2nd Lieutenant John Crawford Cunningham

Rank or Title

Date of Birth

Oct 1894

Date of Death

27 Aug 1964

Media files and documents

War time / or Pre War occupation


Service Number


Place of Birth

United Kingdom

World War I Address

10 Westbourne Road
United Kingdom

Place of Death

Luton & Dunstable Hospital
Lewsey Road
United Kingdom

Grave Location

United Kingdom

Soldier or Civilian

  • Soldier

John Crawford Cunningham was born in Luton in 1894.

In 1901 aged 6 years old he is living with his family at no 16 Gladstone Avenue.

His father John Christopher is 39 & a travelling drapery & clothing retailer, his mother Clara is 40 & at home looking after John Crawford & his siblings, 12 year old Christopher Angus, 9 year old Margaret Eva, 8 year old Alice Jean & Ronald who is 1.

In 1911 John is living with his family at No 10 Westbourne Road, he is 16 years old & working as a junior accounts clark.

John enlisted in to the Bedfordshire Yeomany when war broke out, but was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant of the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry by the end.

In March 1918 he was in Enghien, Belgium defending the redoubt with the 2/4th Oxford & Bucks Light Infantry. From early morning on 21st March the Germans were firing a constant barrage of shells & gas. The British defended the garrison as best they could with John Crawford & Lieutenant Richards, the last remaining officers,  manning the machine guns at one point & sending messages to battalion headquarters for orders, but none came due to the cable, buried 8ft below ground, being destroyed. By 4.30 that afternoon the Germans had them surrounded & they were taken prisoner.

John Crawford was sent to Holtzminden Prisoner of war camp in Lower Saxony, Germany, where he remained for the rest of the war. Here he learned that he was awarded the DSO for gallantry. When he was released from the camp he apparently stole the camp's German Imperial Flag, which is still kept in the family.

After the war he resumed work in the family drapery business.

He married Ada Adams in September 1919, they had two sons John Anthony & Robert Joseph.

When war broke out in 1939 John Crawford became a Factory Defence Officer at the Luton Percival Aircraft Factory & an active member of the Home Guard. In January 1941 he was awarded the George Medal for defusing an unexploded parachute mine during an air raid on the factory, where he remained until 1954.

John Crawford died at the Luton & Dunstable Hospital in August 1964, he was living at 45 St Margaret's Avenue at this time.

Individual Location

Author: KarenC

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