George Jubilee CROSTHWAITE

Poppy

CROSTHWAITE, George Jubilee

Service Number: 3269
Enlisted: 29 July 1915
Last Rank: Driver
Last Unit: 11th Field Artillery Brigade
Born: Mount Alford, Queensland, 15 June 1897
Home Town: Milford, Scenic Rim, Queensland
Schooling: State School Mount Alford
Occupation: Baker
Died: Killed in Action, Belgium, 21 October 1917, aged 20 years
Cemetery: Menin Road South Military Cemetery
Plot 111, Row L, Grave 32
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Boonah War Memorial, Mount Alford State School War Memorial
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World War 1 Service

29 Jul 1915: Enlisted Australian Army (Post WW2), Private, SN 3269, 15th Infantry Battalion
21 Oct 1915: Involvement Private, SN 3269, 15th Infantry Battalion, Third Ypres
21 Oct 1915: Embarked Private, SN 3269, 15th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Seang Bee, Brisbane
21 Oct 1917: Involvement Driver, SN 3269, 11th Field Artillery Brigade , Third Ypres

Narrative


George Jubilee Crosthwaite #3269 11th Field Artillery Brigade.

George Crosthwaite is one of three men with the surname of Crosthwaite on the Boonah Memorial. The other two, Benjamin Nixon and Norman Harold were cousins of George.

George Crosthwaite was born at Mount Alford on 15th June 1897. Queen Victoria celebrated her diamond jubilee 5 days later; which may go some way to explaining George’s unusual middle name. George’s parents George (Snr) and Sarah lived at Mount Alford and young George attended Mount Alford State School. After leaving school, George would appear to have taken up an apprenticeship as a baker.

If George Crosthwaite was employed as a baker in Boonah, it is highly likely that he knew John Alcorn whose name also appears on the Boonah and Mount Alford Memorial as John Alcorn and two of his brothers were also bakers in Boonah.

When George enlisted on 29th July 1915, he reported that he was 19 years old. Being well under age he would have required his parent’s permission however there is no record of this in his file. George was originally allocated as a reinforcement for the 15th Battalion which was at that time fighting on Gallipoli. He embarked for overseas on the “Seang Bee” in Brisbane on 21st October 1915, having allocated 3/- of his daily pay to his mother.

By the time George arrived in Egypt, there was no need for reinforcements on Gallipoli as the whole campaign was about to be abandoned. The veterans of the 1st and 2nd Divisions who had manned the trenches at Anzac returned to Egypt where they became the nucleus of an expanded AIF; with the creation of another two divisions. The AIF would soon be sent to the Western Front and there was an increased need for artillery which played a far more important role in the European theatre than at Gallipoli. George’s records show that he transferred to the 4th Divisional Artillery, 11th Field Artillery Brigade as a driver.

Field artillery were equipped with the 18 pounder rapid fire field gun which was hauled by a team of six horses in pairs with a rider/driver, an ammunition limber and the gun itself. Gun crews operated in batteries consisting of four guns overseen by an officer. Gun crews had to be trained extensively in the movement and operation of the gun as well as handling the horse ream and ammunition resupply. George and his mates from the 41st Battery of the 11th FAB were sent to England to receive their training, and it was not until the 9th August 1916 that the Brigade arrived in France.

George’s record contains no entries for the next 12 months, indicating that he remained with the artillery brigade as it was deployed in various areas to support ground troops. By the summer of 1917, artillery had become the major weapon of both sides on the western front. Advances in range and direction finding techniques meant that artillery were increasingly used to engage enemy batteries in exhaustive duels. Additionally the Australian artillery was vital in providing what was called a “Creeping Barrage” to provide cover for the advancing infantry of the AIF during the battles of Messines, Menin Road, Polygon Wood and Broodesinde.

George’s record shows he was wounded slightly on 16th September 1917 during the battle of Menin Road. He remained on duty with the 41st Battery. On 21st October, George Crosthwaite was killed. The war diary of the 11th FAB records that on that day, the 41st Battery was heavily shelled during an artillery duel with German guns near Broodseinde. George was buried in what would become the Menin Road South Military Cemetery.

George’s mother, Sarah Crosthwaite, had moved from Boonah to West End by the time of George’s death. She wrote to the authorities on several occasions asking about the payment of a war gratuity and complaining that she was finding it hard to survive on the 2 pounds 3 shillings a fortnight granted to her as a pension. She advised that she was now a widow in poor health with responsibility for a young son. Another letter requested several copies of a photograph of George’s grave as she was certain she would never be in a position to visit his grave in person.

George Crosthwaite is commemorated locally on both the Boonah and Mount Alford War Memorials.

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KILLED IN ACTION.

Queensland Times - Ipswich 12th Dec 1917

CROSTHWAITE.—Dvr. George Jubilee Crosthwaite, brother of J.E.Crosthwaite, and cousin of Sapper and Mrs. E. H. Berry, Power's Hill, Nth. Ipswich, killed 21/10/17, after 2½ years' service, aged 21 years and 4 mths. Deeply Regretted.

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Biography contributed by Elizabeth Allen

George Jubilee CROSTHWAITE was born at Mount Alford, Queensland on 15th June, 1897

His parents were George CROSTHWAITE & Sarah Martina PALMER

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Service Medals  1914-15 Star, British War Medal & Victory Medal