John William Critchley

John William Critchley (1873-1933) was the son of Thomas Critchley (1834-1902)

We found the following Boer War military records of John William Critchley, who volunteered for the Imperial Yeomanry in 1901, at the National Archives, Kew, London.

He worked as a wheelwright/blacksmith and became a Sergeant Farrier in the army. He joined the 32nd Company of the 2nd Battalion Imperial Yeomanry and it’s interesting that there was only one Sergeant Farrier in every company which included about 120 men of all ranks. A typical Company would include one captain, 4 subalterns, six sergeants, one doctor, one veterinary surgeon, one farrier, two shoeing smiths, one saddler, one bugler, and over 100 rank and file (eg corporals, cooks, officers’ servants) and as many horses as men. They were given £25 for clothing and personal equipment but if they took their own horses (with a preference for small horses) they were given £40.

William Critchley_war 300
John William Critchley

There is also a British army WW1 pension record of John William trying to enlist for service in the First World War. He was discharged one week after enlisting because the maximum age was 38 and he was 39 years old on the form. (We reckon he was actually 41 years old!). It is interesting that he tried to join exactly 14 days before the next child Alice was born on 21 October 1914.  His wife, Edith, would have been left with 6 children under 10 years old!!

The Boer War overlapped Victoria dying and Edward VII becoming king so some men who fought would receive the King’s medal and others the Queen’s medal.

Queens SA medal (front & back)_600
The Queen South Africa Service Medal
(click photo for enlargement)
Attestation papers – Boer War
(click image for enlargement)


Children of John William & Edith Elizabeth Critchley

John William Critchley and Edith Elizabeth Woodward married 2 August 1903 at Holy Trinity Church, Parr, St Helens and had 9 children.

Name Dates Married to
Jack Critchley  1904- Phoebe Stinton in 1926 at Christ Church, Eccleston,  St Helens
Edith Critchley  1906-1999 Richard Kenny
Elizabeth Critchley  1908-1995 Harry Norman Gent in 1940 at Ravenhead Church, St  Helens
Margaret Critchley  1910-1979 James Hodgson
Thomas Critchley  1912- Frances
Alice Critchley  1914-2001 Jack Dagnall in 1935 at Ravenhead Church, St  Helens
Mary Critchley  1916- Stan Dix
James Edward Critchley  1919-1977 Frances Riley in 1948
Anne Critchley  1922-1972

  Chart: John William Critchley & Children

They lived in Burtonhead Road and then Leslie Road, St Helens, Lancashire.

John William died in 1933, although his wife Edith died much later in 1971. They are both buried in the grave (pictured) in St Helens Cemetery. Also interred in the grave are Jack Critchley who was buried on 16 November 1933 shortly after he was born.  Anne Critchley was buried there on 18 February 1972 aged 50 years.

Grave: JW Critchley
Grave of John William & Edith Elizabeth Critchley
(click photo for enlarged view of grave inscription)