King Edward’s School and the Great War

Memorial Roll of Honour 1914 - 1918


Crichton, John Drummond

Captain ▪ Loyal North Lancashire Regiment

John Drummond Crichton, born on 26th October 1891, was admitted to King Edward’s School as a Foundation Scholar in September 1905. John was the fourth son of William, a merchant, and his wife, Bessie. John’s three older brothers were all Old Edwardians; the oldest, Henry, survived the war but the middle two, Gerald and Ronald, were both killed.

John threw himself into School life with great success: he was a Prefect, Rugby Secretary, 1st XV Vice-Captain (in the same team as JRR Tolkien), Swimming Secretary, Sub-Librarian and House Rugby Captain, and he gained both his rugby and cricket colours in 1910. He was described as “a hard-hitting batsman who becomes clumsy when playing back”.

In September 1910, John entered Christ Church College, Oxford, and on 18th August 1913, aged twenty-one, he embarked on the Minnewaska heading for New York.

In 1914, John enlisted as a Second Lieutenant in the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment. He was wounded three times: first in Gallipoli in August 1915 (in the same month and theatre where his brother Gerald was killed); then on 9th May 1916 at Vimy Ridge, and again in July 1917. He was killed near Frémicourt by shellfire on 22nd March 1918, as part of the German offensive ‘Operation Michael’. His battalion “succeeded in inflicting a great many casualties amongst the enemy, but were overwhelmed by a party of German machine gunners that had broken the line to their left flank. As the German numbers were increasing, the decision was taken to withdraw.” He reached the rank of Captain, and is commemorated on the Arras Memorial and, with his brothers, on St Augustine’s Church Memorial, Edgbaston. His estate of £1,036 was bequeathed to his sister, Marjorie, who applied for his medals in 1920.