John Nicholas Crowley

Information about birth

Year of birth:
Place of birth:
Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia

General information


Army information

Australian Imperial Force
Service number:
Enlistment date:
Enlistment place:
Cootamundra, New South Wales, Australia
 —  Australian Infantry, 34th Bn.  (Last known unit)

Information about death

Date of death:
Place of death:
Heine House, Belgium
Cause of death:
Killed in action (K.I.A.)


Tyne Cot Cemetery
Plot: XIX.
Row: D.
Grave: 1

Distinctions and medals 2

Points of interest 2

#1 Place of birth
#2 Enlistment place

My story

Private John Crowley served in the Australian Infantry 34th Battalion, part of the 9th Australian Brigade of the 3rd Australian Division.

At the end of September the 34th Battalion was transferred to Belgium where they found themselves in the middle of the Battle of Passchendaele. On 12 October 1917 the Battalion carried out a disastrous attack on Passchendaele itself. The Battalion’s jumping off line was what is now Tyne Cot Cemetery, and its final objective lay just beyond Passchendaele village. The 34th Battalion was the first Battalion to advance, followed by the 35th and 36th Battalion.

At 5.25 a.m., the barrage came down. It was very weak and it was difficult to determine, which was the own barrage and which was German shell fire. The advance was slow. A first obstacle, were two concrete pillboxes. One in the north of Augustus Wood and one to the northeast of Heine House. German machine-gun fire from those positions caused several casualties and held up the centre of the advance. Captain Jeffries organised a bombing party, which rushed the strongpoints. Four machine guns and 35 prisoners were captured. 150 yards in the rear of this strongpoint was a small trench in which were up to 30 Germans. An attacking party received the order to take control of the small trench. By now the 34th had s-suffered heavy losses and it was decided to send the entire Battalion up with the 35th and 36th Battalion, in the attempt to take control over the next two objectives. The Battalions reached the second objective, the Blue Line, but suffered heavy losses, from German machine gun- and shell fire.

At 3 p.m., the Battalions received instructions to hold the line at all costs. Eventually a new line was constructed from Defy Crossing on the Ypers-Roulers Railroas to the direction of Waterfields.

It is most likely that Pte. Crowley became a casualty during the attack on the strongpoints near Augustus Wood. His remains were found near Heine House. His Red Cross Wounded and Missing Files tell us that he was severely wounded and knocked unconscious by a shell and he must have died of his wounds not long afterwards. He was later reinterred in Tyne Cot Cemetery.

Files 2

Sources 3

34th Australian Infantry Battalion, (Australian War Memorial, Campbell (AWM), AWM4 23/51/12).
Sources used
First Australian Imperial Force Personnel Dossiers, 1914-1920, (National Archives of Australia, Canberra (NAA), B2455, CROWLEY J N).
Sources used
McCarthy C., The Third Ypres Passchendaele. The Day-by-Day Account, (London, Arms & Armour Press, 1995), pg. 113-115.
Sources used

More information 4