STORIES SEEN THROUGH A GLASS PLATE

H07900 — Crock Group of 4, 1915

Box 78

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This photograph shows the Crock family in 1915: they lost four of their five sons in the war. Thomas had died by 1915, William died in 1917, George and Samuel died in 1918. All four brothers are commemorated on the War Memorial. At the unveiling of the War Memorial, their father replied to a dignitary who asked if he was proud of his sons, that he would be prouder if he had all his sons standing beside him.

 

‘In the course of five weeks Mr and Mrs G Crock, Mount Place, Lewes have suffered a double bereavement, and during the war their family have paid an unusually heavy toll… since the outbreak of war four sons have passed away’ the Sussex Express reported in October 1918.

 

Five of their sons served in WW1. In Autumn 1914 Private Amos Crocks was severely injured in the Allied retreat from Mons, Belgium. He survived, and escaped further service. He wrote to his parents from hospital: “Just a line to let you know I have arrived back in England. I had two gunshot wounds in the back, but they are a lot better now…”

That September, his brother Thomas, a 39 year old who had been in the Navy since he was a teenager, died when HMS Aboukir was torpedoed and sunk. Thomas lived with his parents at 6 Mount Place, as did his younger brother William Henry Crock. He was killed in 1917, aged 32, in the Battle of Arras.

 

Corporal George Crock lived in St John’s Terrace and worked for the Beard and Co Brewery in Star Lane. He had served in the Boer War, and reenlisted in April 1917. He died in France in September 1918, aged 35. He was ‘killed by a shell while he was writing a letter to his wife’ the Sussex Express said.

 

The following month, Samuel Crock, a 41 year old farrier who lived on Malling Street, died while serving in Greece.

At the unveiling of the War Memorial there was a wreath that read ‘ In loving memory, from Dad, Amos and Nellie, for William, Thomas, George and Samuel Crock.’

 

When the rector asked the father after the ceremony ‘You must be proud today?” Mr Crock replied “What have I got to be proud about? If those names were not on the war memorial and my sons were standing here with me, then I would be a proud man”

 

This article first appeared in Viva Lewes in November 2012 – additional information from the Sussex Express Lewes Edition.