Friday, 30 December 2016

Major Frederick Maurice Crum 1872-1955

I recently bought the King's Royal Rifle Corps Chronicle for 1903. The endpaper bears the signature that I have published beneath this paragraph. F M Crum was Frederick Maurice Crum and what follows is not my text at all, but rather an account of this man's life that I found online at Blairlogie Scotland. I hope this credit and the link gives me sufficient permission to re-publish - with minor editing - the words below. Note that I have omitted much of the text that covers his First World War service.

Frederick Maurice Crum was born 12th October 1872, the son of William Crum and Jean Mary Campbell. The first documentary evidence that we have of Major Crum is in The London Gazette of 7th February 1893 where it indicated that “The King's Royal Rifle Corps, Gentleman Cadet Frederick Maurice Crum, from the Royal Military College, to be Second Lieutenant, on augmentation. Dated 8th February 1893". 

Soon, Frederick was off to India to join the 1/60th Rifles as a subaltern at Rawal Pindi. Strangely the London Gazette did not mention him again until 1900. In December 1896 the 1st Battalion of the 60th Rifles sailed from Bombay for the Cape, which was three years before the second South African War of 1899 to 1902 was declared. In May 1899 Frederick moved to Natal and on the 25th September he was off once again, this time to Ladysmith where he arrived on the 2nd October. On the  5th October the battalion was marched to Dundee, arriving there two days later. On the 12th October 1899, war was declared. and Frederick was soon  in the thick of the action. He received a wound to his right shoulder at the battle of Talana Hill, which would blight him until 1919. Unable to fend for himself he was taken prisoner  and ended up in a hospital in Ladysmith where he received treatment which saved his life. 

The London Gazette for 2nd March 1900 reported "Gentleman Cadet Austin Henry Hull, from the Royal Military College, to be Second Lieutenant, in succession to Lieutenant F. M. Crum, a prisoner of war. Dated 3rd March, 1900". Frederick remained a prisoner until June 1900 when he and a further 150 or so officers and 3000 troops were released at Ladysmith. The London Gazette published on 2nd April 1901 reported "Lieutenant Frederick M. Crum to be Captain, in succession to Major O. S. W. Nugent, D.S.O., appointed to the Staff. Dated 1st January 1901". 

By 1901 Captain Crum had lost all of his molars and his manservant took this into consideration whilst preparing his meals in the field. January 1902 was Frederick’s last night patrol of the war as after this he was given leave to return home on medical grounds. His journey started in an ambulance train and then a long sail home. Six months later he was fully recuperated and returned to the Cape, being posted to De Aar. In December 1902 the Battalion was moved to Malta and in 1903 he gave his first lecture, the topic being “Mounted Infantry”. Shortly after this he received leave of 3 months and he returned home to Stirling. 

My copy of the 1903 Chronicle also mentions Major Crum:

In December 1903 Frederick was posted to the 2nd Battalion, King's Royal Rifle Corps as a Brevet-Major and in October 1904 he qualified in Hindustani. During his service career he was often bothered by his wound which he received in 1900 and in 1904 a surgeon removed an inch of bone and some splinters from his right arm. 

During his time in South Africa, Major Crum wrote With the mounted infantry in South Africa; being side-lights on the Boer campaign 1899-1902 and this was published in 1903. In January 1905 he arrived home on leave, boarding his ship in Bombay. From January to October 1905 he was on leave due to the wound to his right arm but by November 1905 he was back in India and was posted to Bareilly. The period April to October 1906 was to prove important for both Frederick Crum and the Boy Scout movement as he was posted to Scout Training at Rhanikhet where he excelled. 

In November 1906 he received leave to return home to cram for staff college exams. On returning home he underwent intensive learning to bring himself up to the level of passing the Staff College entry exams and on the 3rd March 1907 he sailed from Marseilles to Aden to sit the exam. Possibly fortuitously for the Boy Scout movement, he failed the exams and therefore did not attend Staff College and further promotion did not follow. In June 1907 he returned to India and was posted to Jubbulpore and then in October 1907 he was put in charge of the Battalion for 3 weeks until the new Commanding Officer arrived. The London Gazette dated 21st April 1908 reported that “The King's. Royal Rifle Corps, Captain and Brevet Major Frederick M. Crum is seconded for service on the Staff. Dated 28th February 1908.” 

In February 1908 he was posted to the Mounted Infantry School at Fategarh where he excelled. Sadly luck was not on his side and in May 1908 he fell from his horse whilst pig sticking and was given a week's leave to the hills to recover. It was at this time that the London Gazette dated 26th May 1908 reported, “To be Assistant Commandant of a Mounted Infantry School. Brevet Major F. M. Crum, 2nd Battalion, King's Royal Rifle Corps. Dated 28th February, 1908.” 

On 6th November 1908, Frederick left the Mounted Infantry School to take over the Mounted School at Poona and there was also talk of him being promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. He arrived at Poona and was given 6 months leave of absence due to being unwell and overworked. The London Gazette dated 18th December 1908 reported “The King's Royal Rifle Corps, Captain George F. B. Hankey is seconded for service as an Adjutant of Territorial Infantry. Dated 1st December, 1908. Brevet Major Frederick M. Crum, from Supernumerary Captain, to be Captain, vice” It would take Frederick three years to fully recover from his wound and condition. 

During his recuperation period it looked as if there was hope that Frederick would return to active service as The London Gazette dated 26th January 1909 reported "The King's Royal Rifle, Corps, Captain and Brevet Major Frederick M. Crum is seconded for service on the Staff. Dated 1st December, 1908.” Later, on 5th February 1909, the Gazette reported, “ARMY STAFF. To be Assistant Commandant of a Mounted Infantry School. Brevet Major F. M. Crum, King's Royal Rifle Corps. Dated 6th November, 1908", and on 1st March 1910,  "The King's Royal Rifle Corps, Brevet Major Frederick M. Crum, from Supernumerary Captain, is restored to the establishment, vice Captain R. Johnstone, retired. Dated 19th February, 1910". 

On March 4th 1910, The London Gazette reported, "The King's Royal Rifle Corps, Major Lord Robert W. O. Manners DSO, retires on retired pay. Dated 5th March, 1910. Captain and Brevet Major Frederick M. Crum to be Major, vice Lord R. W. 0. Manners, D.S.O. Dated 5th March, 1910". 

Clearly none of the above took place as he did not take up any of the posts due to his ill health. 3rd November 1910 would prove to be a very important date as this is when Captain Crum met Baden-Powell for the first time and he was very impressed by him and his views on helping young people. It was on the 12th October 1911 at Saint Andrews and on his 39th Birthday that Captain Crum decided to leave the army and dedicate his time to the Boy Scout movement. He sent his letter of resignation to the War Office on the 16th October 1911, resigning his commission. and from this point on Major Crum (retired) concentrated on building up the Boy Scout movement in Scotland. 

For his service during the the 2nd Boer War, Major Crum received the Queen's South Africa Medal with clasps for Cape Colony, Orange Free State, Transvaal and Talana; and the King's South Africa Medal with the usual two claps for 1901 and 1902. The KSA roll alos notes service with the 25th Battalion, Mounted Infantry. 

When Britain went to war again in August 1914, Frederick Crum was at Hamilton Barracks by the 10th, helping to organise the new influx of recruits. It was during this period that he used boy scouts to act as guides and take recruits to the various areas rather than have them milling about. This brought order to some of the proceedings. 

On 12 October 1914, Frederick joined the 8th Kings Royal Rifles and by May 1915 he was in France. He would serve until the end of the war and would be mentioned in despatches in 1917. In July 1919 he returned to scouting in Scotland. The reverse of his medal index card, above, gives his home address - presumably in 1922 when he applied for his medals - as 13 Pitt Terrace, Stirling.

The 1933 to 1945 Valuation Rolls show that Major Crum was the tenant of Gogar house and from 1945 to 1948 he was the owner occupier of Gogar House where he built a gymnasium for scouts to use. Frederick Maurice Crum of Kenmuir, Rosneath, Dumbartonshire died at Rosneath on 8 October 1955. His diaries can be viewed in the Archives at Glasgow’s Mitchell Library.

I presume that his copy of the 1903 KRRC Chronicle (and presumably other volumes besides) was donated to the KRRC Museum and subsequently sold by the museum as my copy of this volume also bears a KRRC museum stamp and a biro annotation "E14". All in all though, a nice addition to my library, and with some fine provenance.

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