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Francis McCracken, Private James Crichton, VC, 1920-1921

Ref: AAAC 898 NCWA 528

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Born in Carrickfergus, Ireland, James Crichton (1879-1961) had served in the South African War with the Cameron Highland Regiment prior to coming to New Zealand. He joined the New Zealand Expeditionary Force at the outbreak of World War I, and sailed with the Main Body. Initially a Warrant Officer with the 1st Field Bakery, Army Service Corps, Crichton served in Gallipoli and France before requesting a transfer to an infantry unit in April 1918. Crichton received the Victoria Cross for "most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty" at Crevecoeur, France on 30 September 1918. His platoon, crossing the Scheldt River, was cut off and under heavy fire. Crichton volunteered to take a message back to his company headquarters, which required him to swim across the river and cover open ground. Having done this, he returned to his platoon and defused a bomb that was attached to a vital bridge. He again swam across the river and returned to company headquarters to inform them that the bridge was safe for crossing. All of these actions were performed by Private Crichton while his foot was wounded.

Oil, 1220 x 865mm
Western Front; France
Medals: Victoria Cross

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