Topic: Edward James Crawford (1887-1944)

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Edward James Crawford was wounded in action on 7 June 1917 in Flanders, Belgium, during the Battle of Messines. When he returned home from war he purchased a farm in Katikati. Edward was my great grandfather - Debbie McCauley.

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Edward James Crawford was born in Opunake on 6 September 1887 (reg. 1887/9368). His parents were John and Sarah Ann Crawford (née Birkett) who married in Hawera, Taranaki, on 24 February 1883 (reg. 1883/225).

Sarah Ann was a midwife. She was born in Webb Street, Wellington, on 23 August 1869 (reg. 1869/19540) to Edward and Ellen Birkett (née Hart) who married on 5 December 1853 (reg. 1853/563).

Ellen Hart had arrived in Wellington on 4 August 1841 aboard the Tyne with her parents Edward and Sarah Hart. Her father Edward was the cook on the voyage, his occupation listed as ‘bricklayer’. John Crawford arrived in Auckland, aged four years, on the Steinwarden in 1864 with his mother Kezia and her second husband George Tippett.

Edward's eldest child, Eileen Pearl Wilson, was born at 37 Thompson Street, Wellington, on 13 February 1910 (reg. 1910/11647) to Elizabeth Wilson, daughter of plumber/gas-fitter Henry Allan and Elizabeth Ellen Wilson (née Cutten) who married in Blenheim on 12 September 1892 (reg. 1892/1735).

Thompson Street is just around the corner from Webb Street in Wellington where the Birkett’s lived. Eileen was probably conceived whilst Edward was holidaying with his maternal Birkett relatives in Webb Street, Wellington. John and Sarah Ann Crawford raised their grandchild, Eileen Pearl Wilson, in Katikati, and are even listed as her parents on her death certificate.

Edward worked as a farmhand before he joined up for World War I (1914-1918) as a Private (Service No. 11415) on 12 January 1916. He embarked on 1 May 1916 from Wellington with the 12th Reinforcements Auckland Infantry Battalion, A Company, aboard the Ulimaroa for Suez, Egypt.

Edward was wounded in action on 7 June 1917 in Flanders, Belgium at the Battle of Messines and sent to the General Hospital in London. He rejoined his battalion on 11 August 1917 and possibly fought at Passchendaele.

On 3 November 1917 Edward was promoted to Lance Corporal. He was evacuated as ill on 2 April 1918 and admitted to Etaples Hospital. On 19 October 1918 he rejoined his battalion and was involved in the Allied counter attacks which ended in Armistice on 11 November 1918. From there he marched into occupied Germany. He embarked for New Zealand on 28 March 1919. Edward was discharged on 7 June 1919 due to his father's stroke.

The Crawford family moved to Katikati in around 1918 where they purchased a farm a few hundred metres up Lockington Road on the left. When Edward returned home from war in 1919 he purchased a farm three quarters of a mile up Wrights Road (Vaughan Cullen, p. 7).

Edward married Frederica Martha Sarah Reynolds (nee Baker) in Waihi on 26 January 1928 (reg. 1928/8132). Freda was born in 1901 (reg. 1901/8864) to Sophie Marie and George Thomas Baker. On 24 June 1921 (reg. 1921/1885) she had married John Reynolds and had two children, Violet Edith Reynolds and Eric William Reynolds, before divorcing on 20 December 1927. It appears that Edward adopted Eric as his name changed to Eric William Crawford.

The children of Edward James Crawford:

  1. Eileen Pearl Wilson (1910-1945). Born at 37 Thompson Street, Wellington on 13 February 1910. She was raised by Edward's parents John and Sarah Ann Crawford. Eileen married Lennard John George McCauley on 25 November 1936. She died in Katikati on 29 September 1945.
  2. Violet Edith Reynolds (1921-2004). Stepdaughter [possibly adopted by Edward?]. Born at Otahuhu on 14 July 1921. She married George Carrod How. Violet died on 21 December 2004 (reg. 2005/00064). She was buried in Waikumete Cemetery.
  3. Eric William Reynolds (1924-1988). Stepson [later adoped by Edward and last name changed to Crawford]. Born in Otahuhu on 20 January 1924. Eric served during World War II (1939-1945). He married at least twice, divorcing at least once. Eric died on 3 March 1988 (reg. 1988/36256). He was buried in Gisborne.
  4. Norman Leo Crawford (1927-1995). Born in Waihi on 17 May 1927. He married Stella Whitehead. Norman died in August 1995.
  5. Myrtle Catherine Crawford (-). Born in Waihi on 3 April. She married  of William John Douglas Rosevear. Myrtle moved to Queensland, Australia.
  6. Rona Lillian Crawford (1929-1997). Born in Waihi on 26 April 1929. Rona died in 1997 (reg. 1997/31796).
  7. Bryan Alex Crawford (-). Born in Tauranga on 20 July. He married Clare Elizabeth Lancaster. Bryan moved to Australia in 1960.

Edward Crawford died in Katikati, aged 57, on 10 December 1944 (reg. 1944/28437). He is buried in Katikati Cemetery (Anglican Plot No. 119) not far from his eldest daughter Eileen’s grave.

Edward James Crawford (1887-1944)



Births, Deaths and Marriages Online (New Zealand).

Cenotaph Database (Auckland War Memorial Museum).

Military personnel file (Archives New Zealand).

The Crawfords of Katikati (1989).

The Descendants of Ellen Hart and Edward Birkett (1981) by Charles Norman Nicholls.

The McCauley family of Katikati, New Zealand: 1876-2012 (2012) by Debbie McCauley.

The Origins of the Crawfords from Kati Kati (n.d.) by Vaughan Cullen.


This article was archived at Perma CC on August 11, 2016 (

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Edward James Crawford (1887-1944)

Note:Service No. 11415
First Names:Edward James
Last Name:Crawford
Date of Birth:6 September 1887
Place of Birth:Opunake
Country of birth:New Zealand
Date of death:10 December 1944
Place of death:Katikati
Place of burial:Katikati Cemetery
Spouses name:Frederica Martha Sarah Baker
Spouses date of birth:21 March 1901
Spouses place of birth:Christchurch, New Zealand
Spouses date of death:24 September 1955
Spouses place of death:Waihi, New Zealand
Spouses place of burial:Waihi Cemetery
Date of marriage:26 January 1928
Fathers name:John Crawford
Fathers date of birth:24 March 1860
Fathers place of birth:Cape of Good Hope, South Africa
Fathers date of death:27 July 1937
Mothers name:Sarah Ann Birkett
Mothers date of birth:10 October 1869
Mothers place of birth:Webb Street, Wellington
Mothers date of death:12 February 1956
Mothers place of death:Hamilton, New Zealand
Name of sibilings:Eileen May Crawford, Reginald Crawford, Ellen Edith Crawford, Allan Crawford, William Crawford, Colin Godfrey Crawford, Charlotte Emma Kezia Crawford, George Henry Crawford, Arthur John Crawford, and Frederick William Crawford
Name of the children:Eileen Pearl Wilson , Norman Leo Crawford , Myrtle Catherine Crawford, Rona Lillian Crawford , and Brian Alex Crawford
Military Service:World War I (1914-1918)