Welcome to my blog......

The purpose of this blog is to remember the fallen heroes of the Great War, whose names are recorded on the memorial plaque situated in St Barnabas Church, New Whittington, Chesterfield.

To mark the centenary of World War 1 I aim to research all of the men on the memorial. I hope to ensure that the brave men who gave their lives for their country 100 years ago are remembered and each man's story told.

I would love to hear from anyone who may have information regarding the men; photos, letters or passed down memories. Any descendents are most welcome to contact me and I will provide copies of the research that I have undertaken.

"They shall not grow old, as we that are left to grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them"

For The Fallen,
Laurence Binyon September 1914.

Sunday, 9 August 2015



Private 12552

9th Battalion Sherwood Foresters

Killed in action - 9th August 1915 

The inscription "N G Crossdill" refers to Norman Barlow Croaysdill, his birth was registered as Croaysdill in the early months of 1894.  He was baptised on 1st February 1894 at Staveley; the son of George William and Mary "Croysdill".  The spelling of the name seems to vary throughout his life, even the inscription on the memorial incorrectly spells Norman's surname and also gives the wrong middle initial as "G" instead of "B".

George and Mary married on 29th November 1890 at Staveley near Chesterfield.  Mary was the daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth Champion, born around 1872 in Temple Normanton.  George was born in 1871 at Belper, the son of John and Ann Croaysdill. 

Norman had an elder sister named Elizabeth born in 1891.  The census taken that year shows 2 month old Elizabeth and her parents living at 25 Devonshire Terrace, Barrowhill.  George was aged 20 years old and worked as a coal miner.  Mary was a young mum aged 19 years old.  A couple of years later in 1894 Norman was born. 
Marriage of Mary Croaysdill - Derbyshire Times 10th October 1896

By 1896 the Croaysdill family unit appears to have broken; Mary marries Thomas Gosling Sweeting on 8th October 1896 at The Parish Church, Chesterfield.  Mary and Thomas soon had their own family; Hannah was born on 11th July 1897 at Barrow Hill.  Gertrude Margaret was born in Harley, Rotherham on 22nd November 1899. 
By 1901 Mary and her new family (including Elizabeth her daughter from her first marriage) had moved back to the area and were living with Paul Champion (Mary's brother) and his family at 23 High Street, New Whittington.  Norman however is not listed as being with the family on the census night.  He may be with his maternal grandmother Lizzie Champion as there is a boy recorded as "son" named Norman Champion, whom I suspect is Norman Croaysdill.  They are living in Staveley on Devonshire Terrace.
1911 the eve of WW1....
The 1911 census shows Norman living with his mother Mary, his step father Thomas and half siblings at 125 High Street, New Whittington.  He is aged 17 years old and was working as an iron pipe worker.  He has six half siblings; Hannah 13, Gertrude 11, George 8, Charles 5, Harriett 3 and Daisy 11 months.
Norman's sister Elizabeth was living just a few minutes walk away at number 88 High Street where she worked as a servant for a baker named Mr Mark Robinson.
Norman's war....

Norman served with the 9th Battalion Sherwood Foresters.  His service records have not survived but a newspaper article states that Norman enlisted in the early stages of the war, August 1914.
The 9th Battalion was a service battalion, it formed in Derby in August 1914 and set sail from Liverpool in July 1915, arriving in Suvla Bay on 7th August 1915.
If Norman sailed out with the 9th Battalion then tragically he only saw 2 days with the British Expeditionary Force for he was killed on 9th August 1915.  The battalion were forced to evacuate from Gallipoli in December 1915.
The war diaries for the 9th Battalion Sherwood Foresters during the time period relevant to Norman's service are missing however searching the internet I have managed to locate a post which gives details from the 33rd Brigade War Diaries which includes an account of the 9th August 1915 for the 9th Battalion Sherwood Foresters.  The article can be found here.

The diary states that the 9th Battalion left at 4am on 9th August to take up their position in line at Damak Jelik Bair by 6am.  They were soon caught up in sniper fire but were not able to return that fire.  By 15.30 that day many of the battalion had been forced back; A and B Coys were both under Captain Squires; "He was at once killed and his left platoon decimated as the Turks had pushed a larger force about 2 Coys into the gap and began to open a heavy enfilade fire on both A and B Coysref from the above link to the post on the WW1 invision forum.
Norman was reported missing in action on 9th August 1915.  He was 21 years old. 
Norman is remembered on the Helles Memorial in Turkey, panel 150 to panel 152.  He has no known grave.  
Derbyshire Times, 4th September 1915 page 4

Mary Sweeting was told of the death of her son by letter from another local lad named Tom Clewley.  Tom and Norman were both members of the 9th Battalion Sherwood Foresters and had served together in much of the fighting.

Derbyshire Times -  16th September 1915 page 8
Derbyshire Courier, 4th September 1915 page 1
The deaths of Norman and two other local New Whittington men was also reported on the front page of the Derbyshire Courier.  The other two men were Private William Ewart Jacklin and Private James Craig.
Norman was awarded the British War Medal, Victory Medal and 15 Star for his service.
Life went on....
Mary Sweeting remained living in New Whittington until her death in 1927.  Her husband Thomas Sweeting died in 1952.
Elizabeth the sister of Norman married Wilfred Morley in 1913.  She had four sons; Wilfred, Frank, Eric and Cyril and possibly two more daughters.  The family home was 71 Devonshire Avenue, New Whittington.  Elizabeth died in 1949, her husband Wilfred died in 1956.

The Sweeting half siblings -

Hannah married Albert Smith in 1919.  The couple had at least two sons; Thomas in 1921 and Arthur in 1925.  Hannah died in 1970 aged 73 years old.

Gertrude married George Folger in 1927.  She and George had four children; Nellie in 1928, Charles in 1930, Mavis in 1931 and Margaret in 1933.  Gertrude died in 1977, her husband George in 1968.

George Thomas Henry married Lily Fowkes in 1924.  They had two sons; George Ralph born in 1925.  The second named after his heroic uncle, Norman B born in 1927.  It must have been a devastating blow when aged only 1 year old in 1929 little Norman died.  George died in 1986 in Chesterfield.

Charles Henry married Gladys Hewitt in 1930.  They had a son Ronald in 1933 and a daughter Edna in 1935.  Charles died in 1979.

Daisy Agnes married William Wragg in 1931.  She died in 1961.

Harriett & Charlotte have been harder to trace, I have no definite facts at this time.
What became of Norman's father?....
George William Croaysdill appears to have deserted Mary and their two children and joined the army.  He enlisted with the Royal Artillery on 20th January 1893.  Norman would only be months old at this time.  Was the marriage ever annulled or were Mary and George ever divorced or did the marriage never actually take place?  I am afraid I cannot say at this time, but George joined up as "single" and gave his brother John Croaysdill as his next of kin. 
George spent a massive 21 years and 32 days serving with the colours.  He took examinations in shoemaking and was the regimental shoemaker for a time.  He was also a 1st Class Gunner.  He served in far way places such as; India and the sea port of Aden in Yemen.  His character was described as "exemplary".  George was eventually discharged on 18th February 1914. 
George did not settle for long in civilian life as the onset of World War beckoned.... on 22nd October 1914 George signed up again to serve and fight for his country.  George, 43 years old was now a Private in the Royal Garrison Artillery.  Once again he completed far beyond his required term, serving in France with the British Expeditionary Force from 13th December 1914 until 17th February 1919. 
Kelly's Directory 1925
There must have been some rest time for George during WW1 as on 29th September 1917 he married widow Annie Douce.  After his demobilisation in 1919 George set up home at Fritchley in Ambergate, Derby.  He is recorded in the Kelly's Directory of 1925 as being a boot and shoe maker. 
Derby Courier 16th April 1942

Annie died in 1938 and on 15th April 1942 George married Alice Parker at St Augustines Church, Ambergate.   Sadly only a year later on 3rd October 1943 George passed away suddenly at his home Orchard Cottage, Fritchley.  He was 72 years old and buried at Belper Cemetery.
Did George ever see his children Elizabeth and Norman again after he left in 1893?  Did he know that Norman was also serving in WW1?  Did he know that he survived the Great War but his young son wasn't so lucky? 
If you may be connected to this family or have any further information on Norman Croaysdill or his family please do either leave comments via the pen icon or drop me an email.

I hope that I have not given details of living persons, if so please advise and I will remove immediately.

Please note all information has been taken from online indexes and sources.  Due to the sheer numbers of people to be researched I am unable to purchase vital event certificates to confirm my research.
Ref and further reading -

Parish registers
Medal rolls
Soldiers who died in the Great war
Register of soldiers effects
Newspaper articles - Derbyshire Times




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