Topic: George Wickham Crosley (1894-1915)
George Crosley was only 21 when he was killed in action during the battle of Chunuk Bair on 6 August 1915. Researched and written by Debbie McCauley.
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George Wickham Crosley was born in Earlstown, Lancashire, England, on 19 February 1894. His parents were George and Hannah Crosley.
In the early 1900s the Crosley family emigrated to New Zealand. They arrived in Tauranga in 1904 and lived in Fraser Street, Tauranga. George's father worked as a tailor, but the family appear to have left Tauranga in 1911.
On 14 August 1914 the Bay of Plenty Times reported on a farewell the evening before for members of the Fourth (Waikato) Mounted Rifles who were leaving to join up for World War I (1914-1918). Benjamin Conrad Robbins, mayor of Tauranga from 1912 to 1915 and again from 1929 to 1933 and for whom Robbins Parkis named after, gave a speech. The paper reported that 'those present who were going to join the expeditionary force were Sergeant A. Kent, Trumpeter G. Crosley, Privates G. Bettelheim, C. S. Fairs.
At the time of his enlistment in World War I, George was working for Ashton and Crump, a Tauranga building company. He was 5ft 9 tall, weighed 162lb and had brown eyes and black hair. George enlisted from Hamilton on 15 August 1914. He embarked with the New Zealand Expeditionary Force for Suez, Egypt.
George was killed in action during the Battle of Chunuk Bair at Gallipoli, Turkey, on 6 August 1915 (reg. 1918/41463). He was aged 21.
The Waiapu Church Gazette reported on 1 October 1915 “Two more of our churchmen Alfred Kent and George Crosley have given their lives for their King and Country in upholding justice and righteousness in the world.”
On 30 August 1915 the Bay of Plenty Times reported; “As a tribute to the late troopers Kent and Crosley, the proprietors of the Lyric Pictures screened their photos on Saturday night to the strains of the funeral march. This little act of sympathy was much appreciated by the audience. The photos will be shown again tonight during the course of the programme.”
The following tribute was placed by George’s mother in the NZ Herald the following year “Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”
George's name was also on the tablet placed outside the Town Hall on the first Anzac Day 1916.
He is remembered on the Tauranga War Memorial Gates outside the Wharepai Domain at 91 Cameron Road, Tauranga and on the Chunuk Bair (New Zealand) Memorial.
His father, George Crosley, died at the age of 70 on 1 January 1927 (reg. 1927/634). He was buried in Waikumete Cemetery.
Read more about George Wickham Crosley's life and times here: From Tauranga to horror of Gallipoli by Emma Trail
Bay of Plenty Times (14 August 1914, p. 3).
Bay of Plenty Times (30 August 1915).
Births, Deaths & Marriages Online (New Zealand).
Cenotaph Record (Auckland War Memorial Museum).
Fiona Kean (Tauranga Heritage Collection).
Military personnel file (Archives New Zealand).
Waiapu Church Gazette (1 October 1915).
Waikumete Cemetery Records (George Crosley, 1927).
This article was archived at perma cc on August 8, 2016 (https://perma.cc/QFX4-PQ4K).