Croft Family

Croft Family

Postby Ryan » 16 Feb 2015, 16:19

Hello,

I stumbled upon this website after googling about earby.
We are busy with a research project over here in the Netherlands about a world war 2 plane that crashed in the north sea on the 3rd of august 1940.
One of the crew members was a Jack Millen Croft from Earby.

* The croft family was living at 8 spring terrace in earby.
On this website i found the following information: 1930
CH. 24/01/1930. In a report on the death of William Wilkinson it is noted that A Bailey (Earby Shed Company) was present at the funeral. (The Bailey family built Spring Terrace on Stoneybank Road Earby as housing for their relations in connection with Spring Mill.


Am i correct in believing that Spring terrace was on the Stoneybank Road or was it a side street on this road?
Does anybody have a photograph of Spring terrace dating 1940-1945?

* Jack croft had a sister Betty Croft who was a weaver at Spring Mill, how likely would it be that father Croft was working at spring mill aswell?

* Does anybody know which school the children would attend in the period 1925/1935 in this area?

Unfortunately none of the family members has any photographs of this Croft family and we are currently looking for new leads, maybe there's a school photograph with jack millen croft on it.
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Re: Croft Family

Postby Wendyf » 16 Feb 2015, 20:21

Hello Ryan, welcome to the site. I have passed your questions on to some Earby History Society members who might come up with some answers for you. There is a page on Facebook called Earby, people, and places,Then and Now , it might be worth joining the group and asking on there.
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Re: Croft Family

Postby Wendyf » 16 Feb 2015, 20:49

I have had a reply from Robert Abel, the Earby History Society Chairman. He wrote a book for the society called "Remember Them" after researching the names on the Earby War Memorial. This is about Jack Millen Croft.


.CROFT, JACK MILLEN

Squadron 115 Squadron Royal Airforce
Rank Sergeant
Service Number 635759
Date Died August 3rd 1940
Theatre of War Germany
Memorial Remembered with honour on the Runnymede Memorial
Parents Carey and Harriet Ann Croft of Earby

YOUNG AIR GUNNER MISSING
Shock for Earby Parents

Sergeant Jack Croft of 8 Spring Terrace, Earby, an air gunner and wireless operator in the RAF has been reported missing. An official telegram to this effect was received by his parents on Saturday morning. Sergeant Croft, who joined the RAF in February 1939, has taken part in numerous bombing and recognisance flights over Germany and has been involved in many arial battles. He is 20 years of age and as a boy he attended Alder Hill Council School. On leaving school he served his apprenticeship as an electrician being employed successively by Messrs Dodgson and Mr. J. Ellison, Earby.

Craven Herald 9th August 1940


Earby Girl Dies In Street
Within a few weeks of receiving news of the loss of their son Mr. and Mrs. C. Croft of 8 Spring Terrace, Earby had a further shock when their daughter, Miss Betty Croft, collapsed and died in the street. Her death was due to natural causes.

Her bother Jack Croft was a wireless operator/gunner in the RAF and was among the crew of a bombing plane which crashed during operations over Germany. The dead bodies of four of his comrades are reported to have been washed up on the Dutch Coast..
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Re: Croft Family

Postby Ryan » 16 Feb 2015, 20:56

Thank you very much Wendy.

We have this information you posted + the newspaper articles.
We are also in contact with the relatives of Jack Croft but unfortunately no one has a photograph.

Our main focus is on finding a photograph of Jack Croft, we have photographs of the other 5 crew members.
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Re: Croft Family

Postby Wendyf » 17 Feb 2015, 08:43

I've posted a request for photos on the Earby Then & Now Facebook page, you never know!
Will also have a look through the history society's photo archive.
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Re: Croft Family

Postby Ryan » 17 Feb 2015, 08:51

Wendyf wrote:I've posted a request for photos on the Earby Then & Now Facebook page, you never know!
Will also have a look through the history society's photo archive.


Thanks again Wendy!
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Re: Croft Family

Postby Wendyf » 17 Feb 2015, 13:47

Just had a look on Ancestry UK and found this photo which might be of Jack (on right of picture). This description is with the photo:-

On reverse it says: "This card came back with Jack's belongings. I thought you would like to have it. The leave? one is Betty's friend, the airforce boy. from Mother" The one with the cross is presumably Jack Milnes Croft

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Re: Croft Family

Postby Ryan » 17 Feb 2015, 15:11

Woow it could be yes.

Do you have a link from the ancestry site Wendy?

/Edit i found it.

YESS it must be him, Jack was born in 1919!
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Re: Croft Family

Postby Ryan » 17 Feb 2015, 15:28

Fantastic Wendy!
Thank you very very much!
I will make a small donation to this site for the help!
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Re: Croft Family

Postby Ryan » 17 Feb 2015, 15:44

We will also try to contact the person who uploaded this photograph on Ancestry to try to find out some more information.
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Re: Croft Family

Postby Wendyf » 17 Feb 2015, 16:44

Glad I could help! I see there is another private photo on Ancestry of Jack with the correct spelling.
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Re: Croft Family

Postby Ryan » 17 Feb 2015, 17:05

Hi wendy,

Can you send me the link if possible?

/Edit

I have found it, thanks!
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Re: Croft Family

Postby Wendyf » 17 Feb 2015, 18:05

I hope you will keep us updated with your progress Ryan.
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Re: Croft Family

Postby plaques » 17 Feb 2015, 20:08

Ryan wrote:Am i correct in believing that Spring terrace was on the Stoneybank Road or was it a side street on this road?
Does anybody have a photograph of Spring terrace dating 1940-1945?

I'm not sure about this but it would seem that Spring Terrace is now numbers 8 to 24 Stoneybank Rd. Number 8 being the house nearest the mill. Perhaps Wendy can do some digging for you.
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Re: Croft Family

Postby Ryan » 17 Feb 2015, 20:17

Wendyf wrote:I hope you will keep us updated with your progress Ryan.


Sure will Wendy! One of our researchers went to the national archives in Kew today and found a hand written letter of Jack's father.
Another researcher is trying to get in contact with the person on Ancestry, i found out it's a Fenning, jack's mother's surname was Fenning!
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Re: Croft Family

Postby Ryan » 17 Feb 2015, 20:18

plaques wrote:
Ryan wrote:Am i correct in believing that Spring terrace was on the Stoneybank Road or was it a side street on this road?
Does anybody have a photograph of Spring terrace dating 1940-1945?

I'm not sure about this but it would seem that Spring Terrace is now numbers 8 to 24 Stoneybank Rd. Number 8 being the house nearest the mill. Perhaps Wendy can do some digging for you.


Thank you for your input plaques :thumbsup3:
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Re: Croft Family

Postby Wendyf » 17 Feb 2015, 21:46

I have been talking this evening to a lady who was brought up at 20 Spring Terrace and yes, it is the row of houses on Stoneybank Road just up from the mill. She knew of the Croft family and Jack's death, though she would have been very young at the time. Jack's father was the Engineman at Spring Mill, which is why they had the house in the terrace.
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Re: Croft Family

Postby Ryan » 17 Feb 2015, 22:16

Wendyf wrote:I have been talking this evening to a lady who was brought up at 20 Spring Terrace and yes, it is the row of houses on Stoneybank Road just up from the mill. She knew of the Croft family and Jack's death, though she would have been very young at the time. Jack's father was the Engineman at Spring Mill, which is why they had the house in the terrace.


Woow, what a help yous bring us! Amazing!

Wendy, i have been contacted through PM by someone who said she talked to someone who used to play with Jack croft, this man lived on 12 Spring Terrace and we are trying to get in touch with this person.
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Re: Croft Family

Postby Ryan » 17 Feb 2015, 23:07

Some extra information for the people interested in this story.

Our research team has been busy for 3 years investigating this Crew/Plane.
It is amazing how close we feel to this crew and what "joy" it brings us to "solve" this case.
We have "nearly" all the information we need/is out there and the reason i came to this forum was to find pictures of Jack Millen Croft because he was the only person without a "face" in our investigation.
I can not share all the information yet but soon it will all go public.

Jack millen croft was part of the Vickers Wellington Mk1C R3202 Crew.

41013 - P/O. - Pilot - R. T. Gerry - KIA
42723 - P/O. - Co-Pilot - R. W. Pryor - KIA
359517 - F/Sgt. - Observer - R. J. Ruffell-Hazell - DFM (Distinguished Flying Medal) - MIA
640266 - Sgt. - W.Operator / Air Gunner - J. Dempsey - KIA
635759 - Sgt. - Air Gunner - J. M. Croft - MIA
76931 - P/O. - Air Gunner - S. J. S. Wilde - KIA

Here's a photograph of a Wellington Mk1C also nicknamed "Wimpy"
Image

On the 2nd of august 1940 they got sent on a bombing raid over Germany. (Hamburg, Altona & Emden docks, Railway junctions)
Jack was an air gunner on this flight.

They went airborne @ 21:24 to go and hit their targets.
At returning back home to RAF Marham Pilot Officer Gerry sent out S.O.S signals for approximately half an hour starting at around 01:45, last signal received 100 miles N.E from Marham.

Later that night RAF Marham sent out a plane to look for the crew in the North Sea and also searched for the crew the following day without luck.

4 of the crew members washed ashore over here in The Netherlands, 2 crew members reported M.I.A (Missing in action).
Sergeant Jack Millen Croft is one of these 2 still missing in action on paper.
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Re: Croft Family

Postby Ryan » 17 Feb 2015, 23:52

Here i have a video about a Wellington Gun Turret Drill, the same Jack Croft used to do.

Watch on liveleak.com


Note: Listen at 1:41 to 1:44 and compare it with my previous post where the last signal was received & also note the time in the video compared to the time S.O.S signals were getting received. What a coincidence!
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Re: Croft Family

Postby Stanley » 18 Feb 2015, 05:05

Good work Wendy! OG at its best, ferreting out lost information. Lovely....
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Re: Croft Family

Postby Wendyf » 18 Feb 2015, 13:40

The electoral registers in Earby for 1939 & 1945 are available on Ancestry, if you were looking to track families of ex neighbours down then that's the place to start. Jack's father is listed as Charles Carey Croft. I believe the gentleman who lived at no 12 is nearly 99 years old now, there is a lovely picture on Facebook HERE of him at Spring Terrace.
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Re: Croft Family

Postby Ryan » 18 Feb 2015, 13:52

Wendyf wrote:The electoral registers in Earby for 1939 & 1945 are available on Ancestry, if you were looking to track families of ex neighbours down then that's the place to start. Jack's father is listed as Charles Carey Croft. I believe the gentleman who lived at no 12 is nearly 99 years old now, there is a lovely picture on Facebook HERE of him at Spring Terrace.


Thanks again Wendy.

We are currently waiting for a reply from Elise who contacted us about Arthur Aldersley that knew jack and used to "play out" with him alot.
We will also have that photograph that is listed as "private" of Jack Croft very soon, one of our research team is in contact with the person and this person is related to jack from his mother side "Fenning".
Jack's father and grandfather's name got mixed up in alot of files unfortunately, we have jack's family tree.
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Re: Croft Family

Postby Stanley » 19 Feb 2015, 04:26

Fred Inman (see his transcripts in the LTP) lived on Spring Terrace most of his life. Worth reading if you want a general sense of what it was like living there. Pity he's dead because he almost certainly knew your family.
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Re: Croft Family

Postby Ryan » 19 Feb 2015, 19:11

Stanley wrote:Fred Inman (see his transcripts in the LTP) lived on Spring Terrace most of his life. Worth reading if you want a general sense of what it was like living there. Pity he's dead because he almost certainly knew your family.


Thank you Stanley :thumbsup3:
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