Walter Lucas Croft (1893–1916)


Royal Fusiliers PS/4709 20th Battalion

Derbyshire Times
9 Dec 1916

Wlater Croft photograph

Born at Derby Walter moved to live at Fritchley where, with Henry Sargent, he attended Watkins’ private school on Crich Common. A sportsman, he played hockey for the County. He was employed by Midland Railway before his war service. Enlisting in 1914 he was wounded in 1915 and hospitalised in the UK. On returning to his battalion he was further wounded and died of his injuries at Etaples in November 1916. He was a proficient bomber and signaller.

Medal Index Record
Awarded Victory, British War and 15 Star Medals

Newspaper reports

Derbyshire Courier, 2 December 1916
Walter CroftThe prospects of a successful career have been cut short by the death of Cpl Walter Lucas Croft, of Fritchley and Derby, which took place in hospital at Etaples, France, on 17 November the result of wounds received in action a week or two previously. The official intimation, which reached his parents on Wednesday week from the War Office, came as a shock, as in the letter received from him short time before, he spoke quite cheerfully with regard to his wounds, and his sturdy physique was confidently expected to pull him through. Cpl Croft, who was 22, was the only son of Mr and Mrs James Croft, of Camp Cottage, Fritchley. He enlisted at the beginning of the war, and passed through a lot of fighting. Last year he was wounded and was invalid over to England and afterwards went to Scotland, where he became an expert in bombing. He, however, had the duties of a signaller, and it is supposed that it was whilst discharging these duties that he received the wounds which proved fatal. He was wounded down the left side from head to knee. Prior to the war he had been a privileged pupil on the Midland Railway at Derby, and afterwards was at Manchester. He was keenly devoted to mechanics, and excelled in their study. Before going to Derby he was a pupil of Mr William A Watkins at his private school on Crich Common. He is the second Fritchley pupil of Mr Watkins who has made the supreme sacrifice in the war. The other was Second Lieutenant Henry W Sargent, who died of wounds received in France last July.

Derbyshire Times 9 December 1916
The following further particulars regarding the only son of Mr and Mrs James Croft will be of interest to Crich and Fritchley residents: – Corpl. Walter Lucas Croft, of the Royal Fusiliers, P. S. well known in Fritchley, Crich and Ambergate, died on the 17th November at Etaples as the result of wounds from shrapnel. Corporal Croft was wounded twelve days previously and his last letter of a few lines to his parents, written on the 11th, spoke confidently of looking forward to being in England by Christmas. However, complications set in which terminated fatally. Twenty-three years of age in October last, Corporal Croft had spent his 21st birthday as a soldier of the King. He was educated at the private school of Mr W.A. Watkins, at Crich Common, and was afterwards for 2½ years with the Midland Railway Company at their Locomotive Works in Derby, as a privileged apprentice, subsequently going to Manchester to Messrs Maradon, newspaper manufacturers. He joined the forces in September 1914, arriving in France with his Battalion in November last year. He was back in England wounded in February returning to France in June last. The more technical part of a soldier's career appealed to Corporal Croft and he was proficient as a bomber and a signaller. As a hockey player he showed considerable promise, on several occasions before the War being selected to represent his native county in the Hockey Associations matches.

Walter Lucas Croft is a slight oddity. His name does not appear on the Roll of Honour but it is on the War Memorial outside St Mary's Church.

Crich war Memorial

Crich War Memorial outside St Mary's Church

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Initials W L
Nationality United Kingdom
Rank Corporal
Regiment/Service Royal Fusiliers
Unit 20th Bn.
Age 23
Date of Death 17/11/16
Service No PS/4709
Additional Information Only son of James and Edith Amelia Croft, of 27, Mount Carmel St., Derby.
Casualty type Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference XII. E. 8A.

War Graves Certificate for Walter Croft

WW1 headstone for Walter Croft

PD/4709 Corporal Walter Lucan Croft
Royal Fusiliers
17th November 1916

Soldiers' Effects Book
Walter Lucus (sic) Croft; 20 Bn Royal Fusiliers; Corporal 4709; died 17.11.16 France; War Gratuity £10 10s 0d; paid out to:
5.5.17 father James £6 19s 5d
14.10.19 father James £10 10s 0d


1901: Derby

Forename Surname Relationship Age Occupation Where born
James Croft Head 37 Railway Dogdyke
Edith A Croft wife 37   Bath
Walter L Croft son 7   Derby
Katherine E. M. Croft daughter 5   Derby
Edith M. Croft daughter 3   Derby
Lucy Fox servant 16 Servant domestic Derby

RG13 piece 3223 folio 181 page 16

1911: Derby

Forename Surname Relationship Age Occupation Where born
James Croft Head 47 Railway Clerk Dogdyke
Edith A Croft wife 48   Bath
Walter L Croft son 17 Apprentice loco engineer Derby
Katherine E M Croft daughter 15 School girl Derby
Edith Mary Croft daughter 13 School girl Derby
Beatrice Lee mothers help 19 Farmer Wingfield

RG14PN20940 RG78PN1247B RD435 SD2 ED69 SN290