John Crossley


Nov 30, 1896

Born in Walsden, England to Charles and Rebecca (nee Hickman) Crossley


May 15, 1906

Embarked the SS Lake Erie in Liverpool with his mother, Rebecca, father Charles and 2 siblings, Henry and Edith


May 25, 1906

Disembarked in Montreal, Quebec and proceeded to Cornwall, Ontario


Mar 1, 1916

Attested into the 154th Battalion in Cornwall, Ontario 

Ø      Number 633616

Ø      Next of kin given as C.A. Crossley, father, Cornwall, Ontario

Ø      Previous occupation given as Printer

Ø      No previous military experience given

Ø      Religion given as Methodist 

The following day, his father, Charles attested into the same battalion.  His brother, Henry, had attested into the 74th Battalion the previous August

The battalion trained in the Barriefield Camp, Kingston


Jun 13, 1916

While on a pass to Cornwall, Ontario he was admitted to the Cornwall Hospital with a diagnosis that reads Measles


Jun 24, 1916

Discharged to duty from hospital


Sep 15, 1916

John’s brother, Henry, was killed in action while serving with the 5th CMR (Canadian Mounted Rifles) on the Somme.  He does not have a known grave and is honoured on the Canadian National Vimy Ridge Memorial, Vimy Ridge, France


Oct 25, 1916

Embarked the SS Mauretania in Halifax, Nova Scotia along with his father Charles


Oct 31, 1916

Disembarked in Liverpool, England and the battalion proceeded to Bramshott to continue training


Jan 31, 1917

Transferred to the newly formed 6th Reserve Battalion in East Sandling


Apr 21, 1917

Both John and his father Charles were posted to the 21st Battalion


Apr 22, 1917

Arrived at the CBD (Canadian Base Depot) in the Rouelles Camp, Havre, France as part of a draft of 3,000 reinforcements from England and TOS (Taken On Strength) the 21st Battalion


Apr 24, 1917

Left the CBD to join the battalion with his son


May 21, 1917

Joined the 21st Battalion with his father in the Support Trenches near Vimy Ridge, as part of a draft of 149 reinforcements and assigned to “C” Company


There is no explanation as to why it took almost a full month to reach the battalion, however the CBD War Diary makes note of over 2,000 men leaving the camp to join various battalions.  It is possible that it took some time to reach each battalion spread across the front to deliver the men.


Nov 3, 1917

On this date the 21st Battalion moved into the front line in Passchendaele and almost immediately the Germans mounted an attack.  John Crossley received severe shrapnel wounds to his head and he was evacuated to the No. 1 CFA (Canadian Field Ambulance) for treatment where he died the same day.  His father became ill and had left the battalion just 2½ weeks earlier. 

Private John Crossley was buried in the Vlamertinge New Military Cemetery, west of Ypres, Belgium.

Following the war the British War Medal, Victory Medal and Memorial Cross were sent to his mother, Mrs. Rebecda Crossley, Box 1024 Cornwall, Ontario 

The Plaque (Dead Man’s Penny) and Scroll were sent to his father, Charles Crossley, at the same address


The January 1935 issue of the Communiqué had the following


John and Henry Crossley are both honoured on the Cornwall, Ontario War Memorial



For the 7 nights leading up to November 11, 2010, the names of all Canadian soldiers who died during the war were projected onto the Belgian War Memorial in Ypres.  At the same time, the same names were being broadcast via the internet to schools across Belgium and Canada.  The image above shows the opening ceremonies at the Belgian War Memorial on November 4, 2010. 

Below  is the name of John Crossley being projected on that wall

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