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One of our three Boer War Blues...

Henry Crisfield

Career : 1902
Debut : Round 1, 1902 vs Geelong, aged 24 years, 232 days
Carlton Player No. 121
Games : 5
Goals : 3
Last Game : Round 7, 1902 vs Collingwood, aged 24 years, 269 days
Height : 178 cm (5 ft. 10 in.)
Weight : 80 kg (12 stone, 8 lbs.)
DOB : September 13, 1877


Born in Chiltern in northern Victoria in 1877, Henry Francis Crisfield trained as a policeman, and was stationed at nearby Rutherglen when the Boer War began in southern Africa in 1899. He was also a more than handy local footballer.

When the Victorian government called for volunteers to provide mounted support for the British forces in Africa, Crisfield was granted leave to join the Victorian Imperial Bushmen, one of the many Australian contingents raised by the colonies. To date, he is one of only three Carlton players known to have served in that short but violent conflict that cost the lives of more than 600 Australians and New Zealanders.

Henry got through his hazardous tour of duty in one piece, and on his return to Australia found his way to Princes Park, where Carlton’s freshly-appointed coach Jack Worrall was offering opportunities to anyone willing to have a tilt at VFL football. Twenty-four year-old Crisfield must have made a pretty good impression, because Worrall included him at full-forward in Carlton’s team to play Geelong at Princes Park in the opening round of the 1902 season. Crisfield managed two goals from very few opportunities, but it wasn’t a particularly joyous debut for him or his new team when the Pivotonians won by 38 points.

Throughout the rest of his first year in charge of the Blues, Worrall relentlessly turned over his playing group. Henry managed four more matches and one more goal, but after Carlton was walloped again by Collingwood (in the King’s Birthday weekend match at Victoria Park in June), he evidently decided that life in Rutherglen had be more rewarding, and went back home to the bush.

Twelve years later, when Australia and the British Empire became embroiled in a far more widespread and costly conflict in World War 1, Crisfield was married and stationed in Bendigo. He enlisted again at the age of 37 in 1915, and, because of his prior experience, was given the rank of Sergeant with the Anzac Provost Corps, or Military Police. He served for another three years at home and abroad in a variety of administrative posts, then was discharged on medical grounds after he contracted severe bronchitis in 1918.

Home safely in the last year of the war, Henry returned to the relatively peaceful life of a country copper, before he experienced the third major military conflict of his life with the outbreak of World War II in 1939. This time however, he couldn’t see it through. On February 2, 1945, he passed away at the age of 67.

The Age July 02 (p8) 1903;
VFL Permit was granted to Henry Crisfield to transfer to VFA team North Melbourne.

Articles: The Blues at War

Constable Crisfield - Bravery Award

While stationed in Williamstown on 20 December 1909, Henry Crisfield dashed into a burning house to rescue an elderly lady.
In 1910 he received an award from the Royal Humane Society.
To read the Mount Alexander Mail's article, click here> http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article200256737

Blueseum: Summary of playing statistics for Henry Crisfield | Crisfield's Blueseum Image Gallery

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