Soldier Spotlight: Sergeant Harry Croft

Image: Notes from Harry’s military service file (Library & Archives Canada)

Regimental Number: 79815
Rank: Sergeant
Branch: 31st Battalion

Harry was born in Walsall, England on July 19, 1885. It is unknown when he first came to Canada, but he enlisted in the Canadian Army in Edmonton on November 25, 1914. Harry suffered from gunshot wounds to his “upper extremities” in September of 1916. He was awarded the Military Medal:

“For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty at Courcelette on 15th, Sept 1916. He was wounded at the commencement of the attack but refused to leave the field. His actions though out the day were most conspicuous, and his fine example and courage had a great effect upon the men under his immediate command.”

On June 29, 1918 he was discharged due to “defective feet,” or flat feet, which had begun to trouble him on the march to the Somme in September of 1917. Harry also had varicose veins, which caused swelling in his legs. When he returned to Canada in 1918, Harry filed on NW 15-79-5-W6 and SE 15-79-5-W6. He died at the Veterans Pavilion in Edmonton on December 12, 1952.

Soldier Spotlight highlights veterans from the Archives’ online Soldiers’ Memorial. Each week, our volunteers select a remarkable individual to showcase in this blog series. The Soldiers’ Memorial commemorates more than 1,100 WWI veterans and 2,300 WWII veterans from our region. Three dedicated volunteers have contributed over 1,200 hours to this project by researching and writing biographies. Our goal is to have all South Peace soldiers acknowledged for their service. If you know of someone who lived in the South Peace and should be listed on the Memorial, or would like to get involved by researching a local veteran, please contact the Archives.

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