Samuel Richard Crook
Crook, Sergeant Samuel Richard no. 11881
9th Field Ambulance, Army Medical Corps B Section MM
“Sherwood” Hardy & Princess Street, Canterbury.
Born 1883 at Leichhardt, son of Thomas Ware & Emily Crook.
Lived in Leichhardt, educated at Leichhardt School.
Served in the Volunteer Army Service Corps.
Enlisted 10/8/1915, aged 32.
Next of kin, father, Thomas Crook, Hardy and Princess Street, Canterbury.
Embarked from Sydney 1/5/1916 per HMAT A24 Benalla.
SMH 28/7/1917: The Military Medal has been awarded to Sergeant Samuel Richard Crook, of the Field Ambulance, for conduct officially described as follows:- (AWM 3rd Division 26/4/1917 -10/5/1917) He was at Charing Cross Advanced Dressing Station (map ref U19.dL5) (Sheet 28) during a heavy bombardment on the nights of May 5 and 6. He lost no opportunity of seeing to the safety and comfort o f the personnel and patients. Under a heavy shell fire of high explosions and shrapnel (20 shell holes are within a 50 yards radius of the dressing station) he assisted at, and directed, the removal of patients to places of safety. Later on he led a party to repair holes caused by shells in the road, and the removal of broken trees, etc. He showed throughout disregard to personal safety in devotion to his duty.
Sergeant Crook is the second son of Mr T.W. Crook, “Sherwood”, Hardy and Princess Streets, Hurlstone Park. The youngest son is also at the front, another having returned.
Casualty list SMH 6/12/1917 Killed in Action 13/10/1917.
Killed in action at Passchendaele 13/10/1917 aged 34 years.
Memorial on the Menin Gate.
AWM File EDRL428 Letters to the British Red Cross re Australian Servicemen:
Private William V. Holtsbaum no. 11987 9th Field Ambulance AIF, Bath War Hospital (31 Alexander Street, Hornsby), 24/12/1917: Lance Corporal E. G. Carroll told me that he was standing close by when a shell burst right in the lean to where Crook was and killed him. They had to evacuate shortly afterwards and had no chance o f burying him. Known as “Sam ”.
Private M.M. Cox no. 11937 9th Field Ambulance, Westham, 27/12/1917: Crook was killed outright by a shell just outside a p ill box in front of Passchendaele about that date. His body was not recovered, but I would not like his relatives to know that. I did not see him killed[ but heard from the boys that saw him and were with him and told me, and could give particulars. (Lance-Corporal Nance)
Lance Corporal NT. Allardice no. 11897 9th Field Ambulance, Harefield, 4/1/1918: He was a Sergeant when killed He was standing outside a pillbox at a place called Berlin Wood. He had 15 stretcher cases there at the time. A shell came over and killed the whole lot. Blew the top o f his head off. I saw him dead He was simply idolised by every man in the unit. Not a man but would have done anything for him. He and I were talking about 2 or 3 that morning and he said 13 was his lucky number. He was born and engaged on a 13th and he met his death on 13th October 1917. He went up in charge of 12 stretcher bearers himself the 13th. Everybody mourned his loss from the C.O. down to the youngest boy in the unit. He had the Military Medal. Came from NSW.
Staff Sergeant B.A. Hill no.12317 10th Field Ambulance, AIF Dental Department, Beech House Hospital, The Avenue, N.W.6 7/1/1918: I saw Sergeant Crook's grave in Ypres Prison Cemetery in October. Sergeant Wilton (9th Field Ambulance) saw him killed by a shell and then saw him buried Height: about 5ft lOins.
Lance Corporal E.G. Carroll 9th Field Ambulance, 8/3/1918: Sergeant Crook took a party of 50 up to Berlin Wood, (an Aid Post) about 150 yards off the German Line near Passchendaele. Things were very quiet during the morning. About 3pm Sergeant Crook was slightly wounded, was attended to, then went out again. By this time the shelling had become very heavy; and there were about 10 wounded men lying close to the Pill Box there, when a H. E. Shell landed, killing 8 of the 10 wounded, and two or three others, including Sergeant Crook, while others near were wounded or badly shaken. I was very much shaken at the time, so did not look at Crook, but knew that he was killed instantaneously. I got another man to take his personal effects off the body and hand them to me and I took them back to the unit. There was no chance whatever, owing to the exposed position we were holding, o f bringing the bodies back, so they would be buried where they fell. He was most popular, and loved by all, in fact when it was learned that Sergeant Crook had been killed, it broke up some of the boys completely I have written to my people who live near Sergeant Crook's people telling them all I know. I do not think Staff Sergeant B.A. Hill’s report is correct, for as I said, having been killed at an advanced position and his body not being brought back for burial he could not have been buried in the Ypres Prison Cemetery. Information to AWM from Thomas W. Crook, father, c/- C.Gardner, “Kelvin” Drummoyne Avenue, Drummoyne.
Other member of family to serve: Bert A. Crook, Church Street, Canterbury.
AWM Neg. No.P01988.001 Studio portrait of Sergeant Samuel Richard Crook MM, 9th Field Ambulance and Sapper Harry Erie Cantle 7th Field Co Engineers.
Tele/Mirror list 11/11/1993 Killed in Action 13/10/1917.
Australian War Memorial record available at: https://www.awm.gov.au/people/rolls/R1839905/ [accessed 25/11/2016]
The foundation of the information on this page was copied from the prize winning publication Canterbury's boys : World War I & Sydney's suburban fringe. This book is the culmination of 12 years (1988-2000) research by a team of volunteers from Canterbury and District Historical Society led by Dr Lesley Muir. Without this team's effort and dedication and the Society's willingness and support, this information would not be available today.
An uneditable version of the book boys : World War I & Sydney's suburban fringe is in the eBook section of this wiki. In the main section, there is an alphabetical list of the 1,911 names in the book with a link to the biography copied from the book about each individual. The alphabetical list is titled Canterbury's Boys list. The biographical files are editable, created to provide the space for descendants, historians, researchers, etc to contribute any further information, photographs, newspaper articles, memories, etc. they may have discovered so it is available for this and future generations.
Canterbury's boys : World War I & Sydney's suburban fringe. Edited by Lesley Muir. Campsie, N.S.W. : Canterbury and District Historical Society, 2002