John Crangle


About John

  • Name
  • Initials
  • Surname
  • Date of Birth
    3 July 1896
  • Birth town
    Seaham Harbour, County Durham
  • Resided town
    Durham and Leeds, Yorkshire
  • Commemorated
  • Nationality
  • Place of death
    Leeds, Yorkshire
  • Date of death
  • Married
  • Occupation

Service Information

  • Army

  • Service Number
  • Rank
  • Regiment
    Royal Field Artillery


John Crangle was born on 3 July 1896 at Seaham Harbour, County Durham to parents John Thomas and Barbara (nee Defty).   In 1901, John (4) was living at 17 Forster Street, South Hetton, Durham with his father John Thomas (32) a stone worker in a coal mine, his mother Barbara (28) and three siblings.  Tragically his father died in a mining accident at South Hetton Colliery on 19 April 1904; “whilst drawing the innermost of the last three props in a jud, a large fall of stone occurred and killed him”.

Barbara re-married in 1906 to James Robert Radley, a dock waterman.  In 1911, John (14) was working at the coal mine driving a pony, was living at 31 Back John Street, Seaham Harbour, with his step-father, mother and five siblings.

John enlisted on 21 August 1914, joining the Royal Field Artillery as a driver.  He joined B Battery, 50th Brigade in February 1915, and was posted to France on 13 July 1915.  On 7 September 1915, whilst at La Bassee, he was wounded by a machine gun bullet to his left arm, resulting in a compound fracture of the left ulna.  The bullet was removed at Boulogne Base Hospital and he was then invalided back to England and sent to Colchester War Hospital where he stayed for five weeks before being transferred to Newcastle-upon-Tyne Hospital for a further six weeks.  He developed nerve paralysis in his arm, which failed to respond to treatment resulting in the fingers of his left hand being in a permanently semi-flexed position.

John was transferred to Class W Army Reserves at the end of July 1916, and a note in his record states that he is to remain in Class W Army Reserves so long as it is necessary to retain him in employment in South Hetton Coal Co, South Hetton, Co Durham.  He was compulsorily transferred to the Home Service Employment Company in July 1917, and joined the 402nd HSEC attached to 37th Reserve Battery RFA in November 1917.  He transferred to Army Reserve Class P in June 1918 and was recalled to colours on 29 November 1918.  He was discharged as permanently unfit on 18 December 1918.  He was awarded the 15 Star and Silver War Badge.

 “Class W Reserve, introduced in June 1916 were ‘for all those soldiers whose services are deemed to be more valuable to the country in civil rather than military employment’. Men in these classes were to receive no emoluments from army funds and were not to wear uniform. They were liable at any time to be recalled to the colours. From the time a man was transferred to Class W, until being recalled to the colours, he was not subject to military discipline.”

“Class P Reserve consisted of men ‘whose services are deemed to be temporarily of more value to the country in civil life rather than in the Army’, were not lower than medical grade C iii and as a result of having served in the Army or TF would, if discharged, be eligible for a pension on the grounds of disability or length of service.  Men in Classes P were, for the purposes of pay, allowances, gratuity and pension, treated as if they been discharged on the date of their transfer to Class P; that is. they did receive money from the Army. Other terms and conditions were as for Class W.”

John married Thomasina Lowes in the Easington District in 1916, but sadly she died in 1918, aged 22.

John married Eliza J Duck in the Easington District in 1923, they had seven children:  Noreen (1924), John (1926), Barbara (1928), Elizabeth (1930), Mavis (1932), Derek (1935) and Brian (1939).  In 1939, John, Eliza and Derek are living at 65 Walton Road, Hemsworth, Yorkshire.  John is working as a coal hewer, which is described as heavy work.  John died in Leeds in 1978, aged 82.

Please get in touch if you can tell us more about John and his family.



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