Info 4h, Thomas bertram Cranswick 1887-1917 Close info Window

voter list, 1914 Bay of Plenty, Thomas bertram Cranswick, Waimata Valley, Fencer
NZEF Roll 1914
10/2564  Private CRANSWICK, Thomas Bertram, single, Waitama Valley, Gisbourne
         Sixth Wellington Infantry Batalion, 
         Mr. J. Cranswick (father)  Field House, Hunmanby, Yorks

Description of  Cranswick, Thomas Bertram on Enlistment

Apparent age   27 years -----months
Height:        5 feet  10 inches
Weight;        140 lb
Chest;         Minimum 32 inches
               Maximum 35 inches
Complexion;    Dark 
Color of Eyes  Light Brown
Religion;       C of E.

Elisted;       17th  day of  APRIL 1915 at Trentham
Joined;        B Coy 6 Wgt Inf  
Regimental No. 10/2564

Evening Post, 5th January 1916
Sick and Wounded
Disembarked Malta 26th Dec.
Slightly Sick;
Wellington Battallion:-
Pte. Thomas Bertram Cranswick, 10/2564

Greymouth Evening Star 15th February 1916
Admitted to Hospital, Walton on Thames
Wellington Battalion
Private B. Cranswick

Otago Daily Times 29th april 1916
WORK DURING JANUARY. (From Our Own Correspondent.)
LONDON, February 11. H.R..H. Prince & Louise paid a surprise visit to the New Zealand Hospital at Walton-on-Thames on January 2,9, and expressed her pleasure at everything she had seen in the building.

Since the hospital waa extended no fewer than 526 patients have been admitted, and 272 haye been discharged; while, on January 31, there were 254 wounded men in hospital as compared with 100 on the last day of tho old year;

During last month a number of gifts were received for the hospital, the chief one being a very acceptable consignment of game from his Majesty the King.
The Anaesthetists Emergency Fund sent a further supply of chloroform, ether, and peroxide of hydrogen. The Victoria Leaguo of Auckland, through Mrs Edmunds, of the Kohu Kohu branch sent the sum of £20, and the St. John Ambulance Association. Christchurch, notify that 10 cases of Red Cross goods have been despatched by the Orari.

Owing to the transference of nearly all New Zealand patients in London to the hospital at Walton, the work of the Visiting Committee has suddenly become very much lighter. It is estimated that, exclusive of the men at Walton and at Woodcote Park, there are now only about 200 soldiers in all the other hospitals in England.
Consequently, the activities of the committee are now on a much smaller scale. There are still some 2260 New Zealand soldiers in this country
l66o at Hornchurch and the other 1000 at Walton, Woodcote Park, and on furlough.

During the six months—July to December 31 —the Ladies' Visiting Committee of the association expended a sum of £2581, the chief items being:—
Razors, strops, soap and other toilet requisites, supplied to soldiers, £659; shirts and underwear, £743; tobacco, cigarettes, and. pipes, £651; handkerchiefs, writing materials, stamps, and small comforts, £174; advance to two official visitors, to be spent in buying delicacies for soldiers in hospitals, £72; special Christmas gifts to soldiers, £62.

Now that the extensions of the New Zealand Hospital at Walton are open for patients, there are quite a large number of our men there, and all welcome, the change; they are happier together than is possible when a few men are together in hospitals situated all over the kingdom. The latest list issued by the adjutant consists of the following names:— (snip...) Cranswick, Thomas, 10/2564;

Timaru Herald 21st June 1917
Casualty List, Killed in Action
June 3rd-9th Cranswick, Thos. B. (Yorkshire)
North Otago Times 21st June 1917
Roll of Honour
Cranswick, Thos. Bertram (John Cranswick, Yorkshire, Father)

Enlistment Address: 
Waimata Valley, Gisborne, New Zealand
Armed Force: Army
Unit:  NZEF, Wellington Regiment, 1 Battalion

Embarkation Body:   6th Reinforcements
Embarkation Place:  Wellington, New Zealand
Embarkment Date:    14 August 1915

Private 10/2564
Thomas Bertam Cranswick aged 29
Killed in Action, Thursday 7th june 1917  Messines Ridge
Wellington Regiment, N.Z.E.F.


Thomas Bertram Cranswick's last action, 7th June 1917 Messinnes Ridge

The plan for the assault on Messines Ridge provided for three corps to advance, each with three divisions in the front line and one in reserve, on a 16-km front. Lieutenant-General Godley's II Anzac Corps would be the southernmost, facing Messines. Godley ensured that the objective of the New Zealand Division, in the centre of his corps front and flanked by a British and an Australian division, would be the ruins of the village.     GWGC logo

During the preceding two years, tunnellers had been toiling away, running shafts under the German front line. These would now be utilised to explode huge mines under the enemy positions at the beginning of the attack. Some New Zealand infantrymen were attached to British and Australian tunnelling units in early 1917 to help complete this work. In all 22 mines were readied (in the event, 19 exploded). None were on the New Zealand Division’s front.

Meanwhile extensive preparations were made for the attack. Messines would be arguably the best-prepared attack made by the British Expeditionary Force on the Western Front. Jumping-off trenches were dug at night, transport facilities were developed and material was stockpiled. Infantrymen practised the assault behind the lines on ground similar to that they would traverse. All the while the gunners battered the enemy front line, as well as searching for and neutralising German artillery batteries. They also prepared a creeping barrage for the assault that was far more sophisticated than that used on the Somme in 1916.

The attack was a striking success. Heralded by the awe-inspiring thunder of the mine explosions, the men of nine divisions set off forward at 3.10 a.m. on 7 June 1917. In the New Zealanders’ sector, as in the others, there was little immediate enemy artillery fire, so well had the artillery suppression plan worked. The leading elements were across no-man’s-land before the German gunners began to respond.

The New Zealand units in the vanguard, two battalions each of 2nd and 3rd (Rifle) Brigades, were soon in the ruins of Messines, mopping up dazed and demoralised Germans. With everything going to schedule, the New Zealanders had cleared Messines of the enemy by 7 a.m. Rifles NCO Samuel Frickleton won a Victoria Cross for his exploits during this fighting.

The next stage of the plan, to push forward 1.5 km on the far slope of the ridge, was put smoothly into operation. 1st Brigade moved through the troops on the ridge to take up the advance to the next objective — the black line on the assault map, which defined the limit of the New Zealand Division’s advance. A German counter-attack in the early afternoon was repulsed. Australian troops of the corps’ reserve division then leapfrogged through to secure the final objective (the Oosttaverne Line) 1.5 km beyond the crest, though only after some hard fighting as German resistance stiffened.

The capture of Messines was achieved with relatively few casualties, not least because of the disruption of German artillery fire in the early stages. As the day wore on, however, the recovering German gunners began to fire on the newly captured areas with increasing ferocity.
Retained on the ridge in large numbers to repel an expected major enemy counter-attack which never eventuated, the assault troops endured a trying and costly bombardment. By the time the New Zealand Division was relieved on 9 June, it had suffered 3700 casualties, including 700 dead.

Back to TOP
Close info Window
© JCC Glass
Updated 9th March 2018
Use portrait to print