Wartime memories

The Crossfield family during WWII

By Steve Williams

This is an article from a local Brighton newspaper during WWII. My grandmother is Doris Crossfield, the daughter mentioned in the article married to George Williams. I've been doing a lot of family history research lately and have become fascinated by these Battling Brighton Brothers.

Grandad never left Brighton
Ronald, mentioned in the article and known to his friends as Dusty, went on to be part of the early S.A.S, and gets a mention in Gavin Mortimer's book 'Sterling's Men' about the regiment's early days. At the other extreme, my grandad George never got a chance to leave Brighton throughout the whole war, spending the entire period on an AA gun battery in his home town.

Home safe and sound
The most wonderful thing I can tell you about this story, that the article couldn't yet tell you (obviously it was written during the war), was that according to my father all the men of the Crossfield family, and the brothers-in-law, came home safe and sound after the conflict. If anyone can tell me anything further about any of the Crossfields, details on when this article came out, or any other connected information, I would love to hear from you.

Click on the newspaper article for a full-sized view.

Photo:The Crossfield brothers

The Crossfield brothers

From the private collection of Steve Williams

This page was added on 18/03/2009.
Comments about this page

I worked with Len Crossfield on and off for a few years when he worked as a asphalter. Len was always easy going and good for a laugh.

By Ken Chick (19/03/2009)

What a wonderful family history. You must be very proud. I hope you are keeping a record for future generations.

By Iris Gilman (19/03/2009)

Thanks for the comments, yes Iris, It's all being written down/computerised for future generations, a bit of a never-ending task! Ken, thanks for the info, would you know when Len was working as an asphalter please?

By Steve Williams (26/03/2009)

Steve: I couldn't tell you when Len started work as an asphalter, but I started in 1964 and he was already working on the asphalt a number of years before that. I think he packed up around 1985-86, sadly I believe he died of bowel cancer.

By Ken Chick (29/03/2009)

Well done mate, my Mum told me you and other members of the Crossfield/Williams family were compiling a family tree... absolutely brilliant idea. If it is ok, I would very much like to be kept in touch! Warm regards.

By Sean O'Toole (22/04/2009)

Hi Sean, I assume your Mum is June? We only live down the road from each other I've discovered, so I'm going to see her when she has a chance.
You can email me your details if you like and I'll keep you in the loop. stevie@oddysee.net

By Steve Williams (28/04/2009)

Since writing the article, I have discovered that my grandfather, George Williams, did actually get to land on the continent in WWII! He spent from May to October 1945 in Belgium.  I think the serious message is though, that for every man that landed on the beaches at Normandy, or fought behind the lines, or faced Rommel's Afrika Corps, there were half a dozen for whom the war was a great upheaval too, even if their war meant serving on gun batteries, working in the coal mines, or munitions factories or fulfilling the many other roles that the war made essential. We owe a debt to each and every one of them.

By Steve Williams (07/05/2009)

Hi Steve, I don't know if you are spreading your search further afield with the Crossfield name? Myself and my brothers live in the West Midlands but just to say that I'm really impressed with what you have done!!

By Steven William Crossfield (06/07/2010)

Hi, don't suppose in your research you came across a Dorothy Williams or a Francis Michael Martin her spouse?

By Linda Warriner (17/10/2010)

Steve, I've got an article written by Dusty that featured in the SAS regimental magazine many years ago. Have you seen it? (it's about the ill-fated Operation Loyton). Regards, Gavin.

By Gavin Mortimer (02/03/2011)

Please, can we be kept up to date with this most interesting family.

By Jennifer Tonks (21/05/2011)

Hi my name is Peter Rogers my mother's maiden name was Crossfield and our family are from Halifax, West Yorkshire, didn't know if maybe somehow you might be related.

By Peter Rogers (21/05/2011)

Pleased to meet you Steve. My grandfather was Ted Crossfield. Myself and my father, Alan Crossfield, are very appreciative of the time and effort you have put in to compile this family history. Could we please get access to the article written by Dusty, for the SAS regimental magazine? Can we get in touch with Gavin Mortimer? Kind regards, Ian Crossfield.

By Ian Crossfield (11/08/2011)

I am part of the Crossfield family - I am shocked at all the history I have found on the internet. I am very amazed!

By jessica crossfield (03/11/2011)

This is a great article and story! My Grandmother was also called Doris Crossfield!! But she married an Edward (Ted), a Crossfield from York who came from a family of shoemakers! Funnily enough, she came from a large family who also had a Len and a Stan and also twin boys, one of whom died in WW2! Just a coincidence. Were your family always from the Brighton area?

By Jaki Rundle (nee Crossfield) (31/12/2011)

I am a freelance writer and amateur WWII historian from Savannah, Georgia (U.S.). I write the blog: WWII War Time Memories - http://wwiiwartimememories.blogspot.com . I am seeking living WWII Veterans to interview and feature for my blog, which I hope to later turn into a book. I ran across this news article about your family and wondered if any were still alive and if so, would they be willing to be featured on my blog. I look forward to hearing from you. 

By Ashley Engleford (22/01/2012)

I meet Len Crossfield at Bultins in Bogner Regis in the 1967. He was a great person I liked him very much. I went out with his Daughter Rose for few months.

By Ron Everitt (21/06/2012)

Hi everyone, it's been a while since I looked in on this. I moved to Melbourne in 2009 so I've been busy! Just as an update, I've since found that my Grandad, George Williams, did in fact serve overseas when his AA battery moved to Belgium in the latter stages of the war. If any Crossfields want to contact me, my new email address is: stevie1666@gmail.com

By Steve Williams (09/08/2012)

Hi Steve. It's a great story isn't it? My grandfather was Victor Crossfield who served in India with the Royal Engineers during the war, and I was always fascinated by what he told me about his war-time past.  It's funny, but whenever I hear 'Sussex by the Sea', the marching band song, I always think of him. He was always singing it when I was a kid. He was always a true hero to me and was an inspiration in my life as I grew up.  I went on to serve with the West Sussex Fire Brigade for over 17 years and loved the service life. It must be in the blood!

By Andrew Grover (19/12/2015)

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