Cpl Reginald G Crocker
1st/8th Bn., Middlesex Regiment

Town Memorial P1.R4.C2 * the Town Memorial is incorrect

Taken, Not Given

Reginald G. Crocker
15th Royal Fusiliers, [*actually 1st/8th Bn., Middlesex Regiment]
Nov 7 1919 [* actually Dec 7 1918 ]

Taken, Not Given, Liam Sumption, L&DLHS

A scrutiny of the Fusiliers and men of the London Regiment listed among Soldiers who died in the Great War does not reveal Reginald Crocker and certainly not in the 15th Bn., Royal Fusiliers.

The Parish Magazine of January 1919 states:
"Cpl R.G. Crocker, wounded in action Nov 7th, died in hospital in France, Dec 7th 1918." ¹

1. Parish Magazine of St Mary & St Nicholas , Leatherhead, January 1919 issue

The CWGC database reveals why Liam Sumption could not trace RG Crocker - the Town Memorial has both his unit and the date of death wrong:

Rank: Lance Corporal
Regiment: Middlesex Regiment
Unit Text: 1st/8th Bn.
Date of Death: 07/12/1918
Service No: 52521
Grave/Memorial Reference: VII. B. 7A.

He enlisted at Leatherhead, Surrey joining the Duke of Cambridge's Own (Middlesex Regiment) with service number 52521 in December 1915 and so is not listed in the May 1915 issue of Leatherhead Parish Magazine among those serving.

He was initially with the 11th Bn, transferring to the 8th (source: Roll of Individuals Entitled to Victory Medaland/or British War Medal granted under Army Orders, Middlesex Regiment/B4655).

Dorking and Leatherhead Advertiser
Saturday 14 December 1918

On Saturday last the death occurred in France of Corpl RG Crocker, only son of Mr and Mrs Crocker of Bridge-street, Leatherhead. He was wounded in the neck on November 7th - four days before the signing of the armistice - and although little information could be gathered as to the extent of his injuries it is assumed that he was badly hurt, and was not brought to England.

Corpl Crocker, who was 25 years of age, had been in the army a considerable time, and went out to France with Corpl Percy Fairs [he survived] in the same Machine Gun Corps [sic]. They were together in some of the heaviest fighting, and had many narrow escapes.

Corpl Crocker was a very fine runner and before joining the army was a successful competitor at the various sports meetings in the district. He was also a good footballer, being one of the leading players of the Leatherhead Rose FC.

West Sussex Gazette
Thursday 19 December 1918

Corporal Reg Crocker, a well-known local runner and footballer, has died from wounds received in action four days before the signing of the armistice.

Dorking and Leatherhead Advertiser
Saturday 28 December 1918

CROCKER, CORPL. E.G., died from injuries received four days before the armistice was signed, son of Mr. and Mrs. Crocker, Bridge-street, Leatherhead.

As reported above he was wounded in the neck on 7 November 1918 and died a month later on 7 December 1918. His Death Certificate stated the Cause of Death as 'Wounds and Haemorrhage'. 

The January 1919 Leatherhead Parish Magazine stated:

Cpl. R. G. Crocker, wounded in action, Nov. 7th, died in hospital in France, Dec. 7th, 1918.

The War Diary of the 8 Bn Middlesex Regiment for early November 1918 (WO95 2950) reports:

5 Nov Battalion moved to SEBOURGQUAIX and billeted

6 Nov The battalion moved to SEABOURG in the morning and then moved to the line at ANGREAU relieving elements of the 169 Inf Bde. Relief complete 2245. Capt WS Tennent rejoined from 1st Army Instructing School.

7 Nov The battalion attacked.
Barrage opened 0855.
0955 1st Objective taken.
1415 Advance continued
1500 Advance held up on right by MGs from BOIS DE DAUDOIS
1530 'B' Company held up owing to MGs from BOIS DU RAMPENMONT
1630 B & D Companies consolidated 300 > in front of 1st Objective.
B & D Companies withdrew to 1st Objective MONTIGNY-BAVAI ROAD
Bn HQ established in ONNEZIES at 930
Casualties 1 Officer wounded LIEUT HAZELDINE  2 OR killed  1 OR died of wounds  13 wounded [one of whom would have been Reginald Crocker]

His life

Reginald was born on 5 September 1883.

His father was George James Crocker, born Okehampton, Devon on 4 July 1858. In the 1911 Census he was described as an Invoice Clerk (Drapery Warehouse). He died 5 May 1929 and is buried in Leatherhead Parish Churchyard.

His mother was Ellen Grace Hannaford, born Widdecombe in the Moor, Devon in about 1863. She was a farmer's daughter. She died on 24 March 1950 in Wadebridge, Cornwall.

Their marriage in April 1889 was registered in Quarter 2 at Newton Abbott, Devon.

Curiously, in the 1891 Census Ellen, in her maiden name of Hannaford, aged 28, appears to be living with the family of widower George French in Bridge Street, Leatherhead. Her sister Anne, born 1859, had married George French in 1879 and died in Leatherhead in 1890.

Reginald appears to have been an only child.

The family lived at:
1891 Census: Bridge Street, Leatherhead
1901 Census: Bridge Street, Leatherhead: Ellen 38 (a school caretaker) and Reginald aged 7 - his father was enumerated at 2 Cavendish Road, Croydon, with his brother Thomas's family
1911 Census: 4 Lower Terrace, Bridge Street, Leatherhead (aka Tannery Cottages, renumbered in the 1920s as 61 Bridge Street: see also Charles Crayden). Reginald, now 17, was a Clerk, Estate Agent.

Reginald played football for the Leatherhead Rose FC team, mainly drawn from the Leatherhead Common area.

In the Dorking & Leatherhead Advertiser of 9 May 1914, described as a auctioneer's clerk he was a witness in the prosecution of a boy for robbing a gas meter in vacant premises in Middle Road, Leatherhead.

He married Bertha Blanche Law, aged 21, born 1896 in West Ham, Essex at St Barnabas Church, Sutton, Surrey on 2 January 1916. His occupation was given as clerk. His and Bertha's address was 10 Ridgmount Villas, Montpellier Road, Sutton. Bertha's late father was described as an Engineer.

They had a daughter Jean Muriel, born 5 April 1916, registered in Lambeth South London. She married Walter Williams in 1941 and they had a son Ashley Graham Williams (1945-1968). Jean died in 1960 in Lewes, Sussex and her husband in 2005.

After the War

Bertha re-married in 1922, to Arthur Edward Halsey. She died on 8 July 1967 in Portsmouth, Hampshire.

Reginald Crocker is remembered on these memorials
The Chapel of Remembrance in the Parish Church (and correctly as died Dec 1918).
The Church Lads Brigade Tryptich in All Saints Church shows a Robert Crocker.
The RBL Roll of Honour lists him, but in the incorrect unit, as on the Town Memorial.
Surrey in the Great War
There may have been a memorial in the Territorial Drill Hall, Hanworth Road, which is now an hotel. It is not known if Reginald is named on the 8th Battalion The Middlesex Regiment (DCO) (TA) First and Second World War Memorial at the Army Reserve Centre, Deansbrook Road, Edgware, Middlesex HA8 9BA


Middlesex Regiment

the website editor would like to add further information on this casualty
e.g. a photo of him, of his grave
and of any recollections within his family

page last updated 15 Aug 2004 CWGC links updated 7 Nov 17: content 11 Nov 20