Private John Hector Croft

Service Numbers 1343, 2343
Birth Date 28 March 1891
Birth Place Australia: New South Wales, Mittagong
Death Date 27 July 1916
Death Place At sea
Also known as John Hector Croft
Final Rank
Units

John Hector Croft was born in Mittagong, New South Wales and grew up in Bulli. At the outbreak of the First World War he was working as a labourer, was 23 and unmarried. Enlisting on 3 November 1914, he joined one of the first Infantry units raised - the 3rd Infantry Battalion, embarking five months later on HMAT Derflinger, with the 2nd reinforcements. The 3rd Battalion was involved with the initial landings at Gallipoli on 25 April and it was at Gallipoli that Croft had an amazing escape. Croft recalled the incident in a letter home to a friend. Talking about the landing, he wrote of seeing his mates being shot and of being peppered with shrapnel. During the battle, Croft was shot - the bullet passing through his arm, which slowed it down. Fortunately for Croft the bullet was stopped by his pocket book - a gift from his friends - before reaching his heart. Croft noted he had been on the shore only seven hours before being hit. During his recovery in Egypt, Croft learned that his arm had been badly damaged and he was almost sent home to Australia. Before this could take place, Croft was moved to another hospital where he underwent surgery to fix his arm and was able to continue his service with the 3rd Battalion. After the withdrawal from Gallipoli, the battalion returned to Egypt. In March 1916, it sailed for France and the Western Front. From then until 1918 the battalion took part in operations against the German Army, principally in the Somme Valley in France and around Ypres in Belgium. The battalion's first major action in France was at Pozieres on the Somme in July 1916. It was during this battle that Croft's luck ran out. He received a severe gunshot wound and was evacuated by ambulance train. This time, sadly, he did not recover and died on-board the hospital ship St George, crossing from France to England. It was 27 July 1916. He was 25 years old. While Croft was initially listed as being buried at sea, he was in fact taken ashore and buried at Netley Military Cemetery, Hampshire, United Kingdom. Mourned by his family, and friends, he was awarded the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

Rolls

  • Australian Red Cross Wounded and Missing Files

    Rank
    Private
    Unit
    3rd Australian Infantry Battalion
    Conflict
    First World War, 1914-1918
  • Roll of Honour

    Rank
    Private
    Fate
    Died of wounds
    Date of Fate
    27 July 1916
    Service
    Australian Army
    Unit
    3rd Australian Infantry Battalion
    Conflict
    First World War, 1914-1918
  • First World War Embarkation Roll

    Rank
    Private
    Place of Embarkation
    Sydney
    Embarkation Ship
    HMAT Seang Bee A48
    Date of Embarkation
    11 February 1915
    Conflict
    First World War, 1914-1918

Timeline

Date of birth 28 March 1891
Date of embarkation 11 February 1915
Date of death 27 July 1916

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