The Craig brothers were all staunch trade unionists. Frederick Norman Craig enlisted in Tasmania, while his brothers George and William enlisted in Western Australia. The three brothers would have different experiences during World War One.
“Devotion to duty”
Frederick Craig was a bushman who drove timber wagons through the bush at Adventure Bay, Bruny Island. Frederick joined the 12th Battalion on 12 January 1915.
Private Craig landed at Gallipoli in June 1915 with his Bruny Island mates, Arthur Adams and Erle Joseph.
After evacuation from Gallipoli in December 1915, Private Craig was transferred to France. Private Craig and Private Cyril John Allen both received a Military Medal (MM) for their actions at during an enemy attack on Lagincourt at dawn on 15 April 1917. Private Craig was the second Bruny Islander to receive a Military Medal. The Military Medal was sent home to his mother, Mary Craig, and is now on display in the Bruny Island History Room, at Alonnah.
On 24 April 1918 Private Craig was reported missing. It was later confirmed in many reports to the Australian Red Cross Society Wounded and Missing Enquiry Bureau that Private Craig had been killed at Meteren, in France. One informant was Private Hedley Allan Balmer, 12th Battalion, from New Norfolk:
“I knew Private Fred Craig M.M...I saw him lying in the open in ‘No Man’s Land’ on the left of main street running into Meteren about the 24 April 1918 just after midnight. There was a building burning about 20 yards away and I could see him quite distinctly. He was hit by M.G. Fire in the thigh and other parts of the body. We were sent out on a mopping up party only about 10 of us got back. We did not hold the street. Craig was left behind…”
On 28 November 1918, Private George Henry Craig wrote to Miss Vera Deakin thanking her for information about his brother, Frederick. Private George Craig wrote that he hoped to see the grave before leaving France.
Private Frederick Craig is commemorated at Villers-Bretonneux Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux, Picardie, France.
“Prisoner of war”
William Lawes Craig enlisted in Western Australia and embarked from Fremantle on the HMAT Medic A7 on 18 January 1916.
Private Craig was captured by the Germans at Pozieres on 29 July 1916 and spent over two years as a prisoner of war.
William Craig arrived safely in England on 11 December 1918.
After the war, William returned to Australia and worked in the timber industry in Western Australia. William married Alma Hornby in 1921. The couple had seven children.
“Still fighting the foe”
While Private William Craig was a prisoner of war, newspapers in Tasmania reported his brother, George Henry Craig was still fighting the foe.
Private George Craig enlisted on 9September 1915 in Western Australia at the age of 25 and embarked from Fremantle on the H.M.A.T Ajana.
Private Craig was wounded on a number of occasions.
After the War, George married Laurie Jackson. The couple had three children.
During World War Two, George joined the Army Reserves.
The Tasmanian Mail, 13 September 1917 page 4.
Bruny Island Historical Society