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George Millar

Private Mark Crossey, 36th (Ulster) Cyclist Company, Service N° 6402

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George Millar

Hi all,

I’m doing some research on the above soldier who was born on the 11th September 1899 in Belfast to parents William Edward Crossey & Annie Kilpatrick.  By the time of the 1901 Census of Ireland the family was living at 108 Cromac Street in Belfast.  Mark’s father was a Grocer by trade and it seems the family had a grocers shop in the city.  In 1904 Mark’s father died at the age of 35 years in Lisburn, Co Antrim where the Crossey family had originated come from.  By the time of the 1911 Census of Ireland the family had relocated and was now living at 114 Ormeau Road in Belfast, Mark’s mother taking over the family business.

When war broke out in August 1914 Mark was 15 years and would have still been at school but it seems that he was determined to join the Army.  Sometime in early 1915 he enlisted into the 36th (Ulster) Division Cyclist Company, he was still only 15 years old and underage.  He left for France with the rest of the 36th (Ulster) Division on the 3rd October 1915 (just turned 16 years old) disembarking at Le Havre on the 4th October 1915.  Mark was a member of the Fitzroy Avenue Presbyterian Church in Belfast and in their War Memorial he is listed as having been wounded.

Having looked through the War Diary for the 36th (Ulster) Cyclist Company until its disbandment,  I can only find one soldier listed as having been wounded, Private W Barry, S/N° 5942 wounded on the 15th/16th November 1915. The Company seemed to supply many of their men for other duties eg attached to the 150th Company Royal Engineers or the 76th Sanitary Section etc.  According to their diary, when the company was disbanded at the end of May 1916, half of the men were transferred to the15th Batt Royal Irish Rifles and the other half which became “B” Company in the “X”th Corps Cyclist Battalion.

I was wondering if Mark Crossey would have transferred to the “X”th Corps Cyclist Battalion as his MIC doesn’t list him in the 15th Royal Irish Rifles.  His MIC does list him as transferring to the Army Pay Corps with a service N° 22404.  Would this have been because of his age?

I was wondering if any of the forum members would have any additional information on the 36th (Ulster) Division Cyclist Company, the “X” Corps Cyclist Battalion or the Army Pay Corps.  Any information would be appreciated.

By the way, Mark survived the war, became an Incorporated Accountant with his own business premises in Belfast.  He married Ellen Lemon on the 23rd June 1923 and later died in 1976 in Bangor, County Down.  Mark’s brother William Edward also served with the 10th Batt Royal Irish Rifles (S/N° 10/14223) and was later commissioned into the 55th Batt Machine Gun Corps as a Temporary 2nd Lieutenant.

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owen4256

6402 Private Mark Crossey was reported wounded in the War Office Casualty List of 14th Septenber 1917. He was still with the Army Cyclist Corps. There were six cyclists reported wounded in that list. I believe that these were the six men of X Corps Cyclist Battlalion wounded by artillery fire on the 17th August 1917 whilst burying signal cable. Four of the other five were originally 36th Divisional Cyclist Company so I am confident that Crossey transferred to X Corps Cyclist Battalion in May 1916. His number suggests enlistment in April 1915. 

 

Regards

 

Clive

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George Millar

Hello Clive,

Just spotted your post on Mark Crossey.  Many thanks for the information, it adds another bit to his life story.  As I said in my original post, he was transferred to the Army Pay Corps with a Service N° 22404, do you think that this might have been because of his injury that you have highlighted.

Regards

George

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Ron Clifton

Hello George

 

The original purpose of a Divisional Cyclist Company was to assist the Divisional Cavalry Squadron in reconnaissance duties. Under the conditions of trench warfare the need for this at divisional level had reduced so it is not surprising to find that the men were occasionally used in assisting other units such as the RE or the Sanitary Section. In May 1916 the divisional mounted units were consolidated into Corps Cavalry Regiments and Corps Cyclist Battalions.

 

It is quite possible that he was transferred to the Army Pay Corps following his wounding, although it is also possible that he had come to attention as a "bright lad who was good with figures", given his subsequent career as an accountant.

 

Ron

 

 

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owen4256

George

 

Ron has set out the two basic scenarios. Without his service papers you are unlikely to get a definite answer. I have a look at the papers in the 244?? Series for the APC who joined late August 1918. The ones I sampled were lower medical categories so I would favour his wound resulting in a lower medical classification as the reason for his transfer. 

 

Best

 

Clive

Edited by owen4256

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George Millar

Ron & Clive,

Thanks for the additional information, do you think then that he joined the APC in mid to late 1918 going by his service number?  Would his age have played any part in his transfer as when he joined in 1915 he was still only 15 years old?

George

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owen4256

George

 

The APC Service No indicates a transfer in August 1918. He was still not officially old enough for overseas service in August 1917 so if anyone had worked out his real age by then it might have been a factor. Attached suggests he had no further overseas service and confirms his August 1917 wound. From the Belfast Newsletter 15 January 1919

 

Best

 

 

Clive

 

 

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Edited by owen4256

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George Millar

Clive,

Once again many thanks for the information and taking the time to reply.  It confirms what you originally said about his wounding in 1917 and also confirms the information I have on his brother William Edward Crossey.  It all adds another little bit of information to the family history.

Thanks once again.

George

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