Lieutenant Alfred Crouch

 

Alfred Crouch was born at St Mary in the Castle, Hastings, Sussex, on 21 June 1873, son of master butcher John Crouch and his wife Christina (formerly McIntosh). He grew up in Brighton and by 1891 was working as a draper's porter.

Crouch enlisted in the 3rd (King's Own) Hussars on 19 August 1891. He served 23 years with the regiment, including in the Boer War and in India. By the time of his retirement on 20 June 1914 had reached the rank of regimental sergeant major and been awarded a Long Service and Good Conduct Medal.

Crouch had married Elizabeth Ann Collier in St Peter's Church, Southborough, on 12 July 1898. Between 1899 and 1905 the couple had four children, all born in India.

At the beginning of the Great War Crouch was living at 66 Dairyhouse Road, Derby and working as superintendent of the shipping department of Lees Malleable Works. On 10 September 1914 he re-enlisted at Shorncliffe (No.23800) and was posted to the 9th Reserve Cavalry Regiment, which trained men for his old regiment the 3rd Hussars. He was immediately made a squadron sergeant-major. He was given the rank to Warrant Officer Class 2 on 29 January 1915.

At the beginning of 1917 Crouch was posted to the headquarters of the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment. (The regimental headquarters was mostly staffed by officers posted from the 3rd (King's Own) Hussars.) He embarked for France on 20 January and joined the regiment in the field at Boeschepe on 15 February, where he was given the rank of acting regimental sergeant-major.

At the end of July 1917 news came that the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment would be dismounted and its men trained as infantrymen. Crouch applied for a commission in the Army Service Corps – supported by his commanding officer Walter Goring, who stated he had known him for the last 26 years.

He left France on 15 September, reporting for duty at the ASC cadet school at Aldershot a fortnight later. After a short period of training it was reported that he:

Did satisfactorily in both his practical and theoretical work. Good practical man, good horseman and horsemaster. Suitable for Horse Transport duties at home or abroad, L of C with Field Units, and Horse Transport or Supply duties with a Divl. Train.

Crouch was commisioned as a 2nd lieutenant on 1 December 1917 and posted to the Army Service Corps. On 21 December he embarked for France and a month later was posted to No.2 139 Company, 15th Divisional Train, on horse transport duties. He later served in the 29th Divisional train.

After the Armistice Crouch served in the Army of Occupation at Cologne with the Rhine Army Train, Royal Army Service Corps. he was promoted to lieutenant on 1 June 1919.

Crouch returned to the UK on 1 July 1922, when he was demobilised and relinquished his commission.