David Cruse has been having a sort out of some old files and has sent me copies of the correspondence he had back in 1999 with a lady called Rita Thyer in New Zealand. Rita is the granddaughter of Edward Thomas Cruse (b. 1880 in Bermondsey, London) and Edith Louisa Carswell. Edward is descended from the John Cruse and Mary Rook line of London and Cambridgeshire. When researching this family previously I had not been able to find any trace of Edward Thomas Cruse after the 1891 census. Edward would have been 21 in 1901 and I suspect he might have been away from home serving in the Boer War. Fortunately however Ancestry now have the World War I army service records available online and luckily Edward's records were amongst those which have survived and are included in the collection.
Edward would have been 34 years old at the outbreak of the First World War. From his service records I've discovered that he enlisted on 5th September 1914 at which time he was described as a printer. He began his service career as a private in the Royal Berkshire Regiment. He was promoted to Corporal on 21st December 1915 and to Lieutenant Sergeant on 31st December 1915. He was then promoted to Sergeant on 16th April 1916. On 1st April 1916 he was transferred to the Training Reserves. In a reorganisation he was posted to the Hampshire Regiment on 1st November 1917, and finally on 26th November 1918 he was transferred to the Labour Corps. He was discharged on 1st June 1919. His medical report on discharge shows that he was suffering from hallus valgus (bunions) on his left foot. He had had an operation to remove the head of a metatarsal bone. He had also had an attack of influenza in January 1919 following which he suffered from a cardiac irregularity, though no irregularity was found at the time of the examination. He was classified as being 20% disabled.
The service papers also most helpfully provide information about Edward's wife and children. Edward claimed to have married Edith Louisa Carswell on 4th February 1905, though the marriage is recorded in the GRO indexes in the first quarter of 1906 in the West Ham Registration District. Edward had seven children:
- Arthur Edward Cruse, born 10th November 1901
- Grace Edna Elizabeth Cruse, born 15th Feb 1903
- Edith Lilian Cruse, born 20th July 1906 in Upton Park, London
- George Thomas Cruse, born on 22nd August 1907 in Stratford, London
- Rose Louisa Cruse, born on 30th November 1911 in Stratford
- Louisa Elsie Cruse, born on 14th November 1914 in Stratford
- Ernest Alfred Cruse, born on 19th Feb 1916 in Stratford
Edward's eldest two children, Arthur and Grace, were from his first marriage to Janet Frances Amelia Gillard. Edward and Janet married in 1901. Janet sadly died in 1904 when Grace was only around a year old.
At the time of Edward's discharge from the army the family address was 2 Hotham Street, Bridge Road, Stratford, London E15. Edward apparently left his family after World War I and never returned for reasons which are unclear. I wonder if anyone has any further information on Edward and his family. I would be particularly interested to hear from any of his descendants in New Zealand.
© Debbie Kennett 2009-2012