugler, serving in France and Flanders. He died on the Somme on 14 July 1916 age 21. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Memorial of the Missing in Thiepval Cemetery.

WEBB Leonard Richard
Trooper 2067 The Household Battalion, The Household Cavalry. Richard was the younger son of Frederick and Lydia (nee Wilson) Webb. He was recruited into the Household Battalion in 1917 and was killed at Passchendaele on 10 October 1917. age 20. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Memorial of the Missing in Tyne Cot Cemetery.
WILSON Arthur Wallis
Corporal 14901 9th Battalion The Leicestershire Regiment. Arthur was the son of Arthur and Harriet (nee Wallis) Wilson. He enlisted on 8 September 1914 and was promoted to Lance Corporal on 9 November 1916 and to Corporal on 2 January 1917. He died of wounds received in battle at Arras on 30 July 1917 age 19 and is buried in St. Leger British Cemetery in the Pas de Calais.
WILSON Robert William
Private 25788 1st Battalion The Leicestershire Regiment. Robert was the younger son of George and Sarah (nee Lines) Wilson. He died on the Somme on 19 October 1916 age 31. He has no known grave and is commemorated in Bancourt British Cemetery in the Pas de Calais.
Croft men who lost their lives but who are not named on the memorial:
 BATES Walter
Private 12314 2nd Battalion The Leicestershire Regiment. Walter was the son of Joseph and Elizabeth (nee Hancock) Bates. He married Emily Tilcock in 1904 and they had four children , Frederick Reginald in 1906, Elizabeth Helena in 1907, Walter John Richard in 1909 and Lloyd George Ernest in 1915. He enlisted on 5 September 1914 and went to France with the Expeditionary Force on 12 December 1915. He was killed in the battle of Neuve-Chappelle on 13 March 1915. He has no known grave and is commemorated on Le Touret Memorial in the Pas de Calais.
1939-1945
Of the seven men of Croft named below, one lies in Italy, one in Greece, one in North Africa, one in Germany, two in the Far East and one in Croft Cemetery
COLLINS Frederick John
Private 4807222 6th Battalion The Lincolnshire Regiment. Fred was the son of Charles and Harriet (nee Bassett) Collins. He married Dorothy Place in 1935 and they had three children, Norma, Maureen and Edward. His Regiment was part of the Allied Force which invaded Italy in 1943.and he was badly injured in an accident. He died in the 92nd General Hospital on 1st November 1943 age 30 and was buried in the hospital garden the following day. This garden later became Naples War Cemetery
COLLIS Reginald William
Lance Corporal 14259995 2nd Battalion The Rifle Brigade. Reg was the son of George and Maud Collis. He served with the Raiding Support Group of the Rifle Brigade in Greece and Italy. He died of wounds received while helping to rescue a wounded comrade under enemy fire. He was 21 and is buried in Phaleron War Cemetery in Greece.
DUNCAN Reuben
Private 4862845 The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment). Reuben was the son of Edmund and Elsie (nee Stevens) Duncan of Huncote. Edmund was killed on the Somme on 28 March 1918 and his widow moved to Croft with her two sons. Reuben married May Bates in 1937. He first joined the Leicester Regiment then was transferred to the Black Watch and served in North Africa with the ‘Desert Rats’. He was severely wounded in the Battle of El Alamein and died on 24 October 1942 age 26. He is buried in El Alamein War Cemetery
HANDS Robert Glyn Hamilton
Private 14791601 5th Battalion The King’s Own Scottish Borderers. Robert, the youngest son of William and Ann (nee Hamilton) Hands was known as Robin. He enlisted late in 1944 and early in 1945 the Regiment were engaged in fierce fighting to capture the industrial town of Bremen in Germany. Robin was killed on 8th April age 22. He is buried in Sage War Cemetery and his name is also engraved on the memorial to the King’s Own Scottish Borderers in Edinburgh Castle
SHENTON Albert

Private 4859918 1st Battalion The Leicestershire Regiment. Albert was the son of George and Nellie (nee Chaplin) Shenton. The 1st Battalion were engaged in the Far East defending the British base in Singapore, On 8th February 1942 the island was invaded by the Japanese and Albert was killed on 12th February, three days before the British surrendered. He was 24 and has no known grave, he is commemorated on the memorial in Kranji Cemetery.

THOMPSON Frederick Arthur

Private 4859935 1st Battalion The Leicestershire Regiment. Frederick was the son of John and Jane Thompson. The 1st Battalion were in India when the Japanese invaded Malaya in December 1941 and were engaged on the Thai-Malaya border attempting to halt the advance into Singapore. Fred was taken prisoner and worked on the building of the notorious Burma-Thailand Railway. He died on 30th September 1943 and is buried in Chungkai War Cemetery in Thailand.

WALE Lawrence
Private 505179 The North Staffordshire Regiment. Lawrence was the elder son of Henry and Hannah (nee Wallace) Wale. He died on 25 February 1940 age 22 and is buried in Croft Cemetery.

We will remember them

Last updated 24 January, 2010

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