|Royal Fusiliers||PS/4709||20th Battalion
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
Derbyshire Courier, 2 December 1916
FRITCHLEY NCO’S DEATH FROM WOUNDS
The 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
CRICH FUSILIER'S DEATH
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.
|Name||CROFT, WALTER LUCAS|
|Date of Death||17/11/16|
|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.|
|Cemetery||ETAPLES MILITARY CEMETERY|
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
|Katherine E. M.||Croft||daughter||5||Derby|
RG13 piece 3223 folio 181 page 16
|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|
RG14PN20940 RG78PN1247B RD435 SD2 ED69 SN290