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Predicate Object 2002.48.2.4 Collection of Auckland War Memorial Museum Tamaki Paenga Hira, 2002.48.2.4 2017-03-13T00:00:00.000Z 1 2019-10-25T03:46:30.285Z 9C 55 Medal set that belonged to Pte James Crichton VC Private James Crichton, VC (1879-1961) 2nd Battalion Auckland (Countess of Ranfurly’s Own) Regiment James Crichton was born in Carrickfergus, Ireland in 1879 to a Scots Irish family who soon after moved to Scotland. On leaving school James wanted to join the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlander but was two inches too short, and instead worked in Northrig as a miner. A new opportunity to join the Highlanders arose when the need for men to serve in the Anglo-Boer War meant that his height was no longer a problem. While stationed at Edinburgh Castle with the Highlanders James Crichton participated in the Military Tattoo, he also served in Ireland and was in Dublin when he left the Regiment to go mining and in 1905. He then worked as an assistant cable jointer for the Post & Telegraph until 1907 when he sailed for Canada. Over this time and until 1911 he remained with the British Army Reserve (Cameron Highlanders). When war broke out in 1914 James Crichton was in New Zealand working in Auckland as a cable jointer. He enlisted as a corporal in the NZ Army Service and embarked for Egypt with the Main Body. James took part in the Gallipoli Landing in 1915 and served in France from April 1916. In April 1918, while serving as a warrant officer with 1 NZ Field Bakery, James Crichton voluntarily relinquished his rank and transferred as a private to the Auckland Infantry Regiment. He was with the Auckland Regiment in September 1918, when he was awarded the Victoria Cross for an action at Crevecoeur on 30 September 1918. Citation: “For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty at Crevecoeur, 30/9/18, when, although wounded in the foot, he continued with the advancing troops, despite difficult obstacles in canal and river. When his platoon was subsequently forced back by a counter-attack, he succeeded in carrying a message which involved swimming a river and crossing an area swept by machine-gun fire, subsequently rejoining his platoon. Later he undertook on his own initiative, to save a bridge that had been mined, and though under close fire from machine-guns and snipers, he succeeded in removing the charges, returning with the fuse and detonators. Though suffering from a painful wound, he displayed the highest degree of valour and devotion to duty.” James Crichton returned to New Zealand where, in 1919, he met and married Amy Howe, who had previously been married to Frederick Watkins, Auckland Regiment 30883, who was killed at Messines in 1917. James and Amy Crichton had a home in Takapuna where they lived for the rest of their lives. They had two children – Velda, born 1921 and Hazel, born 1922. James worked for the Post and Telegraph Department as a cable jointer until his retirement in 1939-40. In 1937 he was part of the NZ Military Forces Coronation Contingent. During World War 2 he served with the Home Guard, but also worked passage on a Merchant Ship back to the United Kingdom. James Crichton died in Auckland in 1961. Information supplied by Velda and Hazel Crichton Victory Medal 1914-19, WW1 Awarded to 14/131 James Crichton circular bronze medal with ribbon; fixed loop and ring suspension obverse: the winged, full-length figure of Victory, with her arm extended and holding a palm branch in her right hand reverse: inscription: ‘THE GREAT WAR FOR CIVILIZATION, 1914-1919’ surrounded by a wreath ribbon: watered colours of red, yellow, green, blue and violet merging into a rainbow pattern named on edge: 14/131 PTE. J. CRICHTON N.Z.E.F. medal, campaign
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