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toofatfortakeoff

Frank Crozier

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toofatfortakeoff

Sticking my head abovethe parapet here Ithink but-

I dont want to be accused of reappraising people unecceassarily but Ive just read Brass Hat in No Mans Land.

Apart from being a little badly written, ie it seems to be about five different stories moving in and out of one another, Ithink it ight be fair to say that the chap did what he had to do in the circs.

He refused to have a deserter officer back in his Bgde, (sent home) while feeling deep sympathy for the Pte they had to shoot and he resigned his commission at the Black and Tans in 1922. Ive read 'The men I killed' and that was an eye opener when youre a younger reader but I felt that after reading this he needs a degree of reapprisal. Writes a litle too much about VD ibn the line though which Ithink is a biot suspect.

Thoughts anyone?

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Desmond7

I've read this book myself. I am of the opinion that Crozier is not a very reliable source. As you sau, a badly written memoir. Also, much over-quoted in my opinion.

I cannot give the source now but I have seen him described as a 'shameless self publicist' and an 'intolerable martinet' - I think these were descriptions penned by his contemporaries.

If you can judge a man's character from his writing then I would say Crozier was a very unlikeable creature indeed.

I would also strongly suspect that he needed a bit of cash when he wrote these accounts and played to the field at the time?

Des

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auchonvillerssomme

Have you tried Impressions and Recollections, his 'autobiography' Published in 1930.

Mick

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IanA

Having read "Brass Hat" and "The Men I Killed" my assessment, for what it's worth, is that he was much better at being a brigadier than he was at being a human being.

Ian

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Desmond7

Auchonvillers - no I haven't. Any views on it .. snippets?

Des

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auchonvillerssomme

Still self serving but explains better his views on the irish issues slightly better. I have discussed him previously on this forum and found that apart from Haig there not many who get so many negative responses.

I read as much as I could about the man following an after dinner discussion with a group of irish visitors which lasted about 3 hours.

Mick

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toofatfortakeoff

All I can do is ask what is a martinet exactly :blink: ?

What Frankie boy does reiterate at all times in the book is the wastage of war the people who cause it and his frustration at mankind to go ahead with it-even though he was in his own words a veteran of the Spion Kop and colonial wars he does show humanity at the least in his writings of this book.

Had he mellowed with age? -his last book in the year he died was 'The men I killed' BHinNML is a collection of anecdotes and I nearly finished it in one sitting

I have to say that in spite of its poor literature quality , I quite enjoyed it

Im going to try and get copies of his other books the one above mentioned and 'Ireland Forever'

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HarryBettsMCDCM

"A Brass Hat" was the very first factual,WW1 book I read,as an 8 year old,my father had a battered copy that his Father had bought him for Christmas in the early 1930s,which I still own, & for all his {Crozier}faults now perceived;I must record it help establish an ongoing interest to this day,for that alone,I appreciate it.

It was of its time.

"Martinet" :~

From the French 17th Century Officer,Jean Martinet,who invented a form of Drill,the English use of the word was in connection with this Drill system""What d'ye find fault with Martinet....tis the best exercise in the World..." by William Wycherley in the Plain Dealer 1676.Its later usage to describe a "rigid disciplinarian" emerged in the 18th Century

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rob elliott

Dear TFFTO,

I've been lucky enough over the years to pick up all four of Crozier's books,although its some time since i've read them.

It appears to me that his writing is influenced by his political thoughts at the time he wrote the books.

He didn't have a brilliant track record himself and the 1st War probably saved him from disappearing without a trace.

When in Africa he was cashiered for bouncing cheques,was an alchoholic and didn't have too much respect for anyone.

He took pleasure in bullying junior officers and chastising them for things he'd done himself.

Regarding Pte Crozier being shot,he could have stopped, it already knowing the lad was underage but chose not to.

He was commandant of the Auxillary Division RIC,not the Black and Tans,which were ordinary Policemen.

His resignation from this force was due to the fact he sacked 21 Polce cadets for disiplinary reasons,then Croziers superior General Tudor had them reinstated thus putting FP's nose out.He took the Huff, resigned and started telling the Press that the Police were carrying out reprisals against Irish civillians.

Republicans used his comments to justify their actions.

In' Ireland Forever ' he comments on an IRA ambush of Auxillaries at Kilmichael where all of the Policemen were murdered.There has been an 80 year debate as to wether the Auxillaries gave a false surrender and then shot an IRA man.Recently exposed interviews with some IRA men that said they were there never mention this supposed surrender.Neither did the IRA commander's first report at the time.

However Crozier states the false surrender did happen [was he there?] and the subsaquent murder of the Policemen,including possibly the wounded with axes and bayonets,was justified.

He clearly had an axe to grind and did a lot of damage in the process.

Perhaps to get a clearer view of the man himself would be to look at those who served with him and what they thought.

One of his Officers, Malcolm McKee,thought highly of him and said so in the Belfast Telegraph June 1966 newspaper articles.

And his batman David Starret stayed with him through the war and after too.He wrote of his time with Crozier.

If you do read 'Ireland Forever' try to read another less biased book at the same time to get an even picture of the situation in Ireland in the 1920's regarding the Auxillary Division.

Rob

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toofatfortakeoff

Hi again Rob and everyone thanks for the imput on Crozier. From what I recently read, FPC states in 'Ireland Forever' quoted in Peter Hart -The IRA and it's enemies that he went in mufti and investigated in the locale of Kilmichael. Now here was a well known (hate?) figure with, I assume a broad Ulster accent.

The accuracy of Rebel intelligence that put paid to the Cairo Gang and even hunted RIC men down to their London homes in 1921 for example would surely have had him clocked the moment he stepped of the boat : Hart says this saga is unlikely, and I would hasten to agree with him.

Another question is Crozier says the executed soldiers name was Crocker. Without wanting to raise a debate on another S.A.D victim have I got the name right here?

Further to this recently I was at the Irish tower in Messines. There on one of the stones stone is a piece by a David Starret Is this the same man who was F P Crozier's batman? I understand that it is part of a letter home. Did Starret become a man of letters or an author? I haven't been able to find anything of a listing on him.

One of my big regrets is not to have bought a copy of 'the men I killed' 18 years ago, when I was but a lad. It was I thought at £1.25 ex libris a little pricey so I read it in a lightning session at the local library. looking at the listings in Abebooks it is a lot more even when available. Hindsight etc etc..

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Desmond7

Crocker was the name given to Rfn. Crozier (SAD) by F P Crozier in his book.

I always thought that F.P. Crozier was an Englishman who was basically a mercenary with the pre-war UVF?

Des

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toofatfortakeoff
Crocker was the name given to Rfn. Crozier (SAD) by F P Crozier in his book.

I always thought that F.P. Crozier was an Englishman who was basically a mercenary with the pre-war UVF?

Des

Don't know about his lineage for sure, BUT he did describe himself as a mercenary in BHINML when in the trenches. Is Crozier an Ulster name? I think it is Scottish at least.

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rob elliott

Pretty sure Crozier was Southern Irish from a Unionist family.Yes its one of the Scots Border names,like most of those found in Ulster & Leitrim [mine too].

He was educated in England and would assume he had a bit of a non-descript English accent.

Regarding visiting Kilimichael,don't think it would be a problem. He met with Michael Collins during the truce and they got on ok.

Also as he was one of the men who supposedly exposed the B&T ,so called, atrocities don't think republicans would mind him too much.

Interestingly a nationalist publication reprinted some of his accusations some time later and were succesfully sued,addmitting Croziers stories had no foundation. again i think he was a bit miffed at the way he was treated. As i have just read in Richard Bennett's 'The Black & Tans' he was probably going to be removed from his post anyway.

The attack by the IRA on Bloody Sunday 1921 did not get the Cairo gang,don't believe they ever did.

If you look at the casulties there is a variaty of Officers,some low grade intelligence men from the Castle,a Vetenary Officer. Good propaganda for the IRA though,because it was easy to say they were this or that and difficult for the Government to counter.Get in first with your story and it usually sticks with people wanting to believe it.Don't watch the crap Michael Collins film with Liam Neeson.

The magazine 'History Ireland' has some really good articles about the Irish Regiments,the B&T's and the IRA all well researched and pretty unbiased.

--edited --

I think the reprint of Brass Hat has something about Starrett on the fly leaf. I don't have a copy,anybody help?

Rob

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Chris_Baker

I have had to remove two posts and edit the one above. Stick to the discussion in hand and please don't allow yourselves to get overheated.

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toofatfortakeoff

Hear Hear Chris I only meant it to be a discussion on this intriguing character and I believe that boards like this should bring people together not drive them apart. I have found communication to be a great bringer together of people and this board has certainly done that.,

The reason we are all here is to discuss the the carnage our Grandfathers went thorugh and to maybe just maybe prevent it (a lofty ambition)reoccuring. I am not going to criticize any poster, I will only discuss it with them, sometimes Im stuck for words on this matter.

My stock is both Catholic and Protestant, which proves how people can get together and solve problems.

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auchonvillerssomme

As far as I can make out, he was born in India, sent to Oatlands , Castleknock, Co Dublin. until the age of 7, then to public schools in England.

Mick

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Chris Best
my assessment, for what it's worth, is that he was much better at being a brigadier than he was at being a human being.

What on earth do you mean by this? Which do you consider the better trait for a man with responsibility for the tasking (military actions), administration and welfare of soldiers at war?

Chris :huh:

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Kieran44

Hi All, On the Crozier subject, I believe he will always generate "fors" and "againsts". We can all agree (I hope) on one thing - he was not a great writer but at least had the bottle to write. After all he was, essentially, a soldier. Whether he was an accurate/truthful writer on all occasions is a question for the "fors and againsts" but I think we could, on balance, give him the benefit of the doubt. I have read all of his books. I have also read a lot of books, etc, which address some of the contents of his publications. It is from all that reading/research I tend toward accepting his version of events. There is a small cameo episode which took place during his active service career in Ireland that deserves mention (he refers to it briefly in his "Ireland Forever" book but actually appears to attribute direct blame for it in a letter to General Tudor) and which may help explain his later, shall I say, attitude toward the Auxiliaries. He was returning to Dublin after a tour of part of the martial law area of Munster during which he came across evidence implicating Auxiliaries, serving in "my own K Company", in a number of atrocities and unauthirised reprisals. He was carrying the evidence in a locked briefcase which was handcuffed to his person. He broke his journey and stayed overnight in the Auxiliary training camp at the Curragh. The following day (23rd November, 1920 - two days after Bloody Sunday) he was involved in a largely unreported, yet horrific, motor "accident" on the road between Naas and Dublin - one of the most frequently used and heavily patroled roads, by the military and police, in Ireland. He was very seriously injured and was hospitalised for nearly a month. He was out of action for over ten weeks. His assistant aide-de-camp was injured in the "accident" and later died from those injuries. His Auxiliary body guard in the vehicle was thrown clear and was never heard of again. The protection vehicle, with a number of heavily armed Auxiliaries on board and driving in convoy with Crozier's vehicle, departed the scene "to report the accident" - but left the two badly wounded officers lying alone by the side of the road. His briefcase and it's contents were never seen or heard of again. Brigarier General Hanway R Cumming visited him in hospital and told him, knowingly it seems, that he was very lucky to be still alive and hoped he would stay that way. General Tudor had the "accident" investigated (by the Auxiliaries...) but I have found no record of the findings of that investigation other than a comment, buried in Tudor's papers, that the names of all of Crozier's "companions" (Tudor's word) on the night of the "accident" (Tudor's word again) were unknown. Brigadier General Cumming was shot dead, fifteen weeks later, during an ambush at Clonbanin, Co. Cork, on 5 March, 1921 (just four weeks after Brigadier General Crozier's contrived resignation). Cumming had just that week discovered Auxiliary complicity in the attempted murder of RIC County Inspector King at Mallow on 31 January 1921 - an official investigation of that event which Cumming was then presiding over. (County Inspector King wanted some Auxiliary members of the then disbanded K Company - disbanded after the burning of the centre of Cork city on 11 December, 1920 - removed from Mallow, to where they had been transferred).

You know, I think I should write the book.....Regards,

Kieran44.

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stripeyman

Kieran

I have Brasshat on my shelf, didnt he say "never give a man a second chance".............

Yes write the book, I will buy it.

Bob Grundy

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Kieran44
Kieran

I have Brasshat on my shelf, didnt he say "never give a man a second chance".............

Yes write the book, I will buy it.

Bob Grundy

Bob,

Many thanks. I will take the advice - as I may not get a secnd chance - and write the book.

Regards,

Kieran44

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auchonvillerssomme

Writing the book will be a challenge, a man of many facets. there are many entries under his name in HANSARD, I did print them all off and have got them archived somewhere.

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Kieran44
Writing the book will be a challenge, a man of many facets. there are many entries under his name in HANSARD, I did print them all off and have got them archived somewhere.

Good Morning, 'auchonvillerssomme',

Thank you for the tip. I have accessed Hansard on the subject previously (especially concerning Crozier's "resignation") and did find it interesting. I am afraid that old fox Sir Hamer Greenwood was playing the political game in the delivery of his Parliamentary 1921 replies on the matter.

I have accumulated a vast amount of material on Brigadier Generals Crozier and Cumming over the years. However, it is the challenge of collating it all and then getting it into book form, that appears somewhat daunting at present. I have felt for some time that the memory of both men demands that the benefit of history be brought to bear on their good names.

Regards,

Kieran44.

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auchonvillerssomme

When reading the questions and answers there is certainly a feeling that there is an underlying game being played. I have read his books and read about him but can't decide whether he was a man of his time or outside it. Despite his detractors he managed to get on so he must have had something about him.

Mick

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nemonemo

Howdy,

1st post so please forgive if protocol is broken. I came across a book of Gen. Crozier's, and am trying to find out about the man. Very little is to be found on the net; could someone please point me to a good and objective source of information about him. Thanks, Josh

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Desmond7

Getting an objective source about Frank Crozier is pretty tough going!

try the search button above and you'll see what I mean.

Des

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