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  • Christina Drummond

Captain Alexander Basil Crawford (17th [2nd Leeds Pals] Battalion

Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1916, Captain Alexander Basil Crawford (17th [2nd Leeds Pals] Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment [Prince of Wales’ Own]) was killed in action in France. The eldest of three sons of a country doctor, he was an articled solicitor’s clerk; at the outbreak of the war he had already taken charge of a legal practice. He enlisted in the Lincolnshire Regiment, and early in 1915 was given a commission in the Sherwood Foresters, later he was transferred to the West Yorkshire Regiment and promoted to Captain. Sent to France in February of 1916, he was killed by shell fire in the Neuve Chapelle-Ferme du Bois Sector during an outbreak of fresh fighting after a few reportedly quiet days.

Captain Crawford’s Divisional Commander wrote to his parents: "Your boy was doing splendidly. He had been commanding his company for some time and was if anything too brave. He is a great loss to his Regiment, I might say to the Division. I wish we had more like him." His Battalion Commander also wrote: "He was a most able Company Commander, a most gallant man, full of dash and pluck, and would have risen high in the Army." He is buried in the St. Vaast Post Military Cemetery, Richebourg-L’avoue, France. Alexander, of Faringdon in Berkshire, was 24 years old and married.

(The 2nd Leeds Pals was raised in Leeds in December, 1914, by the Lord Mayor and City as a Bantam Battalion for men who were under the regulation minimum height of 5’3” - after initial training they joined 106th Brigade, 35th Division, in June of 1915 at Masham in North Yorkshire, and moved to Salisbury Plain for final training two months later. They arrived in France on 1st February, 1916.)

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