William John Crane

Memorial: Chipping Sodbury Town Cross - Broad Street

Regiment: Dorset Regiment

Medals: British War Medal, Next of Kin Memorial Plaque 1914 - 1921, Victory Medal

Rank and number: Shoeing Smith RTS/8710

Parents: William and Elizabeth Crane

Marital status: Married

Home address: Parents: Wraxall, Bristol. William & Emily: Rounceval Street, Chipping Sodbury, Bristol

Pre-war occupation: Farrier

Date of birth: 1877

Place of birth: Pill, Somerset

Date of death: 09/10/1918

Buried/Commemorated at: Cremona Town Cemetery, Italy. Grave B8

Age: 41

Further information:

William married Emily Watkins of Old Sodbury, Bristol on 11th June 1902

There was no-one else quite like William Crane among those listed on the Chipping Sodbury War Memorial. He alone took his peace-time work with him into war and travelled the world with it. His job as a Farrier became that of ‘shoeing-smith’, and was apparently without rank. Every single fighting unit in that war was dependent on horses, and each one needed four shoes on and plenty of spares

The Army Service Corps soon to have the ‘Royal’ prefix, would have been one of the most familiar Services to the public in Chipping Sodbury. This was thanks to its fleets of tented wagons parked all along the High Street in the pre-war years, and its presence at many varied Army campsites, including those beside the river here in the field opposite the church. The wagons themselves provided for another major role of the Corps, the provision of transport, and supplies for storage and for current needs

In his early years of service William was most likely engaged as a “Shoeing Smith on Home Service”, that is being available to those Regiments with the greatest need. After a midterm break (in his Contract for the Duration of the War) he would have been re-deployed in one of any number of units in this country or abroad. Without much more research, it has unfortunately not been possible to track his war record either as a Shoeing Smith, or in any other aspect of his Army Service, Transport or Supplies roles

As the war was drawing to its close in 1918, William Crane found himself hospitalised in Northern Italy with Broncho-pneumonia. Given the progress of the influenza pandemic at the time, it may well be that his illness was a developing part of that outbreak, in which no amount of hospital care for a man of 41 could have prevented his untimely death. The Cemetery adjoining the hospital in Cremona had a plot set aside for British and Commonwealth burials, 83 in all at the time of William’s death, nearly all from that same hospital

William John Crane is remembered on the on the Chipping Sodbury Town Cross and on the Chipping Sodbury and District War Memorial Cottage Hospital board, now at Yate and District Heritage Centre under Chipping Sodbury

Forces War Records show William's Battalion as the 10th Remounts, Royal Army Service Corps

By kind permission, this information is based on the following source(s):

Alison Benton (2014) Remembered with Honour. Sprint Print, Yate
Forces War Records