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41501 Private Alfred (Percy) Percival Crowe
 
Alfred Percival Crowe was born at Johnsonville on 9th July 1892 the son of Alice and Patrick Crowe.
 
The Crowe family were farmers in Takapu,  Tawa and in 1916 Percy Crowe was farming with his father.
 
Percy’s enlistment papers, signed on 16th October 1916, note that he was a single man who had previously been medically examined and rejected by the army because of faulty vision.[i] 
 
The medical papers in October 1916 note that he was ‘Fit’ but he was almost blind in his right eye with the medical examiner wrote ‘though blind in the right eye is accustomed to shoot from the left shoulder,’[ii] reflecting the need to send more men to the front.
 
Percy entered camp on 2nd January 1917 as 41501 Private Alfred
Percival Crowe, F Company, 24th Reinforcements but after initial
training was placed in the 23rd Reinforcements which sailed for
France on the 2nd April 1917. HMNZT (His Majesties NZ Transport)
Corinthic left Wellington and sail first to Cape Town, South Africa
before making a run up the Atlantic to Devonport, England. It was
at sea that Private Crowe on 1st June 1917 suddenly died. Because
Private Crowe was not sick prior to his sudden death an on board
autopsy was carried out which showed he had appendicitis possible
peritonitis and also a diseased heart. The formal medical certificate
was issued as
 
‘ Died at sea on board SS Corinthic in the North Atlantic of
Valvular Disintir – Buried at Sea.’[iii]
 
 
 
 
41501 Private (Percy) Alfred Percival Crowe
 
 
 
 
 
In September 1917 while at sea 50095 Driver James (Wilf) Wilfred Mexted (see notes) 28th Reinforcements, New Zealand Field Artillery was also sailing in the North Atlantic, he wrote to his father in Tawa:[v]
 
            Tuesday Sept
            Dear Old Pap
 
How are you doing, fancy, just on three months without hearing how you are. I suppose you have stayed
down in the devlin well too long a few times since I left. I often picture you cutting around down below &
poor mama calling you up. Well Pap we are only a week off England now & we have had good luck so far,
& I am feeling very well myself. I suppose its somewhere in these quarters, where poor old Percy Crowe
came to grief. I often think of the poor old (paper is moth eaten at this point - Ed) when I look out to sea.
I expect you have heard all the particulars of his death by this time. When I reach England I will go to the
records office & find out what I can. . . . . . . .
 
I will shut off now, wishing you the best of luck till I return.
 
Your affectionate son
Wilf
 

Private Crowe was remembered by his family in the memoriam printed in the Evening Post on the anniversary of his death:[iv]

 

Memoriam printed in the Evening Post 2 July 1918
M and B Mexted are Alice Maud (nee Crowe) and Stephen Bertram Mexted.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Notes:
Valvular Disintir is a disease of the heart where a heart valve does not prevent blood flow the wrong way around the heart.
Alice Maud Crowe (Percy’s older sister) married, in 1909, Stephen Bertram Mexted the elder brother of James (Wilf) Wilfred Mexted who’s letters and story will feature in another article.  
 
References:
Archways Archives New Zealand – Military Records: 41501 Private Alfred Percival Crowe
Mexted family: Unpublished letters home written (1917 – 1919) by 50095 Driver James Wilfred Mexted
 
Photos:
Private Crowe: Auckland Weekly News 1917
 
[i] Archway Archives New Zealand – Military Records: 41501 Private Alfred Percival Crowe
[ii] Archway Archives New Zealand – Military Records: 41501 Private Alfred Percival Crowe
[iii] Archway Archives New Zealand – Military Records: 41501 Private Alfred Percival Crowe
[iv] Memoriam (1st June 1918) Evening Post
[v] Unpublished letters home – James Wilfred Mexted (1916-1919): Mexted Family
 
 
Private Percy Crowe