Written by Jenny Pigott with thanks to Doreen Eade and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission
We would like to remember the people of this parish who, like so many others in time of war, left their families and friends and went off to fight for King and Country.
We have around 70 from our parish who never returned and are now recorded on our War Memorial or on family graves in our churchyard.
We hope to give details of a number of these people, but we begin with just one family, the Crocks – if you look on the memorial, you will see their name mentioned 4 times under World War I. This is their story.
The parents, John and Jane Crock, lived at Mount Place, Lewes. By the start of the Great War, they were both in their 70’s, but still had sons living at home, including Amos and Thomas.
Their other sons were married:
George, lived in St John’s Terrace and worked for the Beards Brewery, Samuel lived in Malling Street, Lewes, and William lived in Brighton – all five sons served in the war.
In the autumn of 1914, Amos was injured in the retreat from Mons, Belgium. He survived and escaped further service. In hospital, he wrote to his parents:
“Just a line to let you know I have arrived back in England. I had two gunshot wounds in the back, but they are a lot better now….”
Thomas had been in the Navy for years and was serving on the HMS Aboukir. On September 22nd 1914 he was lost when it was torpedoed by a U-boat and sunk in the North Sea.
William, a sergeant in the Royal Garrison Artillery, was killed on 26th June 1917 at the Battle of Arras.
In the closing months of the war, John and Jane Crock suffered two more losses:
George, who’d served in the Boer War and re-enlisted in 1917, died in France on 5th September 1918. According to the Sussex Express, he was “killed by a shell while he was writing a letter to his wife.”
Samuel, a farrier, listed as a “Shoeing Smith” in the Royal Field Artillery, died in Greece on 13th October 1918.
A sad postscript to this series of losses can be seen if you look at the names of those lost in World War II:
Patrick Crock, the son of Amos Crock and his wife Ellen, served with the Royal Horse Artillery and died at the Battle of Alamein, aged 23, in October 1942. He had been a Pells scholar, a member of St John sub Castro Choir and a Commercial Square Bonfire Boy.