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Object: Portrait of John Blair Crossan

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Title Portrait of John Blair Crossan
Production Berry, William (photography studio), 1917, Wellington
Medium summary black and white glass negative
Materials photographic gelatin, sheet glass, silver, photographic plates
Classification studio portraits, portraits, black-and-white negatives, gelatin dry plate negatives
Technique black-and-white photography
Format half plate (1/2)
Credit line Purchased 1998 with New Zealand Lottery Grants Board funds
Registration number B.044042

John Blair Crossan, service number 42958

This  portrait is of John Blair Crossan in the uniform of a Gunner in the New Zealand Field  Artillery.

John Crossan was the son of Scotsman John Crossan and Englishwoman Jane Crossan who came to New Zealand around 1890. John Blair Crossan was born in Normanby, Taranaki,  in 1894. He worked as a bricklayer before enlisting to join the New Zealand Field Artillery, 24th Reinforcements,in January 1917.  He  trained at Featherston Camp before embarking for England.  in April 1917.   He trained with the Field Artillery at Chadderton and Aldershot, and spent a month in the New Zealand hospital at Codford being treated for venereal disease. He was sent to France in February 1918 and was appointed Cook to the Field Artillery's 7th Battery.  He relinquished this appointment on 14 June when he was sent to hospital and was  posted to the New Zealand Entrenching Battalion on 11 August.  On 23 October John was attached to the strength of the Base Depot at Etaples, and eventually left England for New Zealand on 27 May 1919.

John was  discharged from the NZEF on 23 December 1919 'on account of illness'. 

Crossan returned to his previous occupation as a bricklayer after returning to New Zealand. In 1923 he married Dorothy Lilian Griffin. In 1934, aged 40, he was arrested along with a fellow bricklayer,  John Barwood Murray, for drunkenness and avoiding payment for a tram fare. They were convicted and discharged with a fine of 5 shillings.

John Blair Crossan died aged 73, on the 15th November 1966. He is buried in the Returned Services Section of the Old Levin Cemetery, on the corner of Mako Mako and Tiro Tiro Road in Levin.


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