The British War Medal of a Gallipoli “first day lander”, Private Frank Samuel CROWHURST, was lost to Medals Gone Missing at auction on the 14th July, 2012. This is the second time that this particular missing war medal has appeared for sale on ebay, the first instance being during June of 2012. Medals Gone Missing made a bid for Frank’s medal during the June auction, but unfortunately we were unsuccessful and it reached a price just under $400.00 AUD
IMAGE RIGHT: The British War Medal of Private Frank Samuel CROWHURST, service number 186 who landed at Gallipoli on the 25th April, 1915 with the 10th Infantry Battalion.
So when the British War Medal appeared again for sale just one month later, we made a second attempt to purchase the award on behalf of his descendants. Sadly, we were unsuccessful for a second time. On this occasion, the missing medal sold for well over $500.00 AUD and this was far beyond our financial capacity. An unfortunate result for his descendants who may not even be aware that the missing war medal was placed for sale on the open market.
IMAGE LEFT: A photograph of Private Frank Samuel CROWHURST, held by the Australian War Memorial. This photo was posted with the ebay listing.
Frank Samuel CROWHURST was the son of Charles James and Emma Crowhurst of Stepney in South Australia. Born in Adelaide, he enlisted into the AIF on the 20th August, 1914 and was allocated the Service Number 186. Joining the 10th Infantry Battalion, AIF he would be part of that famous South Australian unit which included amongst its ranks:- Lieutenant Noel Medway LOUTIT and the scouts Arthur Seaforth BLACKBURN V.C. and Philip de Quetteville ROBIN. These latter two men are credited by C.E.W. Bean as reaching the furtherest inland point on that first day of the Gallipoli landing.
According to the First World War Embarkation Roll, Private Frank Samuel CROWHURST boarded HMAT Ascanius (A11) at port Adelaide on the 20th October, 1914. His service record indicates that he was initially allocated to ‘F’ Company. However, later correspondence indicates that he was serving with ‘A’ Company at the time of the Gallipoli landings. It is not known if Frank was with the party commanded by Loutit at any time during the 25th April, 1915 and further research may reveal his route upon reaching shore.
IMAGE RIGHT: Private Frank Samuel CROWHURST as he appeared prior to his enlistment into the AIF. Frank worked as a salesman before the Great War. Little did anybody know that he would lose his life at Gallipoli on the 25th April, 1915. This photo forms part of the collection on hand at the Australian War Memorial. It was posted on ebay at the time of the sale.
Interestingly, page 74 of his service record as per the National Archives of Australia detail an account of a comrade who landed with Frank. By this description, it is possible that Frank Samuel CROWHURST made it to the ‘Third Ridge’ and fell back upon the firing line (Second Ridge) as a result of the Turkish counter attack. The witness claims that Frank “stopped a shrapnel ball” which pierced his side and entered his stomach. The witness claims to have administered a field dressing and after clasping Frank’s hand, then advanced and left his friend to be retrieved by the stretcher bearers. It is possible that this witness is a soldier by the name of SOWDEN.
IMAGE LEFT: The ‘Third Ridge’ to the left which was the objective of the 10th Infantry Battalion on the first day of the Gallipoli campaign. To the right is Adana Bair which is where Loutit and his men took up a position (mistaking it for Third Ridge). By the description on page 74 of Frank’s service record, it is possible that he made it all the way to this position before being ordered to pull back to the firing line on Second Ridge. Image courtesy of GALLIPOLI HISTORICAL TOURS.
There appeared to be some initial confusion as to the fate of Private Frank Samuel CROWHURST as his service record states that he was “wounded in action” on the 2nd May, 1915. However, a court of inquiry conducted at Rouen in France during September of 1917 declared that he was killed in action ‘on or about’ the 25th April, 1915. A tragedy of this is the fact that a telegram was sent to his mother on the 17th of June, 1915 indicating that her son was “wounded, not reported seriously”. However, as rumours filtered back of her son’s fate – his elderly mother suffered terribly and this is evident through a letter recorded on page 17 of his service record.
A second comrade (Private D.L.T. SMITH) claims to have viewed Frank’s body when it was brought into a doctor’s dugout and removed his identity disc. As an identity disc belonging to Frank formed part of the property returned to his next of kin, this story is plausible. All in all, his service record tells a very sad tale of the anxiety caused to his mother, Emma CROWHURST.
IMAGE RIGHT: The British War Medal awarded to Private Frank Samuel CROWHURST. Are you the current owner of this medal? We would like to assist you in reuniting this award with Frank’s 1914-1915 Star and Victory Medal. Please contact us at Medals Gone Missing.
It is not known why this medal would be sold and purchased on two seperate occasions in such a short period of time. However, it is hoped that the award is now in the hands of a collector who will value the missing medal for what it is …… a tangible reminder of an Australian who gave his life for his country. Not a commodity to be traded by those only seeking profit. The other two missing war medals of F.S. CROWHURST may be out there on the open market. These medals consist of the 1914-1915 Star and the Victory Medal. He would also have had a Memorial Plaque (colloquially called a ‘Dead Man’s Penny’ or ‘Death Plaque’) commissioned to commemorate his sacrifice. If you know the whereabouts of his missing war medals; or if you were the winner of this medal and would like to attempt to “reunite” the trio, please contact the Medals Gone Missing Administrator.
We have just read the sad tale of Frank Crowhurst’s medal. My husband, Jason, is one of his descendants. Jason’s grandmother was a Crowhurst and Frank was her uncle. We are deeply saddened by the sale of the medal. If this medal ever comes up for sale again we would like to be informed.