Harry Cross was born on June 12th, 1890 in Hackford-next-Reepham, Norfolk, England to Jabez and Kate Cross [nee Hammond]. He was the youngest child in the marriage which produced 3 children, a daughter and two sons. Harry was educated at Harringay Primary School in London between 1895 and 1904 before he went to the Northampton Institute in London for a three year engineering course. During this time, he joined the Royal Army Medical Corps Volunteers, specifically in 1905. In 1907 when he went to London University, he was apart of the Officer Training Corps for 6 months. At the age of around 23, he immigrated to Australia where he married Ellen Mary Sandell in Church Of St Augustine, Neutral Bay in Sydney, New South Wales. In February 1915, he was an Installing Engineer for Western Electric Boycollust Ltd.
On May 1st, 1915 he was appointed Second Lieutenant in the 25th Battalion. A month later, he was promoted to Lieutenant on June 1st. He left Australia from Brisbane on June 29th, 1915. Information concerning his time in Egypt is not noted on his record. He embarked for Gallipoli on September 4th, 1915 after most of the battles were over. He ended up back at Alexandria on January 6th, 1916. On March 14th, he proceeded to France with his Battalion to join the B.E.F, disembarking at Marseilles on March 19th. On May 27th, he was appointed to be Captain. June 5th saw him attached to the 5th Brigade Headquarters. The 25th Battalion would go into action on July 28th at Pozieres where the battalion took some heavy knocks. A week later on August 4th, the Battalion attacked the Pozieres Ridge again to the same result but in this instance, Captain Cross was wounded by a gunshot wound to the neck. Embarking from Havre on the 9th, he was admitted to 3rd London General Hospital at Wandsworth on the 11th.
3rd London General Hospital
6th Brigade stretcher bearers with a red cross flag at Pozieres.
On August 29th, he was discharged from hospital. On November 5th, he was assigned to the Supernumerary List due to his absence from his unit for 3 months. A month later on December 18th, he performed the duties of Adjutant of the 9th Infantry Training Battalion until December 30th. The record is blank for 3 months, next mention being on March 7th, 1917 when he was 'Marched out to Board London from 9th Tng. Btn. Durrington (states Captain)'. Harry's next mention was on the 11th when he marched into 9th Training Battalion from London. On the 26th, he went to Tidworth Hospital due to a sickness, returning to duty on April 16th after marching into Group Headquarters, then to 9th Training Battalion on the 18th. On June 19th, he proceeded to France,
From left to right, 'Nell [Harry's wife], Harry Cross, Jabez Cross, Kate Cross [nee Hammond], Fred Cross [Corporal in B.E.F] and Kate 'Kit' Cross. Fred and 'Kit' were Harry's siblings. This was no doubt taken whilst Harry was apart of 9th Training Battalion in England.
He went to 2nd Australian Division Headquarters on June 22nd at Havre, then ended up with his original battalion, the 25th Battalion, and he was taken back onto strength on June 25th. After a few months back in France, he took leave in Paris on August 8th, returning on the 14th. On October 4th, 1917 he would be involved in the attack on Broodseinde Ridge near Ypres where his Battalion took their objective, but Captain Cross would be wounded on a second occasion, this time in the shoulder. During this action [and other actions in the last month], he would be recognized and be recommended for a Military Cross. The recommendation reads..
For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty during September and October 1917. During the first operation he showed great dash, coolness and courage, and set a splendid example to his men. Again on October 4th it was only because of his coolness and determination that despite a heavy enemy bombardment just prior to Zero hour his Company was collected and taken into the attack. He exercised wonderful control over his men and despite the heavy casualties led them well on to the success they ultimately gained. Unfortunately he was wounded early in the operation, but with determination carried on till two successive further wounds made him a stretcher case. He at all times sets a wonderful example to his men.
The recommendation was dated March 3rd, 1918, and appeared in the London Gazette on June 3rd, 1918 on page 6473 at position 25. He was also recommended for a Croix de Guerre for his actions which were described in this recommendation, but the medal was not awarded.
He was admitted to 20th General Hospital on the 6th, proceeded to England on the 7th, then was admitted to the 3rd London General Hospital, this time it states it was with a gunshot wound to the shoulder and thigh [severe]. On January 4th, 1918 he was assigned to the supernumerary list again. On March 4th, he marched into Sutton Veny though he'd be marched out on May 9th to the Overseas Training Brigade, but this contradicts a record saying he proceeded to France on May 3rd. Either way, he rejoined the 25th Battalion on May 18th. He was recognized as a holder of the Military Cross on June 6th, 1918. Harry was in action on September 2nd, 1918 during the final pushes of the war when he was wounded on a third occasion with a gunshot wound to the right arm. He was sent to England on September 4th, and after quite the spell at Wandsworth again during which time the 25th was broken up [October 1918], was assigned to the Overseas Training Brigade on November 19th following the armistice. He went over to France on November 29th and went to the 26th Battalion. He stayed in England for awhile even though the 1915 embarkers had been repatriated and had a child in September 1919[Marion Cross], and began his return to Australia on November 15th, arriving on December 29th, 1919. His appointment was terminated at 2nd M.D on March 7th, 1920.
Captain Harry Cross, MC. He is wearing the Military Cross and 1914-15 Star ribbon in both photographs.
Harry had an affair with one Violet May McCabe Bennett and she had a child on August 31st, 1921 named Lloyd Hereward “Mac” Maclaine-Cross. He divorced his first wife Nell on November 26th, 1925 and married Violet just under a week later on December 1st. He moved about a fair bit, from Southampton [March 1926] to Texas [November 1926]. He then went to Montevideo, where he was appointed a Member of the British Empire; M.B.E in the 1954 New Years Honours. He appears as "Captain Harry Cross, MC, Market Officer at Her Majesty's Embassy in Montevideo". He went to London on February 8th, 1955, presumably to accept the award? Either way he returned to Montevideo again. Following the First World War, he never contacted his family whatsoever. This prompted a search in early 1975 which ended up with them finding him. Below are two documents, the letter and reply. Note they don't mention the Military Cross in his post-nominals.
His family were successful, yet if they met him is unknown. It is most likely they didn't as Captain Harry Cross M.B.E, M.C died in July [9th?] 1975. He had been wounded three times in the Great War, married twice, had two children and served Australia for nearly 5 years.
His grave, mostly in a state of ill-repute in Montevideo.
His son, Lloyd Hereward “Mac” Maclaine-Cross was an officer in the King's Royal Rifle Corps in the Second World War. Pictured below.
Below is another letter, dated November 1929. This letter was sent to Jabez concerning Harry.
Below is the medal set that Captain Cross would've been entitled to..
Member of the British Empire [Civil], Military Cross, 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Edited by tankengine888