Murray John Rossiter (Crabby) CRABB


CRABB, Murray John Rossiter

Service Number: 6229
Enlisted: 6 May 1916
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 10th Infantry Battalion
Born: Blanchetown, South Australia, July 1889
Home Town: Norton Summit, Adelaide Hills, South Australia
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Market gardener
Died: Shelling, Meteren, France, 24 April 1918
Cemetery: No known grave - "Known Unto God"
Listed on the memorial at Villers-Bretonneux.
Memorials: Adelaide National War Memorial, Australian War Memorial, Roll of Honour, Clare Schools Old Scholars who Fell WW1 Memorial, Magill Honour Board, Magill War Memorial, Men from Renmark and District Roll of Honor Boards (4), Villers-Bretonneux Memorial (Australian National Memorial - France)
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World War 1 Service

6 May 1916: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 6229, 10th Infantry Battalion
28 Aug 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 6229, 10th Infantry Battalion
28 Aug 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 6229, 10th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Anchises, Adelaide
20 Sep 1917: Wounded AIF WW1, Private, SN 6229, 10th Infantry Battalion, Polygon Wood, Gassed, shell wound.
24 Apr 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 6229, 10th Infantry Battalion, German Spring Offensive 1918


Murray John Rossiter Crabb was born in Blanchtown South Australia. He was the second son of John and Jane Elizabeth Crabb of “The Willows” Magill South Australia. He was employed with his younger brother, Norman, as a Market Gardner on their 18 acre block at Norton’s Summit South Australia. After his younger brother enlisted, he also enlisted in the 10th Battalion 20th reinforcement. He sailed from Australia on the HMAT A68 Auchises on 28th August 1916. He was killed in action on 24th April 1918 and is buried at Villers Brettonneux Military Cemetery.
Murray Pioneer and Australian River Record (Renmark, SA : 1913 - 1942) Friday 11 May 1917 p 4

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Biography contributed by Saint Ignatius' College

Murray John Rossiter Crabb was a brave young Australian who enlisted in the Australian Imperial force and the ANZAC army. By enlisting as a Private he was showing his support towards his country. He was small at 163cm and weighed 50 kilos. He had brown hair, a medium complexion, grey eyes and was born July 1889 in a small South Australian town called Blanchetown. Crabb worked as a market gardener and was a part of the Church of England. He passed all the physical tests and enlisted on May 6, 1916. Crabb was not married and was 26 years old when he enlisted. He had a mother named Jane Crabb and a brother, Norman Crabb. These are his only known relatives. By enlisting Private Murray John Rossiter Crabb showed the ANZAC spirit.

 Crabb left for the war on the 28 August 1916 on a ship named the HMAT A68 `Anchises’ and was sent off to the Western Front. He arrived at Plymouth, England on the 11 October 1916 and began his training at Perham Downs. He spent 2 months in training before he was sent off for his first job. Although the training was incredibly tough nothing could prepare the soldiers for the reality of war. Crabb trained hard for 21 days and showed Anzac spirit which allowed him to enter the war 21 days after completing his training. War and training often had shortages of food and supplies as there were so many people. WW1 turned into an arms race and much supply was needed. This meant it was affecting everyone not just the people at the war. After the harsh training Crabb was assigned to the 10th Infantry Battalion and was placed straight into the trenches to fight.

Crabb gave his all in WW1 and most of the places he served were around the Franco-Belgian border, Flanders, Somme and Belgium. The biggest battle he served in was the Third Battle of Ypres because of the conditions. This battle was fought in rain and mud. The conditions were so bad that disease and lice were common and was hard to avoid. Crabb caught an unknown sickness and was put in hospital for 7 days before returning to the battle. He also got a serious case of trench fever that kept him in hospital for over 4 months. This showed the ANZAC spirit of being able to come back and face the war again. Crabb also was wounded in action when he was affected by a gas shell. He was killed on 24-4-1918. Private Murray John Rossiter Crabb went out on a raid on Meteren which was filled with machine guns. He was killed in action. He was killed while on a raid with the 10th battalion which was unsuccessful, and he was killed on the way back. He was found behind the ANZAC lines dead with a frightful shell wound in his head. According to a soldier who knew him well: “The Germans did not take the ground which remained no-man’s land which meant he did not know anything of his burial if he had one. His body was most likely eradicated from both sides a  s he died in no man`s land.”


Private Murray John Rossiter Crabb gave his all in WW1 including his life. He showed his ANZAC spirit and was awarded three medals. The three medals were the 1914-15 Star, British War medal and the Victory medal. These medals were well deserved and Private Crabb’s name is in the cemetery of Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery, France. Private Murray John Rossiter Crabb and all the other brave WW1 soldiers can be remembered because of memorials like the Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetry and their spirits can live on for ever.