Rank or Title
Date of Birth
Date of Death
21 Mar 1918
War time / or Pre War occupation
Place of Birth
World War I Address
Place of Death
War Memorial Location
Soldier or Civilian
Pte Ralph Crawley, 225040, at Battalion London Regiment (Royal Fusiliers) was reported missing, presume killed, in action in France on March 21st, 1918, on the opening day of the German spring offensive.
Confirmation of his death finally arrived in September 1919 when a letter and photographs were sent to Pte Crawley's parents by Lieut A. H. Renny, attached to the 22nd Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers and with the Army of the Rhine. He wrote that the items were handed to him by a German ex-sergeant-major, who said he took them from the body of Pte Crawley, which was found in a front-line trench at Franecy, on the Oise by La Fere, St Quentin, on March 22nd. The German soldier also said that Pte Crawley had been killed by a hand grenade. His body was buried nearby.
Ralph had joined the West Kent Yeomanry in January 1915, but went out to France with the East Surrey Regiment on April 24th, 1917. A few weeks later he was transferred to the Royal Fusiliers, and was wounded in the left hand on July 31st.
He was sent to a convalescent camp in France, where he stayed for some weeks, but on returning to active service was wounded again - this time in the left arm, a bullet passing right through the arm just above the elbow but without touching the bone.
Pte Crawley was brought to hospital in England in November 1917, and came home on ten days' leave the following January.
Before enlisting, Ralph Crawley was an employee in the warehouse of straw hat manufacturer Frank Harden Ltd, of Bute Street.
Born in Luton in 1890, a son of Harry and Amy Gertrude Crawley, of 12 Rothesay Road, Ralph had married Maude Nellie Field at St Matthew's Church, Luton, on May 22nd, 1915. They had a son, Maurice Ralph, born the following year.
A younger brother, Pte Harry Crawley (205822, 4th Bedfords) was killed in action on October 30th, 1917. Both brothers are commemorated on the Luton Roll of Honour/ Luton War Memorial.