Captain Charles Edward Augustus McCrea


Charles Edward Augustus McCrea was born in Newry on 23 February 1887, son of John McCrea and his wife Jane (nee Anderson).

He was educated at Newry Intermediate School and the veterinary colleges in Dublin and Edinburgh.

While still a veterinary student, at the beginning of the war McCrea enlisted in the North Irish Horse. It appears that he left the regiment soon after, for on 9 April 1915 he enlisted a second time, at London, in the Army Service Corps (No.R4/063737). He gave his address as 29 Great James Street, Londonderry. On his enlistment McCrea claimed he had prior service in the 17th Battalion, Canadian Contingent (I can find no record to confirm this). He did not mention his service with the North Irish Horse.

Two weeks after he enlisted McCrea transferred to the Army Veterinary Corps (No.SE/13291). He embarked for France the following day (24 April).

He was promoted to lance corporal on 12 March 1916. On 27 July 1916 he was appointed acting sergeant while holding the position of Sergeant to the Brigadier 35 Brigade, Royal Field Artillery, 7th Division.

On 18 November 1916 he was discharged from the army in order to resume his veterinary studies. Having obtained his qualification (Member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons), McCrea applied for a commission in the Royal Army Veterinary Corps. He was commissioned as a lieutenant on 15 January 1918, reporting for duty at the Curragh on that date.

After a period at the RAVC Depot at Woolwich, on 21 March 1918 he embarked for France, where he was posted to No.2 Veterinary Hospital. The following month he was posted to the 47th Division.

McCrea was promoted to captain on 15 January 1919. The following month, while on a short leave from France, he was admitted to hospital in Dublin, suffering from tuberculosis. A medical board found that this was attributable to his service and he was later awarded a full pension. On 14 May 1919 he was released from the service and relinquished his commission.

Captain McCrea's health continued to suffer after the war, some documents claiming the tuberculosis was aggravated by his being gassed. He attempted to emigrated to South Africa but was refused permission due to his illness.

He died at his residence Airedale, Walton Road, Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, on 15 October 1932.


Northern Whig and Belfast Post, 18 October 1932