Gunner Stanley Maxwell Crewes

Date of Birth c. 1896
Age at Death 21
Date of Death 11 May 1917
Service Number 955135
Military Service 15th Battalion, Royal Field Artillery
Merton Address Post Office, 19 Upper Green, Upper Mitcham
Local Memorial St. Mark's Church, Mitcham

Additional Information

Born in Bradford, Yorkshire in 1896, Stanley was the only son of grocer Edward Crewes and his wife Lydia, who both originated from Cornwall. The couple also had a younger daughter Millicent, who sadly died in 1904, aged 5.

By 1911 Edward was running a Sub Post Office and grocers on Upper Green, Mitcham. His family was living above the shop. Stanley was now working as a clerk in the offices of the North Western Uruguay Railway. This was one of five original rail systems in the South American country and had a London office from 1882. Stanley appears to have been an industrious soul – in addition to being a Sunday School teacher, he was also a member of the choir and played the organ at the United Methodist Church on Lower Green, Mitcham.

Stanley enlisted at Brixton on 16 April 1913, aged 17. He joined the Royal Field Artillery as a Gunner and served with the 6th London Territorial Reserves. Records describe him as 5 feet, 11 inches tall, with good vision and physical development. At some point during his army service, he applied for a transfer to a different Battery as ‘his chums were there and their drill night was more convenient’. He also asked to become a signaller, rather than a gunner. It seems that this request was denied as his service records remained unchanged at the time of his death.

With the outbreak of war, Stanley’s unit was mobilised and he spent the first twelve months in camp, where he ‘made himself of great service to his Officers’. He was eventually sent to France on 11 September 1915, serving with 15th Brigade’s ‘A’ Battery. Whilst there, he suffered a slight wound to the head, and ‘trench feet’. This was a common ailment amongst the troops and resulted from prolonged exposure of the feet to damp, unsanitary and cold conditions in the trenches.

Stanley saw action at the Battle of Loos (25 September 1915) and the Battle of the Somme (1 July – 18 November 1916). He was killed in action on 11 May 1917, whilst supporting the Canadian Troops in the Battle of Vimy Ridge. Part of the Battle of Arras (9 – 12 April 1917), this offensive involved the Canadian Corps and the German Sixth Army.

Stanley is buried in the Bois-Carre British Cemetery, Thelus, Pas De Calais, France. His headstone reads “Highly Respected at Mitcham, Surrey”. His name also appears on the Mitcham War Memorial.

Stanley’s mother Lydia wrote to the Records Office at Woolwich in 1921, stating that she had not received his General Service Medal and Plaque Scroll. She also asked that his Service No. 1057 appear on the inscriptions, as she did not recognise 955135 shown on his records. This was probably due to the fact that 1057 was the number allocated on enlistment, but Stanley had been issued with a new service number upon mobilisation for war service.


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