This page is sacred to the memory of WILLIAM HERBERT CRISFIELD, ANZAC, who died of “wounds received in action” during the first three days of the Gallipoli Campaign.
William was born in Corowa in early May 1887, however, the battered edge of the page of the baptismal register that would reveal the precise date is missing. It appears to have been 6th of May, (deciphered by studying the loop of the ‘6’ in the subsequent entry in the Baptism Register and comparing it with the remnant of the loop in William’s entry). This means he died of his wounds on his 28th birthday. Perhaps family members will clarify the birth date by seeking the information from the State register of Births, Deaths and Marriages.
William was baptised in St Mary’s Corowa on 9th June 1887 by Fr John I. Curley.
William Crisfield’s baptism is entry #6 on the 44th (double) page of St Mary’s 1878-1895 Baptism Register (double click the image to read clearly)
William’s parents were John Crisfield and Arrabella (Gower) Crisfield, residing in Queen Street, Corowa, NSW. William’s father was a Veterinary Surgeon and an “Equine Dentist”. Note that Fr Curley’s writing of Arrabella’s maiden name appears as “Gooer”. William’s niece, Mary Fitzgibbon, assures the web manager it should have been ‘Gower’. Interestingly, Fr Curley’s spelling for Arrabella’s surname was ‘Gour’ for the entry on 13th February 1887 for William’s older brother “John Charles'” baptism. He was born in March 1884 (date uncertain because the edge of the page is missing) … Fr Curley may not have met “Gower” before and spelt simply as he heard it from Arrabella, or from a family member.
The following items were supplied to this website by Mary Fitzgibbon, the niece of William Herbert Crisfield. William was the second oldest of six sons in the family and Mary’s father was the youngest. The godparents were James Kennedy and Cecilia (Cecelia in Register) McMahon.
The photo of William (above) was likely taken in Cairo [However, on closer examination, because of the trunk of what seems to be a juvenile Australian eucalyptus at his left, it may be one of a number of copies of a photo he had taken in Australia, before embarkation. ed.]. He sent it to a friend Tom Lee and wrote a message on the back. The message, although faded, has been transcribed by one of Mary’s sons-in-law as follows.
This early photo of William’s grave is taken at Chatby Cemetery, Alexandria where he was buried by Archdeacon Ward soon after his death on 6th May 1915. All Australian graves in that cemetery have been refurbished in recent years. Mary’s daughter, Anne, visited the cemetery in 1994 and took the following photos.
Headstone for William Herbert Crisfield at Australian War Graves Cemetery, Chatby, Alexandria, Egypt. Photo by Anne Fitzgibbon, 17th June 1994. It reads: 896 Private [his Service Number] W.H. Crisfield, 7th BN (Battalion) Australia Inf., 6th May 1915.
Australian War Graves, Chatby, Alexandria, Egypt.
Anne Fiztgibbon beside her great uncle’s burial place, Chatby, Alexandria, Egypt.
* * *
May he and all the ANZACs rest in peace.
* * *