Topic: John Clement Croft

Topic type:

John Clement Croft (Service number 4/1910) enlisted for the First World War with a Peterborough Street address.

John Clement Croft, was born in Rye, England. His date of birth is listed variously as the 25th, 26th or 28th) of May, 1878. He was the fifth child of Jane and John Croft. Jane was a tailoress and John, a miller’s loader.

He enlisted in the navy at the age of twelve and went into training on the HMS Vincent which was commissioned specifically as training ship for boys and moored permanently at Haslar on the south coast of England. He was granted a gratuity of ten pounds to pay for bedding and clothes and his occupation is listed as Page.

At enlistment he was described as 5 foot 3 1/2 inches with brown hair, blue eyes and a dark complexion (by the age of eighteen he had grown to 5 foot 5 inches)

By 1895 he was sailing on the cruiser Mersey and he was made an Ordinary Seaman in 1896 and an Able Seaman in 1897. After serving in a number of other vessels he attended a torpedo school on the HMS Vernon in January 1899, then moved on to the HMS Tauranga on which he remained until April 1900.

The Tauranga was part of the Auxiliary Squadron of the Australia Station and in March 1900 it took part in the siege of Apia, during the second Samoan Civil War.

He then transferred to the Ringarooma which was also part of the Auxiliary Squadron and stayed there until 1903 when he returned to England and purchased his way out of the navy.

Information becomes scarce for the next few years but in June 1908 he married Jane Aretia Stockdill from Linwood in a Christchurch wedding and in 1911 the electoral role lists him as living 62 Clare Road and working as a steward.

In 1915 John Croft was resident at 128 Peterborough Street. He enlisted with the New Zealand Expeditionary Force on the 17th of November 1915, trained at Trentham and in March 1916 he departed Wellington bound for Suez.

His description on enlisting included a legacy of his navy days - tattoos of a snake around his neck, a snake on his right arm and a Japanese girl on his left arm. He listed his religion as Church of England.

He was given the rank of sapper in the Royal NZ Engineers, 10th Regiment and he was later allocated to the 4th Field Company.

He embarked for England in May 1916 arriving in Devonport in June, and then left for France in June 1917 as part of the Western European Expeditionary Force. This would presumably have been just in time to be sent to Ypres for the battle of Passchendaele as the 4th Company (formed March 1917, broken up February 1918) were located there at that time.

On the 26 January 1918 he was evacuated by field ambulance and hospitalised with Haematuria (blood in urine) and was sent to England on leave afterwards. Then in 1918 he was posted to no. 3 Field Company, which means he was probably involved in the 4th battle of Ypres as well.


Related resources:



Discuss This Topic

There are 0 comments in this discussion.

join this discussion

John Clement Croft

First Names:John Clement
Last Name:Croft
Place of Birth:Rye, England