John Hector CROFT

CROFT, John Hector

Service Numbers: 1343, 2343
Enlisted: 3 November 1914, Rifle club two months
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 3rd Infantry Battalion
Born: Mittagong, New South Wales, Australia, 28 March 1892
Home Town: Bulli, Wollongong, New South Wales
Schooling: Bulli Public School, New South Wales, Australia
Occupation: Drover
Died: Wounds, At sea, aboard Hospital Ship St. George, 27 July 1916, aged 24 years
Cemetery: Netley Military Cemetery, Hampshire, England
C E 1824 , Netley Military Cemetery, Netley, Hampshire, England, United Kingdom
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Bulli Great War Memorial, Bulli Roll of Honour, Bulli-Woonona War Memorial
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World War 1 Service

3 Nov 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, 1343, 3rd Infantry Battalion, Rifle club two months
11 Feb 1915: Involvement Private, 1343, 3rd Infantry Battalion, Battle for Pozières
11 Feb 1915: Embarked Private, 1343, 3rd Infantry Battalion, HMAT Seang Bee, Sydney
30 Apr 1915: Wounded AIF WW1, Private, 1343, 3rd Infantry Battalion, ANZAC / Gallipoli, GSW right fore arm
27 Jul 1916: Involvement Private, 2343, 3rd Infantry Battalion, Battle for Pozières

Help us honour John Hector Croft's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Biography contributed by Sharyn Roberts

Son of John and Eliza CROFT

Biography contributed by Evan Evans

The summary below was completed by Cathy Sedgwick – Facebook “WW1 Australian War Graves in England/UK/Scotland/Ireland

Died on this date – 27th July…… Private John Hector Croft was born at Mittagong, NSW in 1891. He enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force (A.I.F.) on 3rd November, 1914 as a 23 year old, single, Drover from Farrell’s Road, Bulli, NSW.

Private John Hector Croft embarked from Sydney, NSW on HMAT Seang Bee (A48) on 11th February, 1915 with the 3rd Infantry Battalion, 2nd Reinforcements. He then embarked on Derflinger to join M.E.F. (Mediterranean Expeditionary Force) on 4th April, 1915.
Private John Hector Croft was wounded in action between 25th & 30th April, 1915 at Gallipoli with gunshot wounds to right forearm. He was admitted to No. 2 General Hospital at Cairo on 30th April, 1915. Pte Croft was discharged to duty on 3rd June, 1915.
Private Croft was re-admitted to Hospital at Cairo on 13th July, 1915. He proceeded from Alexandria on 1st August, 1915 to rejoin M.E.F.

Private Croft was evacuated from Anzac on 21st December, 1915 & disembarked at Alexandria on 29th December, 1915.

Private Croft embarked from Alexandria on 22nd March, 1916 & disembarked at Marseilles, France on 28th March, 1916. He was admitted sick to Field Ambulance on 15th June, 1916 & discharged to duty on 22nd June, 1916 & rejoined his Unit on 25th June, 1916.

Private John Hector Croft was wounded in action in France (no date recorded). He was admitted to Casualty Clearing Station on 23rd July, 1916 & then transferred & admitted to Hospital at Rouen, France with gunshot wounds to left shoulder. Private Croft embarked for England on the Hospital Ship St George on 26th July, 1916.

Private John Hector Croft died at 12.40 am on 27th July, 1916 at Sea, on board the Hospital Ship St. George as a result of wounds received in action – ruptured spinal cord and cardiac failure. His body was sent to the Mortuary at the Royal Victoria Hospital, Netley awaiting burial.

Private John Hector Croft was buried at 3.30 pm on 28th July, 1916 in Netley Military Cemetery, Hampshire, England where 49 other WW1 Australian War Graves are located.

(The above is a summary of my research. The full research can be found by following the link below)

AWM Summary

Pte 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 Pozières 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.