Dedicated to the memory of all the men and women of the Bridgnorth area who died during the two World Wars.
There appears to be very little evidence of this Croft family in the Bridgnorth Area. They lived for a while in Oldbury Wells but moved there after the 1911 census was taken. James' Commonwealth War Graves record gives the address of a sister living in Lincolnshire. The service record of James' brother, Harold (43758, KSLI) confirms that the family came from Lincolnshire and had lived at 2 Oldbury Terrace, Oldbury Wells.
James Croft was born at Toynton All Saints - a small village just outside Spilsby, Lincolnshire, in 1891. He was baptised there on the 13th of August. He was the son of James Croft, a postman, and his wife Annie. He had three brothers, Harold, Percy and Gerald, and two sisters, Dora and Edna. By 1911 the family had moved to Alfreton, Derbyshire, where James senior was working as a postman and his older sons were working at the colliery.
A little later, some of the family moved on to Bridgnorth. James junior was living in the town when he enlisted at Shrewsbury. He served in the 20th Middlesex (Duke of Cambridge's Own) Regiment. He was killed in action on 28th September, 1918 - the first day of the fifth Battle of Ypres, the final major battle on the Western front. He is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial.
Sadly, James' father and his brother, Percy, both died of pneumonia soon after. Their death notices appeared together in the Bridgnorth Journal of 7th December, 1918:
CROFT. - On September 28th, killed in action in France. James, eldest and dearly loved son of Mrs. Croft, Oldbury Wells, Bridgnorth, aged 27 years. "Thy will be done."
CROFT. - On the 19th ult., at Oldbury Wells, Bridgnorth, of pneumonia, Percy, the dearly loved son of Mrs Croft, aged 23 years. "His end was peace."
CROFT. - On the 26th ult., at Oldbury Wells, Bridgnorth, of pneumonia, James, the dearly beloved husband of Mrs. Croft, aged 53 years.
"Into Thy hands, O Lord, I come.
Brief life is o'er, the battle won."
After so many deaths, Annie appears to have moved back to Lincolnshire where she died the following year.
Private Croft, G/62018, was awarded the Victory and British medals.
This memorial has mostly been compiled from official sources. It would be good to be able to expand it with more personal material - memories, stories, photos, etc. If you have any suitable material or any corrections please contact Greg. For news of updates follow @BridgnorthHeros on Twitter.