Pte Robert Crossland (photographs; letters; postcards)



Pte Robert Crossland (photographs; letters; postcards)


Pte Robert Crossland


Regimental photographs; letters from Colsterdale Camp; wedding photo; 2 postcards from RMS Ascania.


Robert was the great uncle of Menston resident Robert Crossland (he was named after his great uncle).

Private Robert Crossland was born on the 2nd May 1889 to James William band Ann Crossland and lived with his Brother William Issac and two sisters, Agnes and Jenny at 11 Fourth Avenue, New Wortley, Leeds 12. His occupation, at the time of the 1911 census, was recorded as cloth drawer. He married Clarice Amelia Swales (Cissie) on the 26th December 1914 in the Wesleyan Chapel, Holbeck, Leeds.

Before the war, Robert was a keen cricketer, having been part of the Holbeck A Team who were Leeds League Winners in 1913.

Robert enlisted into the 248 ‘D’ Coy. 15th Bn. West Yorkshire Regiment (Prince of Wales Own), Service Number 248 which suggests he volunteered within the first few days of the conflict. Following training, he was put into ‘D’ Coy N. 16 Platoon and commenced training in September 1914 at Colsterdale. In a letter home to his Brother Will dated 10th March 1915 he wrote saying “we are training very hard now and last Thursday we walked to Leyburn in Wensleydale. Wensleydale is fine country and the snow capped hills towering above the green fields looked well. On Monday we walked to Bedale and were a trifle footsore”. He goes on to say “I think it is time we were taught to shoot with service rifles and have received a few articles of clothing and kit at last."

The ‘Pals’ left Colsterdale on 7th December 1915 and set sail to Egypt to defend the Suez Canal from the threat of the Ottoman Empire, arriving on the 22nd December 1915. The company left Port Said for Marseilles en route to the Western Front on the 1st March 1916 on the Cunard RMS Ascania and arrived on 8th March 1916. In a postcard sent to his brother Will dated 10th March having arrived in Marseille, Robert described the journey as a ‘pleasant voyage’.

On the 1st July 1916, the first day of the Battle of the Somme, the Battalion sustained heavy losses in the first few minutes of the attack.

Robert was taken prisoner on the 27th March 1918 at Ervillers and arrived from the Western Front at Parchim as a POW. At the end of August, he was moved to Meschede POW camp where he died on the 18th November 1918, just seven days after the Armistice. Red Cross documentation details the cause of death as pneumonia.

Robert was awarded campaign medals – the 15 Star, Victory Medal and the British War Medal.

Memorial: Niederzwehren Cemetery, Germany. Ref. E.12


Dec. 1915 - Nov. 1918


Egypt, Somme, Ervillers, Parchim and Meschede POW camps


Barbara Crossland

Collection Day

November 3 2018 Menston

This item was submitted on February 6, 2019