The Queens Own Royal West Kent Regiment

Second Lieutenant J Craston




By "laurinlaurin espie"


Photograph by "Frank Vanpaemel"

Second Lieutenant John CRASTON, 3rd Battalion attached 1st Battalion,  Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment, died of wounds, 19th April 1915.

Brother of A C G Craston.

Served with 28th London Regiment, Service No.1891

4th March 1915, posted BEF.

The Battle of Hill 60 (17 April – 7 May 1915)

Hill 60 was at the southern end of the Ypres Salient and was a man made mound from earth excavated from the nearby railway. It was an important vantage point for whoever controlled it which, at the beginning of 1915, were the Germans. In April  1915, 5th Division took over the line in front of it and prepared to capture it. On 17th April six mines were blown beneath it which so shocked and dazed the defending Germans that 13 Brigade was able to capture it, sustaining only 7 casualties. However, holding it was a much more difficult task. German artillery began to pound the position and that night they launched three counter attacks which were only repelled after heavy losses and only after the British had been forced back to the crest of the hill. Later that evening British counter attacks retook all of the hill The next three days saw intense German shelling of the position and numerous counter attacks until it was a mass of shell holes and mine craters. Between 1st and 5th May the Germans launched a series of attacks preceded by gas and eventually after desperate fighting, took back the hill.

During the night of 16-17 April, 13 Brigade, 5th Division took over the trenches in front of Hill 60 with 1st Royal West Kent and 2nd Scottish Borderers in front. At 7am the next day 6 mines were blown and this was the signal for “C” Company to storm the hill, which they did with total success and were soon joined by “B” Company and 2 companies of the Scottish Borderers. At first the German response was slow and they had time to consolidate their new positions. Just after midnight 2nd Scottish Borderers began to relieve “C” and “B” Companies and at the same time the Germans made a determined attack to retake the hill. The British troops on the hill were subjected to a terrific artillery bombardment. “D” Company were sent up to reinforce. At 4.30am, when the heaviest German attack was launched, “A” Company were sent up with much needed ammunition. At 8.30am on 18th April, 1st Royal West Kent were relieved and although they had been pushed back to the crest on the right, most of Hill 60 remained in British hands. Second Lieutenant Craston died of wounds on 19th April and he was one of the many wounded during this period in the line.

Buried at  Bedford House Cemetery, Enclosure No.2 V. A. 60, Ieper, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.

London Gazette 27th October 1914.

INFANTRY. The under mentioned to be Second Lieutenants (on probation). Dated 27th October, 1914.

John Craston, 3rd Battalion, Royal West Kent Regiment

London Gazette 23rd March 1915.

The under mentioned Second Lieutenants (on probation) are confirmed in their rank. 

3rd Battalion, The Royal West Kent Regiment. John Craston.

This page was last updated on 18-Mar-2018.

Copyright   © 2008 Janet & Richard Mason