The O'Leary Collection—Medals of The Royal Canadian Regiment

SB-64835 Sergeant John Edward Crockford

The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada
48th Highlanders of Canada
The Royal Canadian Regiment

By: Capt (ret'd) Michael M. O'Leary, CD, The RCR

John Edward Crockford was born in Toronto, Ontario, on 9 Sep 1922. Crockford's family, led by parents Edward James and Margaret Anne Alice (nee Duck), appear in the 1921 Canadian census. At that time, they have two children (Gordon, b. 1914; and Margaret, b. 1919). John Edward, their third and youngest child would be born the following year and the family with all three children appears on a Third Class passenger list for the S.S. Antonia returning to Canada from England in September, 1927.

Crockford's father, a machinist working for the Canadian General Electric Company, had served during the First World War in a specially created unit of electrical and mechanical engineers in the Permanent Force. Badged as Canadian Engineers and maintained at the company's cost throughout the war, 25 men were divided into three detachments employed at Quebec, Esquimalt, and Halifax. Edward Crockford served at the latter location. From the fall of 1914 he served three years and ten months in the R.C.E. before being summarily transferred to C.E.F. service in June, 1918. Edward Crockford continued to serve in Canada and was discharged from the C.E.F. on demobilization on 15 Sep 1919. Two decades later, his youngest son would enlist for service in the next war.

John Crockford attested for service in the Canadian Active Service Force (C.A.S.F.) at No. 2 District Depot, Toronto, on 15 Oct 1941. A 19-year-old salesman, Crockford was described on his attestation paper as 5 feet 7 1/2 inches tall, weighing 135 pounds, with good physical development, a 35-inch chest, a fair complexion, brown eyes, and brown hair. In 1938, Crockford had completed three years at the Western Branch Technical School, Toronto. His religious denomination was Church of England. Crockford identified his mother, Mrs. Margaret Crockford, 9A Auburn St., Toronto, Ont., as his next of kin. On joining the C.A.S.F., Crockford was given the regimental number B-64835, the rank of Rifleman, and was identified as a recruit for the Queen's Own Rifles (Q.O.R.).

On 31 Oct 1941, Crockford was posted from the District Depot to No. 23 Canadian Army (Basic) Training Centre (Newmarket). A month later, having being granted permission to marry, he was wed to Muriel "Minnie" Irene Littlefield at Toronto on 29 Nov 1941.

As a newly married soldier, it appears that Crockford decided to extend his Christmas or New Year's leave. This led to his being charged for Away Without Leave (A.W.L.) in early January 1942. Being absent from 0730 hrs 1 Jan to 0700 hrs 5 Jan 1942 cost him a fine of seven days' pay under Section 46 of the Army Act and the forfeiture of another four days' pay (effectively losing his pay for the period of absence). Shortly after his charge parade, on 8 Jan 1942, Crockford was transferred and taken on the strength of A10 Canadian Infantry Training Centre (Camp Borden). While at Camp Borden, he would lose another 23 days pay for A.W.L. later that month.

On 21 May 1942, Crockford changed training camps once again when he was taken on the strength of No. 24 Canadian Army (Basic) Training Centre (Brampton). A notation in Crockford's service record shows that he spent some of his time with No. 24 C.A.B.T.C. at Camp Niagara.

Crockford demonstrated in July 1942 that he had not yet learned his lesson from his brushes with the military's justice system. On 20 Jul 1942 he was again charged and tried for A.W.L. For an absence from 2359 hrs 17 Jul to 2359 hrs 19 Jul 1942, Crockford was awarded 14 days detention and a total forfeiture of 16 days' pay and allowances under Financial Regulations and Instructions (F.R.&I.), Article 149 (C.A.S.F.). Following his summary trial, he was attached to the Branch Detention Barracks at Brampton where he remained confined until 2 Aug 1942.

Crockford returned to the A10 Canadian Infantry Training Centre at Camp Borden on 25 Aug 1942. Almost one month later, on 22 Sep 1942, he was struck off strength for the purpose of proceeding overseas as a reinforcement to the Q.O.R.

Embarked aboard ship on 24 Sep 1942, Crockford was taken on the strength of the 3rd Canadian Division Infantry Reinforcement Unit (3 C.D.I.R.U.) in the United Kingdom. He disembarked in the U.K. on 7 Oct 1942. Crockford's service record at this time notes an address for his wife as next of kin; Mrs. Muriel Crockford, 1593 Dufferin St., Toronto, Ont. On Christmas Day, 1942, Crockford joined the Queen's Own Rifles from the Reinforcement Unit.

On reporting to the Q.O.R., Crockford brought his old habits with him. On 28 Dec 1942, he was awarded five days Confinement to Barracks (C.B.) and forfeited one days' pay for a charge of A.W.L. Soon after, on 1 Jan 1943, his ability to pay fines for absences improved when he was granted a daily rate of pay $1.50.

Despite his unauthorized absence on finally being posting to his unit, this did not stop Crockford being granted Privilege Leave from 13 to 20 Jan 1943. But his time as a rifleman would be short. On 6 May 1943, Crockford was posted out of the Q.O.R. and transferred to No. 1 Canadian Special Base Depot (C.S.B.D.). The Base Depot placed him on an X-4 List (i.e., un-posted reinforcements) for the 48th Highlanders.

While with the Depot, Crockford went A.W.L. again and on 4 Jun 1943 received a total forfeiture of nine days pay for his absence. That same month, Crockford went "over the wall" once more. On 25 Jun 1943, for 19 hours' absence, he was sentenced to 168 hours of detention and a forfeiture of eight days' pay.

Still with the Base Depot, Crockford was struck off the strength of the Canadian Army in the U.K. on 27 Jun 1943 when he boarded ship for the Italian campaign. He disembarked in Sicily on 13 Jul 1943, three days after the Pachino Landings by the 1st Canadian Division. On 24 Jul 1943, Crockford was posted from the Base Depot to the 48th Highlanders in the field.

The 48th Highlanders and the 1st Canadian Division were regularly engaged with the enemy as they participating in the campaigns in Sicily and Italy. The regiment's list of Battle Honours summarizes their contributions to this costly campaign (shown with the overall dates for each honour during which a unit needed to be engaged, not necessarily the unit's actual dates of engagement):

Crockford's service record for the Italian campaign is almost devoid of entries. One curious entry appears, dated 29 Dec 1943, where he is noted as "Wounded, Psychiatric," but this entry is later struck through as cancelled on 2 Feb 1944.

On 1 Sep 1944, Crockford managed to run afoul of the military justice system again. On that date, he was charged under Section 11 of the Army Act, "neglects to obey any general or garrison or other orders." For his crime, Crockford forfeited 28 days' pay.

The 48th Highlanders left Italy on 10 Mar 1945, landing in southern France on 13 March. On 26 Mar 1945, Crockford proceeded to England for nine days Privilege Leave during which he was granted a daily allowance in lieu of rations. Crockford returned to the unit from leave on 6 Apr 1945. His service record is again clean of notations until the end of his time in Europe.

Crockford was struck off the strength of the Canadian Army in North West Europe on 4 Sep 1945 and passed to the Army in the U.K. A little more than two weeks later, he was on his way to Canada. Crockford was taken on strength of the Canadian Army (Canada) on 22 Sep 1945 and attached to S8 Canadian Army Training School at Hamilton, Ont. A few days later, on 25 Sep 1945, he was transferred to No. 2 District Depot in Toronto where he received disembarkation leave from 3 Oct to 1 Nov 1945 and was discharged from the C.A.S.F. on 9 Nov 1945.

Two days before his discharge, on 7 Nov 1945, Crockford was interviewed by an Army Counselor. The report completed for the Department of Veterans Affairs noted Crockford's pre-enlistment employment as follows:

Cockfield's service was summarized as: "15 Oct 45, Q.O.R. Employed as infantryman 18 mos. Gen. Duties. Transferred to 48 Highlanders — 30 mos. - Infantryman and driver i/c. Wounded in action. Service in Canada 8 mos. O/S 48 mos. Sicily, Italy and Holland."

During his interview, Crockford stated his future plans as "I have employment with Gutta Percha Rubber Co."

Documenting the interview, the Counselor's Recommendations read:

Age 25, Crockford appears a stable and mature chap for his age and is gifted with an ability to make friends easily. Average build and development.

He employment arranged with Gutta Percha Co., through army connections with the eventual probability of becoming an agent for the firm. He appears to have many of the qualities desired for this type of work, and while his army career has been of a general nature, his former civil employment in advertising would be a definite help in this field.

If necessary he could return to advertising and states that he could also secure employment from his father who is a diesel engineer.

Plans to use re-estab. credits for purchase of home and furniture. Referred to D.V.A."

Discharged at the age of 23, for his operational service in the Second World War, Crockford was eligible to receive the 1939-45 Star, the Italy Star, the France & Germany Star, the Defence Medal, the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal with Overseas Clasp, and the 1939-45 War Medal. These would be despatched to him in June, 1949. He also received a General Service Badge (#475905) in November, 1945, for wear with civilian clothing.

After a year and a half as a civilian, Crockford was ready to return to the Canadian Army. He was interviewed by an Army Personnel Officer on 19 May 1947 to establish his suitability for re-enlistment. The interviewer's notes recorded the following:

Educational Background: Completed Grade X Ontario urban school. (Technical School) Draughting, at the age of 16 years.

Occupational Background: 1 1/2 years office clerk; 6 months shipper; 6 months store clerk. Post Discharge: 1945-47: Dye Cutter and Parcel Deliverer.

Military Background at Enlistment: Enlisted CA(A) 15 Oct 41 (CIC).

Other Personal History and Appraisal: Proceeded overseas Sep 42. To Sicily and Italy Jul 43. To NWE Mar 45. Employed as line soldier and then as Dvr for 16 months. Returned to Canada Oct 45 and discharged 9 Nov 45.

Appraisal: Height: 5' 8". Weight: 160 lbs.

CROCKFORD is a pleasant, co-operative and alert-appearing soldier. He is 25 years of age and married. He has had a better than average education and specialized in Draughting while at Tech school. He had rather a varied occupational history prior to enlistment, due to his age. He enlisted CA(A) CIC 15 Oct 41, proceeded overseas in Sep 42, saw service in Sicily, Italy and NWE, being employed as line soldier and Dvr. He returned to Canada Oct 45 and was discharged 9 Nov 45.

CROCKFORD possesses a direct, open and confident manner. Has a strong, sturdy physique, carries himself well and presents a fair general appearance. Impresses as a capable and energetic young man,keen for further military service and making a successful career in the Cdn Army (AF) after a probable none too successful effort in civilian life.

He has no particular hobbies, likes most sports, particularly hockey, enjoys light reading and shows but does not dance.

Due to his previous trg he is being posted to RCR, Brockville, Ont., and appears to be well satisfied with this posting.

Recommendations: 1. Suitable for operational duty with Cdn Army (AF); (a) CIC (Pte).
2. Suitable for increased responsibility."

On 20 May 1947, John Crockford re-enlisted in the Canadian Army at Long Branch, Ont. Joining the Regular Army for a three-year engagement, he was re-assigned his old service number, with a prefix "S" to denote his new regular force terms of service: "SB-64835." Living at 126 Boultbee Ave., Toronto, at the time, Crockford was described in his enlistment documents as 5 feet 8 inches in height and weighing 165 pounds. He named his wife, Mrs. Muriel Crockford, as his next of kin.

On enlistment, Crockford was given credit for his previous service. He was upgraded to Private (First Class) and granted a pay increase for the equivalent of three years service. He was also placed on the married roll, a measure which came with a marriage allowance of $20 per month. On 12 Jun 1947, Crockford was struck off the strength of the District Depot to The Royal Canadian Regiment at Brockville, Ont.

When Canada was preparing to field an infantry division for the Canadian Army Pacific Force (C.A.P.F.) at the end of the Second World War, one of the new Active Force infantry battalions was formed at Brockville. The 6th Canadian Division, C.A.P.F., was to be organized and equipped along American lines with three regiments (i.e., brigades) of infantry, each of three battalions. Soon after, the units of the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Canadian Infantry Regiments gained distinctive national identities aligning them with familiar Canadian regiments. The 1st Canadian Infantry Battalion, mobilized at Brockville, was retitled 1st Canadian Infantry Battalion (The Royal Canadian Regiment), C.A.S.F.. As the requirement for the C.A.P.F. disappeared, the battalion in Brockville was the second Active Force battalion of the Regiment and was redesignated the 2nd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment, on 2 Sep 1945. With the return and disbandment of the overseas battalion, the unit in Brockville became The Royal Canadian Regiment and Brockville became the Regiment's home garrison for a few years after the Second World War.

Although the details are not contained in his service record, Crockford was admitted to Kingston Military Hospital (sick) from 13 Aug to 5 Sep 1947.

The first months of Crockford's regular army service shows the various levels of support for married men. From the date of enlistment until he was posted to the Regiment, he drew $45.00 monthly subsistence allowance to support himself and his wife. Once he was sent to join the unit but his wife had not yet moved, he received $30.00 per month Separated Family Allowance. On 7 Sep 1947, with his wife moved to Brockville, Crockford began to receive a Quarters Allowance of $20.00 per month. Their address in Brockville was 170 Pine St.

Crockford briefly drew the subsistence allowance ($45 per month) again from 23 Sep to 1 Oct 1947. On the latter date, he and his wife occupied Emergency Married Quarters (converted "H" huts at the Brockville training site) at a rental charge of $16.10 monthly.

From 12 Nov 1947 to 31 Mar 1949, Crockford is shown in his service record as transferred to the "CAS "U" List" and the location for this is shown as Washington. He was away from his wife during the period and collected Separated Family Allowance. On his return and beginning 1 Apr 1949, he was receiving subsistence allowance of $54.00 per month.

Effective 18 Feb 1948, Crockford received one Good Conduct Badge. He was also mentioned in the regimental journal later that year. The November, 1948, edition of The Connecting File included an article about the unit softball team. Crockford received an honorable mention with the line: "Pte John Crockford and Cpl Bob McKay, utility players who were carried with the team all year but saw no action."

The February 1949 edition of The Connecting File offers a glimpse of upcoming training for Crockford and many other in the Regiment:

Closely following the news that our sister Regiment, PPCLI, were commencing Airborne training, was the announcement that RCR would commence Airborne training early in the Spring of 1949. It is intended to train, as parachutists, all personnel in the battalion. The parachute course, of six weeks' duration, is conducted by the Para Training Wing of the Joint Air School at Rivers, Man. In addition to the parachutists training, courses in airportability are being run to teach personnel to load aircraft. Upon completion of the Airborne training the battalion will become an Airborne/Airtransported Infantry Battalion fully prepared to take part in any airborne or airtransported operation."

On 23 May 1949, Crockford was attached for all purposes to the Canadian Joint Air Training Centre (C.J.A.T.C.) as a member of the first regimental course to attend parachute training at Rivers, Manitoba. An article in the September 1949 edition of The Connecting File describes the experiences of Parachute Jump Course #26 with the following introductory paragraphs:

On a bright May afternoon to the strains of the Regimental Marches the first parachute training serial boarded the train at Brockville en route to the Canadian Joint Air Training Centre at Rivers. Manitoba. A local wag suggested that we should depart to the tunes of a hymn suggesting proximity to our Maker.

The serial had completed two weeks airportability training at Brockville which had been frequently interspersed with rope climbing, push-ups, and road runs. The thoroughness of our unit training produced a happy group of thirty-two all ranks who were more than anxious to get to the prairie and give this parachuting a first class try, regardless of the obstacles which would stand in our way."

The article's author, Capt E.M. Friel, mentions Crockford in his story:

During our first few days we had occasion to fly about the sky in the CG4A Glider and much to the amazement of the chaps the flight was a comfortable journey. Pte. Crockford, a stalwart member of our group, was completely enthralled with the capabilities of the aircraft and the exploits of the pilot to such an extent that we had difficulty in keeping him out of the thing. The last report to the writer was that he had volunteered for a Glider Pilot Course."

Throughout the article, Friel both described the training these Royal Canadian experienced to qualify as parachutists and included personal anecdotes on a number of participants. Notable names in the group with Crockford and Friel were the Commanding Officer, Lieut.-Col. Peter Bingham, R.S.M. Goodridge (injured during the training), Sgt. Al Hocking, MM, Sgt. Ted Slaney, and L/Cpl. C.A. "Buzz" Girden.

On 3 Jun 1949, Crockford completed No. 14 Airportability Advanced Course. He was also interviewed by an Army Personnel Officer at Shilo, Man. on 16 Jun 1949:

SB 64835 Pte Crockford, J.E.
RCR RCIC Married - no dependent

1.     Interviewed during third week of Para Jump Course.

2.     This soldier served with the 48th Highlanders throughout the war. On re-enlistment in Nov 47 he joined the RCR and presently is employed in the pioneer platoon. He volunteered for the airborne training and finds it very interesting. He has met with no difficulties, his work has been average and he appears capable of qualifying. Crockford is mature and is judged to be good CA(AF) material.

Crockford and the other successful members of Parachute Jump Course #26 completed their training on 30 Jun 1949. This accomplishment resulted in the award of the Canadian Parachute Badge and the commencement of a Risk Allowance amounting to $30 per month.

Returned to Brockville after parachute training, Crockford revisited an old habit in August 1949 when he went A.W.L. from 0830 hrs 3 Aug until 0700 hrs 7 Aug 1949. For a total time absent of 3 days 22 hours and 30 minutes, he was charged on his return and marched into his summary trial the following day. After being held in close arrest overnight, Crockford was found guilty of the charge of A.W.L. resulting in a punishment of 14 days detention. He also forfeited a total of 19 days pay under three different sub-paragraphs of the Army's Pay and Allowances regulations. He served his detention in unit cells from 8 to 19 Aug 1949 ( apparently with some days remitted).

In the fall of 1949, The RCR was relocated from Brockville to Petawawa, Ontario. Crockford did not make the move with the bulk of the battalion, and was instead posted from "RCR, Petawawa to "A" Coy, Brockville," thus remaining in place. "A" Company and the Band remained in Brockville to assist in maintaining the camp until it passed the War Assets Corporation and also to continue running air-portability and pre-para course training for unit parachute course serials before they went to Rivers.

There were also opportunities for the members of "A" Company to receive training and Crockford qualified as a Drive I/C Class III (Wheeled) on 13 Dec 1949. Crockford rejoined the Battalion at Petawawa on 18 Dec 1949. His changing rates of allowances show that his wife remained in Brockville, she would not move until June of 1950.

Crockford was interviewed again by a personnel officer at Petawawa Military Camp on 23 Mar 1950. The interviewer recorded the following notes for Crockford's service record:

This soldier in an initial interview at his unit stated that he did not wish to re-engage in the CA(AF). Crockford is 27 yrs of age and married. A CA(A) veteran he enlisted in Oct 41, and served with the 48th Highlanders throughout the war, taking his discharge in Nov 45. Failing to find a job that satisfied him in civilian life, he enlisted in the CA(AF) on 20 May 47, and because of his previous infantry training was sent to his present unit. During most of his three year period he has carried on with infantry training, except for a few months during the past winter when he drove the Commanding Officer's staff car. This soldier states he is not re-engaging because he plans to enter the family business. He is rather vague about the exact nature of this business, but it appears to be connected with the sale of diesel engines. He also hints that marital troubles have some bearing on his decision, but again he does not elaborate. This man has been counselled on the benefits of remaining in the army, particularly in view of his experience and length of service, but he feels that the civilian offer with his father will give him a better opportunity for advancing himself. As a result he does not choose to re-engage.

Recommendations: Discharge - does not offer to re-engage."

Crockford didn't take his release as he indicated he would during the interview. With about two months remaining in his terms of service obligation, he was appointed Lance Corporal on 22 Apr 1950. Two days later, he started a tasking on attachment to the Royal Canadian Army Service Corps School (R.C.A.S.C.) at Camp Borden from 24 Apr to 27 Jun 1950. As a driver qualified infantry L/Cpl, he was likely there as a augmentee driver. This is also reflected in the fact that, on 3 May 1950, he was charged and found guilty under Section 40 of the Army Act, having committed an "act, conduct, disorder, or neglect to the prejudice of good order and military discipline." Crockford paid a fine of $15.00 for "damage to [a] DND vehicle."

Having completed his first three-year engagement with the Regular Force, Crockford renewed his terms of service and re-engaged for five more years on 20 May 1950. While Crockford was attached to the R.C.A.S.C. School, his wife moved from Brockville to Petawawa. Vacating the emergency married quarters at Brockville, their new home address became the Permanent Married Quarters in Petawawa.

Crockford was promoted to the rank of Corporal on 9 Aug 1950. Early the following year, on 29 Jan 1951, us was again interviewed by a Personnel Officer at Petawawa Military Camp. The interviewer's notes from that session read:

Cpl Crockford requests consideration for a posting to the RCS of I, Camp Borden because of family difficulties. Married, with no children, he states that his wife [four lines redacted]. Cpl Crockford requests consideration for a posting Borden so that he might send his wife to live with her mother, or his people, both of whom live in Toronto. This would enable [line redacted] Cpl Crockford to visit her regularly. He states that his wife refuses to go to live with either of their relatives while he is stationed in Petawawa, but is willing to do this if he were stationed closer to Toronto.

If a vacancy exists at the RCS of I, it is felt that Cpl Crockford could be a useful instructor there. An alert, smart appearing young NCO, he served throughout World War II with the 48th Highlanders. He re-enlisted in May 47, was posted to his present unit, has qualified as a parachutist, was made a L/Cpl in Apr 50 and promoted to Cpl in Sep 50. From Apr 50 until 27 Jun 50 he instructed the COTC at the RCASC School, Camp Borden until he found it necessary to ask to be returned to his unit because of his wife's health. From the first days of the inauguration of the training of the 2nd Bn RCR at Petawawa Camp until this unit left for Fort Lewis, Cpl Crockford was employed on instructional duties with the CA(SF). At present he is a platoon Cpl with "B" Coy of the 1st Bn RCR.

While a posting to the RCS of I would not solve his family problem, it should ease it to a certain degree and enable his wife to obtain adequate care. At the same time Cpl Crockford should prove to be a potentially useful NCO at the RCS of I. It is recommended that his case receive every consideration.

Recommendation: Post to the RCS of I, Camp Borden."

Crockford returned to Camp Borden on 8 May 1951. This time he was struck off the strength of the Battalion and posted to the Royal Canadian School of Infantry (R.C.S. of I.). He would remain there until posted back to the Battalion in early February 1952.

1RCR deployed to Korea in March and April of 1952, replacing the 2nd Battalion. As part of the 25th Canadian Infantry Brigade Group, 1st Commonwealth Division, 1RCR would serve in Korea from 20 April 1952 to 25 March 1953.

Effective 15 Mar 1952, Crockford was detach posted from 1RCR Petawawa to the Canadian Army (Far East). He left Canada on 19 March and arrived in Japan the following day for his second wartime deployment. Once again, his service record is nearly void of entries while overseas. On 15 Jul 1952, Crockford was posted from "B" Coy to "A" Coy, and on 1 Sep 1952 he was promoted Acting Sergeant.

On 22 Dec 1952, Crockford was transferred to No. 2 Canadian Administration Unit (C.A.U.) and held on the "X-5 List", which was for soldiers on course outside Korea. The following day he was sent to Japan and would not return to the battalion until 5 Feb 1953.

The War Diary of "A" Company, 1st Battalion, The RCR, in Korea mentions Crockford in its notes for 5 and 7 Feb 1953:

5 Feb 1953 — Sgt Crockford returned to 3 Pl today from Haramura where he had been instructing.

7 Feb 53 — Three pl has been awarded the pennant for the best pl area. This is decided each morning after Lt Peterson's inspection. The pennant is a Regt scarf cut a bit shorter with the figure 1 in yellow. The tent floors have been covered with sand and along with the kit layout makes quite a uniform effect. Boot soles are polished and one the cots. The packs and helmets as per Petawawa with Mk Vs at the head. Clean towels adorn the wire strung all around the tent walls. The 45 gallon drums serving as garbage cans are being painted green with a white band, Sgt Massey left for Haramura on a short instructional course. Sgt Crockford is now Pl Comd and Cpl Staples Pl Sgt. The people seen doubling about the coy aren't, as one might think, going for free beer or a live show, it is merely the pl's going from Pt A to pt B. Part of a long range plan you know."

Crockford would depart Korea on 30 Mar 1953 to start his return journey to Canada. Embarking from Japan on 9 Apr 1953, he would complete his journey when he arrived in Canada on 23 Apr 1953. Processed on return through No. 6 Personnel Depot in Toronto, Crockford received 30 days special leave and was posted back to 1RCR, Petawawa.

In September, 1953, Crockford's service record notes the birth of two children. The "effective dates" recorded in his service record, i.e., birthdates, are redacted but the noted status of "born" and their entries recorded together certainly suggest the arrival of twins named Charles and Valerie.

Crockford was away from the battalion again from 26 Sep to 7 Nov 1953. Sent to Camp Borden, he attended the Senior NCO Course at the R.C.S. of I. and successfully completed the course on 5 Nov 1953. One week after his return from Borden, on 12 Nov 1953, Crockford was struck off the strength of 1RCR on posting to Headquarters Central Command at Oakville, Ont. At the end of the same month, he was confirmed in the substantive rank of Sergeant.

The Crockfords vacated their PMQ in Petawawa on 22 Jan 1954, moving to 81 Simcoe St., Hamilton, Ont. On 21 Aug 1954, Crockford was charged with A.W.L. for being absent from his place of duty for 2 1/4 hours. For this he received a Severe Reprimand and a $25.00 fine.

Crockford once again re-engaged for three years further service on 20 May 1955. Later that year, on 12 Dec 1955, he was detached posted to St. Catherines, Ont., on 12 Dec 1955. His family followed a few months later and on 12 Apr 1956 their address was noted as 306 St. Paul St., Apt. 1, St. Catherines.

The posting to St. Catherines would only last a year. Crockford moved again on 5 Nov 1956. He was posted from his position under HQ Central Command to the Eastern Ontario Area Instructional Staff at Kingston, Ont. His family moved soon after the new year began and by 19 Jan 1957 their address was 69 Fraser St., Apt 3., Kingston, Ont.

On 20 May 1958, Crockford re-engaged for another three years of service. He was also mentioned in the Spring 1958 edition of The Connecting File in a brief article titled "Notes from Eastern Ontario Area" by Major I.W. Hill: "Sgt Crockford controls the Area Reference Library and Cpl MacCrae dispenses liquid refreshment from behind the bar at the Staff College."

Soon after re-engaging, Crockford was again interviewed by a Personnel Officer. Taking place at Kingston, Ont., on 3 Jun 1958, the interview report reads:

On request for voluntary corps transfer from RCIC to RCAPC.

1.     Sgt Crockford is a man of average height, rather stocky build, but presents a neat and soldierly appearance. He appears intelligent and converses in a logical and mature manner. He is 35 years of age, married but has no children.

2.     For the past year and a half, he has been working with HQ EOA "I" Staff employed as an Instructor (RCIC). He was hospitalized in KMH in Jan 58 and was downgraded on his pulhems profile to a P4 for chronic bronchitis and goutty arthritis. This lowering of his profile now precludes further service in his corps. For the past few months, he has been employed as librarian in the "G" Branch Library. He has now requested a voluntary corps transfer to RCAPC as he states that he has a special interest in institute accounting.

3.     The Area Coordinator for "I" Staff reports that Sgt Crockford has displayed an aptitude for clerical work, and has recommended him for corps transfer. The G2 Staff Officer reported verbally to the writer that Sgt Crockford has displayed a real interest in his job as librarian. He has carried out his duties in a very satisfactory manner, with very little supervision.

4.     A Sgt Crockford completed grade XII at Western Technical, and Commercial High School in Toronto at 16 years of age. He stated to-day that his best subjects and marks were in mathematics.

5.     Here then is a soldier who has 15 years service in RCIC, of which 6 years have been in the rank of Sergeant. He can no longer remain in his present corps because of lowered pulhems profile. He claims an aptitude and interest in figures and books, and appears to have ability to interpret regulations. He is free of debt with the exception of a small Bank Loan which is being satisfactorily taken care of by an assignment of pay. He wishes to transfer to RCAPC in his present rank, and states that he is not willing to drop a rank in order to transfer.

6.     The writer feels that Sgt Crockford has the ability to assimilate instruction in a new field. He has displayed leadership and a good sense of responsibility throughout his service. It is therefore recommended that he be placed on a period of assessment in an RCAPC Office, and if he performs satisfactorily, he could then be transferred to that corps.


1.     Recommend a period of assessment in an RCAPC Office (Potential Clerk Acctg Pay).
2.     If assessment is favourable, transfer to RCAPC as Clerk Acctg Pay."

It appears that the recommended outcomes from the personnel interview were not to develop. The greatest obstacle to Crockford's likelihood of transferring between corps was his own refusal to accept a drop in rank. As a result, he was interviewed once again on 16 Oct 1959 with a very different result:

16 Oct 1959; Kingston, Ont.


1.     Further to CAFB 1539 created 3 Jun 58 in which it was recommended that Sgt Crockford be placed on a period of assessment in the RCAPC Office as a potential pay clerk.

2.     Sgt Crockford has continued to be employed in the "G" Branch Library until 13 Sep 59, when he was returned to "I" Staff for reasons of unreliability and outright lying to his superiors. These characteristics are fully discussed in his latest Confidential Report and Sgt Crockford's rebuttal.

3.     It is pointed out that a P4 is too low for continued employment in RCIC. A great deal of discussion took place to-day on the possibilities of corps transfer to any, of the following, RCAPC, RCOC and RCAMC. He claims to be interested in mathematics and bookkeeping, but has no experience along these lines and appears reluctant to do anything for himself in order to acquire the basic fundamentals.

4.     It was determined from a notation on his Pers file that it became necessary for the "I" Staff Coordinator to caution Sgt Crockford on 9 Oct 59 regarding his general conduct as a senior NCO. Special reference was made to untruthful statements made to obtain time off from duty on several occasions, failure on at least two occasions to settle his mess account within the prescribed period, his drinking habits, and the sense of responsibility required of a senior NCO.

5.     It now appears that he is beginning to show himself in his true light. It becomes quite apparent that he has fooled a lot of people in the past, including the writer at the time of his previous interview. After discussing this man's case with other officers including the Padre (who knows him well) the writer is firmly of the opinion that this soldier would be of very little use to any of the corps mentioned above in any capacity, and would in all probability continue to be a liability and an administrative problem if he is retained in the service. He stated to-day that he would not be willing to transfer at all unless he could retain his present rank, and would prefer to be released.

6.     Since all recent reports reflect his unreliability, and the fact that he had to be removed from his latest employment because of this, together with the fact that he is not a technical tradesman and apparently will make no effort to help himself, the writer is of the opinion that Sgt Crockford should be released, in spite of the fact that he has over 16 years of pensionable service.

Recommendation: Release."

Between 1954 and 1959, Crockford's medical issues had resulted in being admitted to military hospitals seven times. Each hospitalization lasted a few days to a few weeks. The last hospital stay in his file was 18 Nov to 21 Dec 1959.

On 6 Jan 1960, Crockford was taken on the strength of No. 13 Personnel Depot. Beginning 7 Jan 1960 he commenced 74 days of rehabilitation leave. Sergeant John Edward Crockford was "Honourably Released" from the Canadian Army on 20 Mar 1960. He address after discharge was 56 Hillcrest Ave. Kingston, Ont.

Tracking the Crockfords after John left the Army is a sparse trail. The couple appear in the 1958 Voters' List for Kingston, two years before John's discharge. In the list John is identified as "army" and Muriel as "housewife." It does not, however, appear that their marriage lasted after Crockford's military service.

Muriel appears in the 1968 Voters' List for the Electoral District of Rosedale in Toronto. She is identified as a hotel worker, and the number of surnames at the address suggests a building with apartments. John is a little harder to find because his name is a slightly more common, but he does appear in the 1972 Voters' List for the Electoral District of Davenport in Toronto. We can be certain that it is him because he is shown to have moved back in with his parents at 9A Auburn Ave. John is listed as a salesman.

Muriel Crockford died in Toronto in 1981. John Crockford died in 1989.

Pro Patria

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