Joseph William Crump
Serial No. 4763
4th Battalion & 56th Battalion
Joseph William Crump - Information
Joseph was living in the Club Hotel in Picton when he decided to enlist in the AIF. Born in London, he left his family to migrate to Australia for a new life. In Picton, Joseph found work as a groom. When he was 22, he joined up to serve the Empire, signing up on the 29th of November 1915 in Casula. During training, Joseph was made a Private with the 15th Reinforcements, 4th Battalion. He was then shipped out from Sydney on the 8th of March 1916 onboard the HMAT Star of England.
Joseph landed in Egypt, and was then quickly transferred to the 56th Battalion at Ferry Post. In June, he and his new unit left Alexandria for the French Port of Marseilles. Joseph’s first encounter with the enemy came with the devastating Battle of Fromelles on the 19th of July. He watched in horror as his mates were mown down by machine gun bullets and artillery. After that terrible ordeal, Joseph reported sick with tonsillitis later that month. As an extremely bitter winter settled in on the Western Front, the 56th Battalion were manning the line on the old Somme Battlefield. The churned up landscape turned into a bog of mud with heavy rain and snowfall. Many troops as a result, developed trench foot. So did Joseph, reporting with infected feet at Amiens on the 19th of November. He was then admitted to the 11th General Hospital in Camiers. Unluckily in December, he was taken to the 26th General Hospital with influenza. By January 1917, he was also suffering with rheumatism, and was evacuated to England. He resumed training at Windmill Hill, where he was transferred to the 62nd Battalion in late April. Between August and September, he attended the 16th Brigade Signalling School. In mid September, however, he returned to hospital with scabies. In December, he was transported back to France, returning to the 56th Battalion. In the new year, the Germans launched a grand offensive on the 21st of March. The Australian Corps was brought in to stand in their way. The 56th taking them on at Villers-Bretonneux in April. However, at the same time, he was taken out of the lines again with scabies. Poor health kept him from the battlefield with influenza. In September, he was invalided to England, where he remained after the war ended. He was then assigned to the 5th Division Signal School in Hurdcott on the 22nd of November. In February 1919, he was detached to AIF Headquarters in London. While in England, he became very close to Ivy Buthos Butler, sadly a war widow. They tied the knot at St Barnabas Church in London on the 24th of May. He remained in England for some time, returning to Australia with Ivy in 1920.