Douglas Crozier was born into a large Chelmsford family the son of a volunteer soldier who served in the Boer War and First World War. Douglas joined the Territorials as a drummer boy by 1934 and was mobilized at the outbreak of the Second World War. He was sent to France and survived the Dunkirk evacuation. He married in April 1942 in Chelmsford and soon afterwards was sent to serve in north Africa. He went missing in March 1943 in Tunisia, His home was in West Avenue.
Douglas was born in Chelmsford in 1920 when his family were resident at 15 Victoria Road. He was one of eleven children of John William Crozier (1875-1964) and Emma Mary Crozier (nee Ruffell) (1882-1970). His parents had married at St. Mary's Church (today's Cathedral) on 5th August 1905. At the time Douglas' father was a 30 year-old iron moulder who lived at 28 Roman Road in Chelmsford. His bride was eight years younger and lived at 6 Victoria Square in Chelmsford.
Douglas' father served in the South African War as a City Imperial Volunteer, and was with the 5th Battalion of the Essex Regiment during the First World War. His mother's brother, was killed in 1915 while serving with the Essex Regiment and is commemorated by the Chelmsford War Memorial.
Douglas's siblings were: John William Crozier (1906-1907), Frederick William Crozier (1907-1983), Ernest George Crozier (1910-1983), Mary Crozier (1911-1978), Arthur Crozier (1913-1984), Jack Crozier (1915-1915), Albert Crozier (1916-2006), Harry Crozier (born in 1918), Frank Crozier (1922-2003), and Kenneth Crozier (1926-2005).
Prior to 1934 Douglas joined the Territorial 5th Battalion of the Essex Regiment where he was initially a drummer boy.
As a Territorial he was mobilised at the outbreak of war and sent to France where he served as Serjeant 6012237 in the 1/7th Battalion of The Queen's Royal Regiment (West Surrey). He was a survivor of Dunkirk and for his service in the retreat to there he had been mentioned in dispatches.
Douglas' brothers all served in the army during the war. In 1942 the Essex Chronicle reported that 67 year-old John Crozier of West Avenue, Chelmsford had seven sons in the army; three were with the Royal Army Service Corps in the middle east, 32 year-old Corporal Ernest, 29 year-old Corporal Arthur and 23 year-old Private Harry; 25 year-old Albert was also in the Royal Army Service Corps, 34 year-old Gunner Fred was with the Royal Artillery in west Africa, 21 year old Serjeant Douglas was with the Queen’s Regiment and the youngest, 19 year-old Gunner Frank, was with an Anti-Aircraft (searchlight) company.
Douglas CROZIER, Serjeant, 1/7th Battalion, The Queen's Royal Regiment (West Surrey)
Killed in Tunisia by exploding landmines. Aged 22
In 11th April 1942 Douglas married Amy Beard at Chelmsford Cathedral. At the time he was 21 years old, serving in the army, and lived at 4 West Avenue. His bride was 19 years old and the daughter of William Beard a machinist, and lived at 56 Browning’s Avenue in Chelmsford. The previous day the Cathedral had been the scene of the wedding of Douglas’ brother Albert.
1942 also saw the death of Douglas’ aunt, , killed as a result of a Home Guard training exercise in Chelmsford.
On 11th March 1943 Douglas was fatally wounded in north Africa by a pair of land mines which exploded whilst he was on patrol near the Marenth Line in Tunisia. He had to be left there until rescue parties returned, but when they did so there was no trace of him. He was subsequently presumed to have died from his wounds. He was aged 22. At the time of his death Douglas' parents were still living at 4 West Avenue in Chelmsford. Shortly before his death Douglas wrote to his mother:
‘I shall not be able to write again for a bit as I have got more than my hands full. Everything is going O.K. We have a bit of a stone wall in front of us at the moments, but that is not worrying us.’
Today Douglas rests in Medjez-El-Bab War Cemetery in Tunisia (grave 17. E. 5.).
Douglas left an estate valued at £113 16s. 1d.
In 1946 Douglas' widow married his brother Harry.