Date of birth: 1883
Place of birth: Maryborough, Victoria, Australia
Date of death: 22 October 1948
Place of death: Warrandyte, Victoria, Australia
After leaving school at 18, Frank Rossiter Crozier worked for an Italian decorator for a short period, embellishing the interiors of churches. He then worked as a bank clerk for eight years and attended life drawing classes in the evening three times a week. He studied under the cartoonist Alek Sass and attended the National Gallery of Victoria School of Art in Melbourne, studying full-time from 1905 to 1907. Crozier received the student prizes for landscape painting and drawing in 1907.
With the outbreak of the First World War, Crozier enlisted with the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) in March 1915. He arrived in Egypt in May, and by September was serving at Gallipoli as a stretcher-bearer with the 22nd Battalion.
In November 1915, official war correspondent Charles Bean called for contributions to The ANZAC Book, a collection of soldiers’ satirical and sombre accounts of their experiences at Gallipoli. Crozier was working on illustrations for The ANZAC Book in December 1915 when Bean asked him to design the more serious content.
In March 1916, Crozier arrived in Marseilles, France, where he was attached to the 1st ANZAC Corps Topographical Section. He went on to serve in Pozières until October 1917. While in France Crozier served under Brigadier-General John Gellibrand who, after realising Crozier’s artistic ability, asked him to make sketches of the Battle of Pozières. Crozier served as Gellibrand’s runner, partly so he could be exposed to a wide variety of painting subjects.
In October 1917, Crozier was attached for three months to the Australian War Records Section (AWRS) at the AIF Administrative Headquarters in London. He had successfully applied to the AWRS to work as one of 10 camouflage artists, and trained in camouflage with Will Longstaff, J. S. MacDonald and James F. Scott. Crozier was appointed an official war artist with the rank of honorary lieutenant in September 1918.
Crozier was one of the few official artists who had experienced heavy fighting, as at Pozières, and also served in the infantry at Gallipoli. The effect this had on the artist is revealed through his choice of subject matter, and he frequently painted the human dimension of warfare.
After the war Crozier continued working for the AWRS in London, returning to Australia in late 1919. His commission as an official artist was terminated in June 1920. Some years later, he was appointed to the Australian War Memorial in an art advisory role, a post he held for six months from May 1936. During the Second World War Crozier worked in a munitions factory at Maribyrnong, Victoria.