The Channel Islands and the Great War
Family of St Peter Port
|Isaac Crousaz de Prelaz was born at
Lausanne, Switzerland on 30 Sep 1760 and came to Guernsey
some time later in the 18th century, where he settled, married
and raised a family. Isaac's son, George Crousaz, was born
on 3 Oct 1788 and died 27 July 1823.
The family had by that time dropped the
surname de Prelaz. George had a son, William Crousaz
who owned a drapery business in the High Street. He was
also organist at the Town Church.
His son, William de Prelaz Crousaz was born circa
1852 at St Peter Port, Guernsey. He became a junior partner
in, and later succeeded his father as the owner of the
business. William (Jnr) was a member of the Royal Guernsey
Light Infantry and was a keen shooter, winning a gold
medal in 1882, then again in 1884, 1885, 1886, and 1888.
William de Prelaz Crousaz and his wife, Emma had three
sons, Henry W. Crousaz, Augustus George Crousaz and
Cecil Francis Crousaz and a daughter Mary.
All three sons fought in the Great War.
Henry William Crousaz, (also known as Harry) was
born on 23 July 1879, and attended Elizabeth College from
1890 to 1895 then went to Switzerland to study French.
Returning to Guernsey he became a tomato grower, an occupation
in which he was still involved in 1914. Henry was a 2nd
Lt in the Militia in 1914, and he transferred to become
a 2nd Lt in the 2nd (HS) Battalion of the North Staffordshire
Regiment in 1916. The London Gazette of 26 July 1917 his
promotion to Lt on 1 Jan 1917. He then transferred to
the 2nd RGLI in 1918, and was attaché to HQ Staff
from 1918 to 1919, where he held the rank of Acting Captain.
He was also involved in parish duties in St Peter Port,
holding the posts of Procureur and Constable at various
HMS St Vincent
|Augustus George Crousaz was born on 13 April 1884,
and was educated at Elizabeth College. He joined the Royal
Navy on 1 Jun 1900 having gained a place in open competition
and was certified as qualified by the Civil Service Commissioners.
He then spent the next four years as an Engineer Cadet at
the Training College, Devonport and on 1 July 1904 joined
His Majesty's Fleet as a Midshipman. During 1905-06 he was
at the Royal Naval College, Greenwich, on a course of study
that he passed "very creditably". After serving
on various ships, on 1 Feb 1914 Augustus was promoted Engineer
Lieutenant Commander. In June 1915 he came ashore and took
up an appointment at the Admiralty where he was to stay
for nearly two years before moving to the destroyer HMS
Nepean in July 1917. However he was hospitalised on 22 Sep
1917, and following his release from hospital on 1 Nov he
was re-surveyed at the Admiralty and found fit for service
in ships other than destroyers. He continued to serve during
the Great War and on 28 Feb 1918 was posted to Chatham Dockyard
as 2nd Assistant Manager where he was promoted Engineer
Commander with seniority from 1 May 1919.
After a distinguished career, on 26 Sep 1934 Augustus
Crousaz was promoted Engineer Rear Admiral and in 1934
was appointed Assistant Engineer-in-Chief of the Royal
Navy. He was invited to the Coronation of King George
VI at Westminster Abbey June 1936 and was appointed a
Commander of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath (Military)
(CB) on 11 May 1937. He retired at his own request on
11 Sep 1939 having reached the age of 55, but was recalled
and reappointed to President and re-employed as Deputy
Engineer-in-Chief through to the end of the Second World
War when he was once again released and reverted to the
Retired List on 14 Nov 1945 in his 62nd year.
The third son was less fortunate than his brothers. Cecil
Francis Crousaz was born on 7 December 1888 and, like
his brothers, was educated at Elizabeth College. He held
the Gymnastics, Boxing, and Swimming cups for several
years, and was also a member of the College Shooting Team.
He joined the Sandhurst Company of Cadets at Woolwich
in 1908 and was gazetted as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 1st
Battalion, 38th Regiment (South Staffordshire Regiment)
on 6 November 1909.
Cecil was promoted Lieutenant on 28 March 1912, and served
in both the 1st and 2nd Battalions of his Regiment in
South Africa and Gibraltar. In 1913 he won the Army Officers
Featherweight Boxing Championship at Aldershot. A popular
officer and a noted leader in his regiment he was an early
casualty of the war as he was killed leading his men into
action at Zonnebecke, near Ypres on 31 October 1914.
He was said to have been buried at Hooge, but the grave
must have been lost as he is now commemorated on the Menin
Gate at Eiper (Ypres), along with more than 54,000 officers
and men whose graves are not known.
With grateful thanks to Howard Chamberlain for
his research into the Crousaz family
© 2007 Liz Walton