Errol CRUICKSHANK MID

CRUICKSHANK, Errol

Service Numbers: 181, 181, Commissioned Officer
Enlisted: 15 September 1914
Last Rank: Lieutenant
Last Unit: 10th Infantry Battalion
Born: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 7 September 1895
Home Town: Largs Bay, Port Adelaide Enfield, South Australia
Schooling: Pulteney Street School, St Peter's College, and University of Adelaide (Law)
Occupation: Law Student
Died: Shell blast, Messines, Belgium, 25 December 1917, aged 22 years
Cemetery: Kandahar Farm Cemetery, Ypres, Flanders, Belgium
(I.D.5.)
Memorials: Adelaide Members of the Legal Profession & Students at Law WW1 Honour Board, Adelaide National War Memorial, Adelaide University of Adelaide WW1 Honour Roll, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Hackney St Peter's College Fallen Honour Board, Largs Bay St Alban's Church Roll of Honor, Largs North Port Adelaide Sailing Club Roll of Honor, St Peters Heroes War Memorial
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World War 1 Service

15 Sep 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, 181, 3rd Field Ambulance
20 Oct 1914: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, 181, 3rd Field Ambulance, --- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '22' embarkation_place: Adelaide embarkation_ship: HMAT Medic embarkation_ship_number: A7 public_note: ''
25 Apr 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 181, 3rd Field Ambulance, ANZAC / Gallipoli
11 Nov 1915: Honoured Mention in Dispatches, ANZAC / Gallipoli
2 Mar 1917: Transferred AIF WW1, Private, 10th Infantry Battalion
3 Mar 1917: Promoted AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, 10th Infantry Battalion
12 Apr 1917: Wounded AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, Commissioned Officer, 10th Infantry Battalion, German Withdrawal to Hindenburg Line and Outpost Villages, Gunshot Wound leg - evac to his old unit 3 Fd Ambulance
13 Jul 1917: Promoted AIF WW1, Lieutenant, 10th Infantry Battalion
25 Dec 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Lieutenant, Commissioned Officer, 10th Infantry Battalion

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Biography

From the book Fallen Saints 

Errol Cruickshank of Largs Bay, South Australia was born in Melbourne, Victoria in 1895. While at St Peter's College he served four years in the naval cadets and upon leaving school entered university to study law and for three years served in the Australian Army Medical Corps, Citizens Force.  He enlisted at Morphettville Camp on 16 September 1914 and was posted as a supernumerary to B Section, 3rd Field Ambulance, 1st Division AIF.

Private Cruickshank sailed from Adelaide with that unit aboard HMAT Medic on 20 October and after further training in Egypt took part in the Anzac landing at Gallipoli; according to the embarkation roll his regimental number on embarkation was 181 however by the time he reached Gallipoli this had been changed to 119.

He was hospitalised twice in September and evacuated on 4 October via HS Glenarth Castle to the 1st Auxiliary Hospital at Heliopolis, Egypt.  

He was discharged for duty to the overseas base at Mustapha, Alexandria on 22 October and three days later sailed aboard HMT Canada for Mudros where he was attached to 1st Field Ambulance until the evacuation in December.

On 23 August 1915 the Commanding Officer of the 3rd Field Ambulance recommended Private Cruickshank for an award.

 Devotion to duty in attending the wounded and getting them into shelter during heavy shrapnel fire at Browns Dip Aug 6th.Subsequently he worked all night & rest of next day under fire dressing wounds in Victoria Gully.  [i]

Result - He was mentioned in Sir Ian Hamilton’s despatches of 11 December 1915.

Back in Egypt he rejoined the 3rd Field Ambulance and was appointed lance corporal at Tel-el-Kebir Barracks on 23 January 1916 and towards the end of March boarded the SS Kingstonian and sailed for France.  Between 14 December 1916 and 5 January 1917 he was granted leave in England and commenced his officer training in late January.

On 3 March he was appointed second lieutenant and taken on the strength of the 10th Battalion reinforcements and joined the battalion in the line at Lagnicourt on 16 April 1917. That same day he was taken to his old unit, 3rd Field Ambulance suffering with a severe a gunshot wound to the right knee and evacuated via 9th Casualty Clearing Station to 2nd Red Cross Hospital Rouen and then back to 4th General Hospital, Denmark Hill London.

At the end of June he rejoined the battalion in France and was promoted to Lieutenant on 13 July 1917.  He was granted leave to the United Kingdom commencing 21 October and when he returned on 11 November was in time to join the battalion in their move to Bezinghem.

On 16 December the 10th Battalion with a strength of just over 750 all ranks relieved the 31st Battalion in the line at Messines sector and remained there until relieved by the 12th Battalion on Christmas Eve. The battalion moved back to the reserve trenches at Wulverghem where they spent a bitterly cold day huddled in the dugouts and late that afternoon Lieutenant Cruickshank was killed by shell-fire; he was 23 years of age.

During an interview conducted on 26 February 1918 at Australian Camp Rouelles, France, Private Cecil McNiece who had known Lieutenant Cruickshank for four months described him as, ‘short, nuggetty, dark, about 33, a lawyer in civil life from Port Adelaide.’ He said Lieutenant Cruickshank was in the company of Lieutenant Brown; ‘when a shell fell, and Lieut Cruickshank was hit by a piece. Death was instantaneous. I was within a few yards of him and saw it occur. I helped to bring him down to Kandahar Farm. He was buried there next morning. I was at the burial and saw a Battn cross put up over the grave.’ [ii]

The following extract is from a letter dated 26 February 1918 written by Chaplain Edward Makeham;

... Lt Cruickshank was killed by shell fire on the afternoon of 25-12-17 and was buried by me at Kandahar Farm Military Cemetery, Grave 1 A, Plot 1, Row C.A cross has been erected by the Battn. … [iii]



[i] Australian War Memorial, Honours and awards (Recommendations: First World War) Recommendation for E Cruickshank viewed 2 January 2008
[ii] Australian War Memorial, Australian Red Cross wounded and missing enquiry bureau files – Cruickshank, Errol - File 0850307 – Viewed 23 November 2005
[iii] ibid

 

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