Born: 22nd December 1887, Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, Outer Hebrides, Scotland.
Died: 1st June 1915; age: 27; Died at the Ipswich & East Suffolk Hospital from wounds received in action at St. Julien, on the 26th April 1915, while he was leading the platoon in a bayonet charge after his platoon officer, Lieutenant Garton, had fallen. Frederick had only been a week at the front.
Residence: 7, Patterdale Terrace, Gateshead, Tyne & Wear.
Employed: as an Officer of Customs and Excise at Gateshead.
Date of Entry Therein: 19th April 1915 – France.
Rank: Sergeant; Service Number: 1865.
Regiment: Northumberland Fusiliers ‘A’ Coy, 1st/6th Battalion.
Medals Awarded: Victory, British War & 1915 Star.
Relatives Notified & Address: Son of Lieut. John Crocker, R.N. and Mrs. Crocker, of Claremont, Portishead, Somerset; husband of Janet Crocker, of 46, Ailsa Street, Girvan, Ayrshire.
1891 Cairnryan, Inch, Wigtownshire, Scotland.
Frederick was 3 years old and living with his parents & siblings.
John Brooking Crocker, 35, a Chief Officer – Coast Guards – Southend Division – Royal Navy, born Looe, St. Martin’s, Cornwall.
Annie Crocker (nee Bardsley), 30, born Maidstone, Kent.
John Herbert George Crocker, 8, born Cairnryan, Wigtonshire.
Beatrice Crocker, 7, born Kildonan, Arran, Buteshire, Scotland.
Edith Maud Crocker, 5, born Kildonan.
William Cecil Crocker, 1 month, born Cairnryan.
1901 Fort Charlotte, Chief Officers House, Lerwick, Shetland Islands, Scotland.
Frederick was 13 years old and living with his parents & siblings.
Annie May Crocker, 20, born Greenock, Renfrewshire, Scotland.
Violet Constance Crocker, 3, born Rosslare, County Wexford, Ireland.
Eric Aubrey Henry Crocker, 1 month, born Lerwick, Shetland Islands.
1 general domestic servant.
1911 Stamer Street, East Side, Fitzwilliam, Dublin, Ireland.
Frederick was 23 years old, an Assistant Officer – Customs & Excise. He was 1 of 3 boarders at the home of 48 year old, Wallace Campbell, a Builder’s Clerk.
Frederick attended Tate School, Wygram Place,Wexford, Ireland and at the Anderson Educational Institute, Lerwick, Shetland Islands.
On the 10th June 1911, at Glasgow, Scotland, Frederick married, Janet Macleod, born Stornaway, Isle of Lewis. They had 2 daughters:
Patricia Joan Mary Crocker, born April 1912.
Annie Valerie Crooker, born February 1915.
Probate to Janet Crocker – widow.
Soldiers’ Effects to Janet Crocker – widow.
Fredrick is also remembered on the war memorial at the Anderson Educational Institute, Lerwick, Shetland Islands.
The Shetland News, Saturday, June 12, 1915:
DEATH OF SERGT. CROCKER Sergeant F Cyril Crocker, of the Northumberland Fuslliers, who was seriously wounded at St Julien on April 26, had died of his wounds in hospital at Ipswich. He had only been a week at the front. Deceased who was a son of Mr John Crocker, formerly in charge of Fort Charlotte, was 28 years of age, and was married.
24th of April – 4th May
Cyril enlisted with the 6th Battalion Territorial Force at Newcastle-on-Tyne. Upon the outbreak of war, they were stationed at Northumberland Road, Newcastle-on-Tyne, forming part of the Northumbrian Division on Tyne defences. They mobilised for war in April 1915 landing in France forming part of the 149th Brigade, 50th Division. Cyril arrived with them on the 19th of April, 1915.
St Julien was the first engagement of the Battalion on the Western Front. Taking place between the 24th of April and 4th May, the Battle came as a result of German attacks on the northern sector of the Ypres Salient. There had been an intense bombardment of cloud gas. Canadian and British forces withstood continual German attacks on their positions. They were gradually pushed back, with the Germans passing St Julien. Desperate British counter attacks followed. The 10th Brigade attacked on the Sunday 25th April, with the Lahore Division attacking on the 26th and 27th April, on the first date supported by the 149th Brigade. The failure of the British attacks resulted in a further withdrawal to new line position.
On the 25th of April, 149th Brigade were behind the right of the attack. They were not originally detailed, but lent from corps reserve. During the night, the 149th had been moved forward from Potijze to Wieltje where it arrived at 4:30am. Operation orders for the 26th of April were issued at 2:15am. The Lahor Divisoin was to move from Ouderdom to an area near Wieltje-St Jean and deploy. At 2pm, in co-operation with the French, it was to attack northwards against Langemarck. To comply with these instructions, the 149th Brigade, with the special support of Canadian artillery, was to attack against St Julien astride the Wieltje road. Both the Lahore Division and the Northumberland Brigade suffered badly. The 4th Battalion were on the right, the 6th were on the left, with the 7th Battalion behind the 4th. All advanced over practically flat ground in two lines in artillery formation, suffering heavily, not only from German barrage, but also from machine guns in Kitchener’s Wood against which no attack was proceeding. When at about 2.45pm the battalions reached the line. It was noted that the Northumberland Brigade were the first Territorials to go into battle as a brigade. they pushed through the line objective, but were met with machine gun fire. Without artillery support, it could only advance a short distance beyond the British front trenches. No further progress could be made. The losses were devastating. They dug in as best they could, after which they were withdrawn back to the 10th Brigade line they had advanced over, then subsequently sent back to Wieltje. The Brigade in total lost 42 officers and 1,912 other ranks of its strength.
Extra information and help courtesy of Jon Sandison – Department of History, Anderson High School, Lerwick, Shetland Isles.