WW1 Samuel Alfred Crowhurst (Service number 12/1933)
Samuel Alfred Crowhurst was born on 14 July 1890 in Onehunga, and was the third son of Samuel George Crowhurst and Catherine Elizabeth Crowhurst (Breen), who had eleven sons and three daughters. They lived at 24 Eden Street, Newmarket, Auckland.
He was one of five sons who served in WW1, three of whom died. They were Arthur Frederick Livingstone Crowhurst (24/99) died; Francis Ernest Crowhurst (60080) killed in action, and Samuel Alfred Crowhurst (12/1933) killed in action, and two other brothers fought and returned to New Zealand, Leslie Upton Clifford Crowhurst (60081), and Victor Roy Crowhurst (12/1934).
Samuel Alfred Crowhurst worked as a railway surfaceman, maintaining the railway tracks, with the New Zealand Railways at Mercer. He enlisted on 10 January 1915, and was 5ft 9 1/2 inches tall, with brown eyes, and dark brown hair. He joined the Auckland Infantry Regiment A, 4th Reinforcements of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force, sailing from Wellington on 17 April 1915, for Suez, Egypt arriving on 25 May 1915. His brother Victor Roy Crowhurst (12/1934) also sailed at the same time.
Samuel fought in the Dardanelles (Gallipoli) from 8 June 1915 to 29 December 1915. He was then transferred to Alexandria, Egypt. On 6 April 1916, he embarked for France and was appointed Lance Corporal in the Field on 15 October 1916. For a month on 6 March 1917, he was seconded to the Railway Construction Unit and then he re-joined his unit. He was promoted to Corporal on 1 April 1917 and promoted to Sergeant in the Field on 15 June 1917. (1)
On 27 June 1917, he was awarded the Military Medal, for acts of gallantry in the field. His citation was
For devotion to duty. This non-commissioned officer established a strong point when his platoon officer and sergeant had been put out of action. When the post was established he kept the garrison together and hung on through heavy shellfire until relieved. The garrison was on several occasions buried by shell.
Military Medal (MM. L.G. 16 August 1917, p 8429, Rec No 938). He was also awarded the 1914-1915 Star, British War Medal 1914-1919, and the Victory Medal.
GALLANTRY AT MESSINES. AUCKLANDERS DECORATED
CORPORAL S. A. CROWHURST.
Corporal Samuel A. Crowhurst, Auckland Infantry, is the son of Mr. S. G. Crowhurst, of Roxburgh Street, Newmarket. He enlisted in the Auckland Infantry, and left with an early reinforcement. He has been on active service since in Gallipoli and France. He comes of a fighting family. His brother, Corporal Victor R. Crowhurst, who left in the same reinforcements, was wounded at Gallipoli, and again in France, and is now in the Brockenhurst Hospital. Another brother, Private Arthur Crowhurst, enlisted in the Rifle Brigade, and succumbed to cerebromeningitis while in camp. Two other brothers, Francis and Leslie, went into -training camp last week. The Newmarket Borough Council at a meeting last night congratulated Mr. and Mrs. Crowhurst upon the distinction conferred on their son, and also upon the fine record of the family. (2)
Shortly after he received his Military Medal, he was sent for three weeks instruction and training, re-joining the unit on 27 July 1917. He was killed in action 21 August 1917 in Ypres, Belgium where heavy rain had turned the battlefield into a morass, as the infantry struggled to advance in a series of attacks. His grave is in Hainaut, Belgium, at Mud Corner British Cemetery, Comines-Warneton, Hainaut, Belgium, Grave reference, II C 1. Mud Corner was the name given to a road junction on the northern edge of Ploegsteert Wood, very close to the front. The cemetery was used from 7 June 1917, when the New Zealand Division captured Messines, to December 1917. All the burials, save one, are of New Zealand or Australian forces
Other memorials to Samuel Alfred Crowhurst are at the:
• Family grave memorial, St Mark’s Churchyard (Anglican), 95 Remuera Road, Remuera, Auckland, 1. New Zealand
• Newmarket War Memorial, Olympic Park, Newmarket, Auckland, New Zealand
• Borough of Newmarket War Memorial, Auckland Council Archives.
Helen Vail, 100 New Zealand World War One Memorials 1914-2014, has also written about the Crowhurst brothers – read more here.
Joseph Edward Wood was a cousin of the Crowhursts who was killed at the 3rd battle of Ypres and shares their memorial at St Mark’s Church. Read about him here.