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Object: Portrait of John Crossan

This image is No known copyright restriction.

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.044043

John Blair Crossan, serial number 42958

This upper body portrait is of John Blair Crossan in World War I military uniform, including a bandolier over his left shoulder and riding spurs.

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 Featherstone Camp before embarking on the Pakeha bound for Plymouth in April 1917, to serve on the Western Front. He contracted an illness while serving which caused him to be sent home on the Tahiti in the summer of 1919 and discharged before the end of the year as no longer fit for service.

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, Mr 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 berryboys@tepapa.govt.nz 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.

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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.