Charles L Crane

Name Charles Lewis Crane*
Corps Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, formerly Leicestershire Regiment  2/4th, 1/4th, 1/5th Battalions
Rank Private
Service No. 206815, formerly 3297
Date/Place of entry 1915
Date of death 1934

*(Another Charles Lewis Crane was born in Cottingham in 1886 but he was in a reserved occupation, and his family confirm he was never in the armed forces.)

Lewis Charles Crane was born in 1896 in Leicester, the second child of nine children of George Crane and his wife ¬†Florence nee Orpen. He was known thereafter as Charles. George senior initially worked as a clicker in the Leicester shoe trade but later turned to labouring. His father was John Crane, a bricklayer’s labourer from Cottingham who moved to Leicester around 1870 like many other members of the Crane family.

Charles was an errand boy in 1911 and volunteered for the Territorial Force in the Leicestershire Regiment some time before the summer of 1915. (He is the only man with the name Charles L who was the right age for military service and was living in Leicestershire at the time.) His elder brother George also served in the Leicestershire Regiment.

Medal records show Charles served in the 2/4th, 1/4th and 1/5th battalions of the Territorial Force before transferring into the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry. Unfortunately no service record or pension record survives so there’s no way of knowing when these various transfers took place. However the medal records do tell us he landed in France on 30 June 1915, and was discharged on 1 May 1919. He received the Silver Medal badge so he must have been wounded at some point.

The 2/4th Battalion was formed in September 1914 as a second line unit. In August 1915 it became a unit of the 177th Brigade, 59th (2nd North Midland) Division and the following April moved to Ireland. It did not go to France until February 1917 and returned to England in May 1918 with the 16th Division. In June it was absorbed by the 14th Battalion.

The 1/4th Battalion was part of the North Midland Division and landed at Le Havre in March 1915. In May it became part of the 138th Brigade, 46th (North Midland) Division. 1/5th Battalion landed at Le Havre in February 1915 and afterwards had the same record as 1/4th Battalion. We do not know into which battalion of the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry Charles Lewis was transferred. Several of them fought in France.

In June 1919 following his discharge, Charles Lewis married Patience Kirk in Overseal in South Derbyshire, just across the Leicestershire border near Ashby de la Zouche. She may have been a relative of his uncle Lewis’s wife Alice Kirk, who lived nearby at Ashby Woulds. Charles Lewis and Patience had several children.

A few days before Christmas 1934, Charles Lewis died in hospital following a mining accident. He was crushed by a heavy fall of coal that occurred when he was helping to move coal cutting machinery along the coal face at Netherseal Colliery. His widow Patience married again in 1936.

He was related to over thirty servicemen descended from the Crane families of Cottingham. Their surnames were Crane, Coles, Wade, Martin, Sculthorpe, Blount, Groocock, Timson, Crook, Allett and Scott.