Henry George Crumpen, usually known as ‘Harry,’ was a butcher like his father before him. He married in 1909 and went on to have three children. He was living in the Moulsham area of Chelmsford when he joined the army in November 1915. He landed in France in September 1916 and died from a gun shot wounds to the head and abdomen in October 1918 six weeks before the Armistice.

Harry was born in Witham in 1882 the son of butcher and publican James Crumpen and Sarah Ann Crumpen (nee Digby). His father had been born in 1840 in Ulting; his mother in Birch five years later. The couple had married in Pentonville, London on 3rd June 1872.

Harry’s four siblings, all Witham-born, were Edith Violet Crumpen (born in 1873), Mabel Digby Crumpen (1875-1961), James Edward Crumpen (1877-1968), and Digby Joseph Crumpen (1880-1962).

The 1891 census recorded eight year-old Harry with his parents and four older siblings in Bridge Street, WItham, where his father was a butcher. A decade later the family had moved to the Bull Inn in Great Totham where his father was the publican and butcher. Meanwhile Harry was an 18 year-old butcher’s assistant living with butcher Alfred Hickman and his family at 1 High Street in Wandsworth, Surrey.

On 27th June 1909 Harry married Myra West at Tolleshunt D’Arcy. She had been born in Maldon in 1880. The couple went on to have three children, Edith May Crumpen (born in 1910), Robert Henry Crumpen (born in 1912), and Hilda Myra Crumpen (born in 1918).

In 1911 Harry was recorded by the census at Rosslyn in Great Totham. He was a journeyman butcher assisting his father in his business. Meanwhile his eight month-old daughter was a visitor at 13 Victoria Road in Maldon. At the time his father was a butcher and publican at the Bull Inn in Great Totham. At the end of that year Harry’s father died.

By 1915 Harry was living at 4 Roman Road and worked as a butcher for Green and Sons. On 30th November that year he attested to join the army at Chelmsford. At the time his next of kin was his wife at Rosslyn in Great Totham. He was immediately placed in the army reserve before being mobilised on 5th June 1916 as Private 25519 in the Northamptonshire Regiment.


Private, 6th Battalion, York & Lancaster Regiment (formerly of the Northamptonshire Regiment)

On 29th September 1916 Harry crossed from Folkestone to Boulogne in France, six weeks after the birth of his youngest child. On 14th October 1916 he was transferred as Private 31833 in the 6th Battalion of the York and Lancaster Regiment.

He died from gun shot wounds to the head and abdomen on 3rd October 1918 at 22 General Hospital at Amiens having been wounded two days earlier. He was 36 years old.

Today he lies in grave LXVIII G 21 at Etaples Military Cemetery.

He left an estate valued at £706 2s. 6d.

His widow, still living at Rosslyn in Great Totham, was awarded a pension of 29 shillings and sixpence per week from 14th April 1919.

She later lived at Westholm in Tolleshunt D’Arcy  and died relatively young in 1929.

Harry’s mother died in 1937.