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Object: Portrait of John Crossan

This image has No Known Copyright Restrictions.

Title Portrait of John Crossan
Production Berry & Co (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 uniform of a Gunner in the Royal New Zealand 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 New Zealand in 1894. He worked as a bricklayer before enlisting to join the New Zealand Field Artillery, 24th Reinforcements,in January 1917, Service Number: 42958. He was 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.

I know who this is

The Berry Boys
During World War I, around 120 Kiwi soldiers had their photograph taken at Wellington’s Berry & Co photography studio before they left New Zealand to fight in the war . These portraits are now in Te Papa’s collection.

In the lead-up to the World War I centenary (2014-18), Te Papa is working to identify these soldiers and the loved ones they are pictured with. We want to make contact with their descendants, and to record their stories.

Some soldiers have already been identified. For others, we only have the surname etched on the glass negative.

Contact us
If you have any information you can share about the Berry Boys - either a soldier or someone they are photographed with - please use the online form above. You can also email or leave a phone message for us on 04 381 7129. You can also write to Berry Boys Project Team, Te Papa, PO Box 467, Wellington 6140.

To aid identification, please be sure to include the Te Papa registration number (B.044366, for example) for the photo in question.

Related information

Disclaimer: This information was created from historic documentation, and may not necessarily reflect the best available knowledge about the item. Some collection images are created for identification purposes only and may not be of reproduction quality. Some images are not available due to copyright restrictions. If you have information or questions about objects in the collection, contact us using our enquiry form. You can also find out more about Collections Online.