F. E. F. Crisp
War dead Male Born 1883 Died 5/1/1915
Second Lieutenant Francis Edward Fitzjohn Crisp was born in 1883 in Hornsey, the second child of William Fitzjohn Crisp (1846-1924) and Jane Euphemia Crisp née Bell (1849-1910). His birth was registered in the 1st quarter of 1883 in the Edmonton registration district. He was baptised on 10 June 1883 at All Saints Church, Highgate. The baptismal register show the family living at North Hill, Highgate and that his father was an architect.
The 1891 census shows him living at 20 Derwent Villas, Great North Road, Finchley, the home of his maternal grandfather, William Bell, with his parents and siblings: Hope Crisp (1884-1950) and Olive Euphemia Crisp (1886-1975), together with a cook and a housemaid. His elder brother, Robert William Bell Crisp (1881-1882), died in infancy. In the 1901 census he is shown as an art student living at 25 Park Row, Greenwich, with his parents, a cook and a female domestic servant. His father was recorded as a civil engineer/admiralty.
He studied at the Royal Academy of Arts where he won the gold medal and travelling scholarship for a historical work in 1907. His works were exhibited at the Royal Academy, the Royal Scottish Academy and in New York and his paintings were used to illustrate books. The 1910 edition of the Post Office London Directory listed him as living at 27 Woronzow Road, St John's Wood.
Around September/October 1912 he joined the 28th (County of London) Battalion, The London Regiment (Artists' Rifles), service number 1076 and on the outbreak of World War One he was serving as a Corporal in F Company. He entered France on 26 October 1914. According to the Regimental Roll of Honour & War Records of the Artists' Rifles he is listed as one of the “First Fifty” of the Artists' Rifles - territorial soldiers who, before they had seen action, were picked to replace the heavy officer losses of the all-regular 7th Division. On their way up to Ypres, Belgium, they were dramatically halted at Bailleul by a Staff-Officer with an urgent message from the Commander-in-Chief who wished to see them. As a result some 50 "other ranks," public school and University men who trained in peace time, were rapidly given some practical tips, promoted to Second Lieutenant and the next day went straight into action (still wearing their Territorial private's uniform and Artists badge with the addition of a "pip") against some of Germany's most famous Regiments. His promotion was granted on 15 December 1914 and he was transferred to the 1st Battalion, Grenadier Guards.
He was killed in action, aged 32 years, on 5 January 1915, the first officer killed in his regiment following the Christmas 1914 truce and was buried in Row D, Grave 6 of The Le Trou Aid Post Cemetery, 18 Rue du Petillon, 62840 Fleurbaix, France.
Probate records confirm his address to have been 27 Woronzow Road, St John's Wood and when probate was granted on 10 April 1915 to his sister Olive Euphemia Wybrants and her tea merchant husband John Holman Wybrants, his effects totalled £1,597-1s-6d. They were also sent his army effects totalling £122-2s-11d later that year and a £6-0s-0d war gratuity on 17 September 1919. He was posthumously award the 1914 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal and these were sent to his father at 'Sunny View', Warboys, Huntingdonshire (now Cambridgeshire).
There is a cache of Crisp's portraits at Dyrham Park, Gloucestershire.