William Hugh McKissock CRAIG (1879-1953)
William Hugh McKissock Craig (1879-1953) was a colleague of George Sladden in the 15th (County of London) Battalion, The London Regiment (Prince of Wales’ Own, Civil Service Rifles).
William Craig was born at Marylebone in 1879, the youngest of three children of Robert Hugh McCready Craig, a carpenter, and his wife, Grace. In 1881 they lived at 16 Lorne Gardens, Marylebone.
On 16th June 1906 William married Elsie Kate Lawrence at the Parish Church, St John Hackney. He was a commercial traveller and lived at 12 Lansdowne Grove, Neasden. They had a daughter, Eileen Elsie, born at Streatham in 1907. In 1911 they lived at 12 Rostrevor Avenue, Stamford Hill.
William Craig first met George Sladden in 1914 at the start of the Great War. Craig had only joined the Territorial Force of the Civil Service Rifles just a few months earlier. He had previously served with 51 (Paget’s Horse) Company Imperial Yeomanry in the South African War; Paget’s Horse was an elite unit whose four companies made up the 19th Battalion Imperial Yeomanry. In a letter of 24th August 1914, George Sladden described him as “much the best man of us all”. Craig at first thought he would have to settle for home service because he had a family dependent upon him. In a letter of 23rd September 1914, George indicated that Craig would probably volunteer for foreign service, depending on what the government decided to do for the widows and children of those who fell.
Craig did in fact volunteer for foreign service and arrived in France in March 1915 along with George Sladden. Lance Corporal Craig had just been promoted to Sergeant. In January 1916, when Captain Kinsman left the Section to take up a staff post, Sergeant Craig was stop-gap as Transport Officer. He had been recommended for a commission and after he had been to the usual course at the School of Instruction for officers he was given the job. Craig returned to the Section in March 1916 and George took over as Sergeant. When Craig went on special leave for a month in February 1918 for long service, George took over his duties.
After the war, Craig’s medals were sent to 1C West End Mansions, West End Lane, London NW6. He and Elsie were living there in 1926. He was there on his own in 1928.
William Craig, described as a bachelor and a commercial traveller of 57 Wellington Road, London N7, married Mary Horley at St David’s Church, Islington, on 6th November 1929; they had two children. By 1931, William and Mary were living at 23 Hill Top, Finchley, London NW11.
William died at Penwarne, West Hill, Wadebridge, Cornwall, on 10th April 1953.