2nd Lt
Norman Cruddas

Information about birth

Year of birth:
Place of birth:
Bombay, Presidency of Bombay, British Raj

General information

Last known residence:
unknown, Swaziland

Army information

South Africa
British Expeditionary Force
Second Lieutenant
Enlistment date:
Enlistment place:
unknown, Swaziland
 —  South African Infantry Regiment, 3rd Bn. (Transvaal and Rhodesia)  (Last known unit)

Information about death

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


La Brique Military Cemetery No. 2
Plot: I
Row: Y
Grave: 2

Distinctions and medals 2

Points of interest 4

#1 Place of birth
#2 Last known residence
#3 Enlistment place
#4 Place of death (approximate)

My story

Norman Cruddas was born in 1880 in Bombay, Bombay Presidency, British India. He was the son of John and Annie Wilson. In 1891 he lived in a boarding house in Hove, Sussex, England while attending the Sutton Valence School, where he is listed on the memorial. His family lived in Troon, Ayrshire, Scotland, where Norman is remembered on a memorial in St. Ninian's Church. Before the war Norman emigrated to South Africa. He took part in the Second Boer War and served as a Trooper in the 22nd (Cheshire) Company of the 2nd Battalion Imperial Yeomanry. Norman enlisted on 19 September 1915, later being commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the 3rd Regiment South African Infantry, part of the South African Brigade, of the 9th (Scottish) Division.

On the 20th Of September 1917, the 9th (Scottish) Division participated in the Battle of the Menin Road Ridge, a phase in the Third Battle of Ypres. Two of its Brigades were to take part: the 27th and the South African Brigade. The 27th Brigade attacked with the 6th King’s Own Scottish Borderers and the 9th Scottish Rifles; the 12th Royal Scots were in support. The leading battalions of the South African Brigade were the 3rd and 4th South African Regiments, with the 1st and 2nd South African Regiments in support. The objective of the South African Regiments was the Red Dotted Line, running roughly along the Hanebeek Stream. The 4th South African Regiment would attack from the left, while the 3rd South African Regiment would attack from the right.

The 3rd South African Regiment reached the front-line trenches at 11.30 p.m. on the night of 19 September. They held the line from a point about 200 metres east of Low Farm, running southeast until the Bourgognestraat, north of Railway Dump. “C” company (under Captain Ellis) was placed on the left, “B” company (under Captain Sprenger) in the centre and “A” company (under Captain Vivian) was placed on the right. “D” company (under Captain Tomlinson) was in support, but one platoon was attached to each of the attacking companies.

At 5.40 a.m. the attacking Battalions advanced behind a barrage. The left wing of the 3rd South African Regiment advanced without heavy opposition. They captured Vampir, crossed the Hanebeek stream and captured Mitchells Farm at about 6:15 a.m. The situation on the right wing was more difficult. “A” Company and a part of “B” and “D” Company reached their objectives, but could not advance any further as the 12th Royal Scots were held up by opposition from Potsdam. “A” Company was ordered to capture Potsdam, but this attack disintegrated, causing heavy casualties. The strongpoint was eventually captured with assistance from “B” Company, although also incurring heavy casualties. The Germans troops evacuated Potsdam, running up Zonnebeke Railway. The remaining troops and machine guns were captured. Potsdam was left in charge of the 12th Royal Scots so the companies could again move towards their objective east of the Hanebeek stream. By nightfall, the 9th Division managed to consolidate all objectives. At 5 pm there was a German counterattack, but it was soon stopped by artillery. The 3rd South African Regiment was relieved on the night of 21st/22nd September.

Norman Cruddas, aged 37, was killed in action on September 20, 1917. He was leading “D” Company during the attack on Potsdam when he was killed. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission believes that Second Lieutenant Cruddas was buried among four other South African soldiers near Brick Kiln & Yard, Zonnebeke at 28.D.28.a.4.1. His remains were exhumed and interred at La Brique Military Cemetery No.2, plot I, row Y, grave 2.

Sources 2

David Prickard, “World War I Centenary” The Old Suttonian 64 (2018), 48.
Sources used
Estella Musiiwa, "A Small Part of Which Empire? Swaziland’s Combatants in the First World War, 1914- 1918" Vestiges: Traces of Record 3 (2017), 46-64.
Sources used

More information 4