The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (404327) Sergeant John Francis Crozier, 104 Squadron RAF, Royal Australian Air Force, Second World War

Accession Number PAFU2014/053.01
Collection type Film
Object type Last Post film
Physical description 16:9
Maker Australian War Memorial
Place made Australia: Australian Capital Territory, Canberra, Campbell
Date made 22 February 2014
Access Open
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945
Copyright Item copyright: © Australian War Memorial
Creative Commons License This item is licensed under CC BY-NC
Copying Provisions Copy provided for personal non-commercial use
Description

The Last Post Ceremony is presented in the Commemorative area of the Australian War Memorial each day. The ceremony commemorates more than 102,000 Australians who have given their lives in war and other operations and whose names are recorded on the Roll of Honour. At each ceremony the story behind one of the names on the Roll of Honour is told. Hosted by Andrew Smith, the story for this day was on (404327) Sergeant John Francis Crozier, 104 Squadron RAF, Royal Australian Air Force, Second World War.

Speech transcript

404327 Sergeant John Francis Crozier, No. 104 Squadron, RAF
KIA 14 July 1942
Photograph: P10648.006 (detail)

Story delivered 22 February 2014

Today we remember and pay tribute to Sergeant John Francis Crozier, whose photograph is displayed today beside the Pool of Reflection.

John Crozier, known as "Blackee" to his family, was born on 11 September 1916 in Beaudesert, Queensland, the second son of farmer John Crozier and his wife, Annie. His father had enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force to fight in the First World War not long before John was born and never met his son. After about a year's service with the 2nd Light Horse Regiment, he died of wounds at Rafa in the Middle East.

John was raised by his widowed mother and grew up with a close extended family. He attended the Church of England Grammar School where he proved an able student and a good athlete. He represented the school in football, cricket, athletics, and swimming, and after school played A Grade Ruby Union with the YMCA. On leaving school he became a clerk and merchandiser with the Brisbane offices of the Australian Estates Company.

On the outbreak of war Crozier wanted to enlist in the Royal Australian Air Force but had to wait some months before he was accepted. In the meantime he served with the 122nd Heavy Battery Garrison Artillery of the militia. In April 1940 he was accepted for the air force and sent abroad for training under the Empire Air Training Scheme. He then became an observer on Wellingtons flying with No. 104 Squadron of the British Royal Air Force.

In 1941 the squadron was operating in the Middle East. On the night of 13 July they flew a mission from which Crozier's Wellington never returned. A search discovered the remains of the aircraft, which had crashed about thirty miles west of the Egyptian town of Wadi Natrun. Sergeant Crozier, the only Australian on board, was killed in the crash. The other five members of the crew survived unscathed. They reported that the crash had been caused by a sudden change in barometric pressure which forced the aircraft down.

Sergeant John Crozier was buried close to the site of the crash, but his grave could not be found after the war. John was long remembered by his family, including his mother, who had lost her husband to the First World War, his brother, Charles, and his many aunts, uncles, and grandparents. He was 25 years old.

His name is listed on the Roll of Honour on my left, along with around 40,000 others from the Second World War.

This is but one of the many stories of courage and sacrifice told here at the Australian War Memorial. We now remember Sergeant John Francis Crozier, and all of those Australians who have given their lives in the service of our nation.

  • Video of The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (404327) Sergeant John Francis Crozier, 104 Squadron RAF, Royal Australian Air Force, Second World War (video)