Robert Essington Cranfield
Serial No. 17817
Australian Army Medical Corps
Robert Essington Cranfield - Information
The Cranfields were a large family with many ties to the Camden area. Robert was born to William John and Annabella Mary Cranfield in Camden on the 21st of March 1893. The Cranfields remained in Camden for some time, where William became a Town Alderman on the first Council of Camden. The family then relocated to Marrickville. When Robert was older, he began working as a clerk and residing at the Nepean Cottage at 37 Frampton Ave, Marrickville. At the time, Robert’s parents moved away to May Hill in Binna Burra near Richmond Rivers. Soon, the war would change everything. In mid 1915, Robert’s older brother, John Oswald, enlisted in the AIF and left for war. When he was 23, Robert followed suit, enlisting on the 2nd of June 1916 at the Royal Showground Camp in Sydney. Robert started training with the Dubbo Depot Battalion, and was later assigned to the Australian Medical Corps. Robert’s training was extensive, stationed to both Moore Park and Liverpool. He was eventually shipped overseas, embarking Sydney Harbour onboard the HMAT Anchises on the 8th of August 1917.
Robert disembarked in Liverpool in early October, and was marched out to Parkhouse. The following month, he left Southampton for France to Rouelles Base. He was then taken on strength to the 1st Field Ambulance. Field Ambulances were responsible for saving the lives of many wounded troops during the First World War. They completed multiple trips in any given day to casualty stations and hospitals, while the crew did all in their power to keep the wounded stable. Although Robert was plagued with ill health, he strived to care for these wounded and sick troops. Since he had arrived in England, Robert was suffering with rheumatism and then badly injured his heel in December 1917. By 1918 the pain was proving too much. In late August, he was taken to the 53rd Casualty Clearing Station with severe arthritic pain in his back and right knee. He was then admitted to the 6th General Hospital in Rouen, before being invalided to Devonport Military Hospital in England. In September he was moved to the 3rd Auxiliary Hospital in Dartford. After the war ended, Robert was invalided home onboard the Margha in mid January 1919.
When Robert reached Australia, he reunited with his brother, John, and the rest of the Cranfield family. He continued to work as a clerk and decided to wed his sweetheart, marring Myra Nicolson in Petersham in 1920.