Monday, 30 March 2009

Edward Thomas Cruse in World War I

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


stephen said...

my name is stephen george cruse my father is william thomas his father was cyril thomas. i live in nz u can find me on fase book. i`m
wondering if im related

Debbie Kennett said...


We have a Cruse group on Facebook which you can find here:

If you join the FB group I will be able to make contact with you there. said...

Hi my name is sara louise malt my nan was rose louisa cruse who married a stanley charles allen they had 2 children yvonne and marcus sadly both my grandparents are no longer with us hope this is of some help

Debbie Kennett said...

Hi Sara

Thanks for getting in touch, and thanks for the information about your nan Rose Louise Cruse. I've added the information to my database. Are you in New Zealand? Do let me know if you want any further information.

Best wishes


jean louise said...

Hi my name is Jean,edward thomas cruse was my grandfather.1880-1959.his daughter louisa elsie was my mother.1914-2000.the person who has written the piece on him I think is my cousin rita or helen their parents were george and jess.please get touch would love to hear from

jean louise said...

I thought I should clear up the fact that edward thomas cruses two eldest children were not born out of wedlock,but to his first wife[gillard]married in nan bought arthur and grace up,till arthur went into the fisheries and grace into service.

Debbie Kennett said...

Jean, Many thanks for pointing out this mistake. It wasn't your cousin who made the mistake it was me jumping to the wrong conclusions. In fact I do now have the marriage certificate for Edward's first marriage to Janet Gillard which I received from one the Guild Marriage Challenges. I'd already updated my database but had forgotten to update this post. I've now changed it to include the new information about Edward's first marriage. I'll contact you by e-mail so that we can exchange information.