Died of pulmonary tuberculosis
Service Number: 1384
Date of Death: 19th October 1918
Age at death: 37
Place of death: Six Cottages, Woodhouse Eaves
Born: Loddington, 1882
Next of kin: Parents: Thomas & Maria Crane of The Elms Cottage, Hoby
Wife: Ellen Elizabeth Crane of Six Cottages, Woodhouse Eaves
William Crane was born at Loddington in 1882. He was the oldest son of Thomas and Maria Crane of The Elms Cottage, Hoby. In July 1904 he had married Ellen Clarke, a farmer’s daughter from Woodhouse Eaves, and the 1911 Census shows them living in Shepshed with their 3 year old daughter, Alvina, and their 11 months old son, John. His occupation was that of a carter working for a builder.
William Crane had the distinction of being one of the first volunteers. War was declared on Tuesday, 4th August 1914 and he enlisted in the Leicestershire Regiment on the following day. That was two days before Lord Kitchener issued the first of his famous calls for volunteers. He must have impressed the military authorities because he rapidly reached the rank of Corporal. However, his service was cut short on medical grounds and he was given an honourable discharge from the Army on 17th December 1914.
In 1916 the Silver War Badge was introduced to honour men such as William Crane who had been discharged from the armed forces in similar circumstances. More than a million were issued, irrespective of whether the recipients had served overseas or not. The record of its award to William Crane confirms that he was in the latter category, as is consistent with the fact that the 5th Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment did not join the B.E.F. in France until early in 1915.
It has been suggested that he may have worked in a recruiting office following his discharge from the Army but this has not been confirmed. At some point after 1911 the Crane family moved to Six Cottages, Woodhouse Eaves and it was there that William died of pulmonary tuberculosis on 19th October 1918 at the age of 37. He was survived by his wife and children.