Medical Officers of the Malta Garrison Croker William Pennefather
Brigadier William Pennefather Croker MB BCh BAO LM (Rot Dub 1912) 26 Oct 1889 [Clondalkin Co. Dublin] – 16 Feb 1969 [Barton on sea]
Brigadier William Pennefather Croker studied medicine at Trinity College Dublin from where he graduated MB ChB in 1912. He specialised in obstetrics at the Rotunda, Dublin and became a Bachelor of the Art of Obstetrics (BAO) and a Licentiate in midwifery (LM). He was an all round sportsman, representing Ireland at hockey. During his tour in Malta he played for the army at golf, hockey and cricket. He was a cadet on the Dublin University Contingent Officers' Training Corps before obtaining a commission in the Royal Army Medical Corps on 24 January 1913.
During the First World War he served in France and Belgium, and was a prisoner of war for a year before being exchanged. He served again in France and Belgium until 1919. He was awarded the Legion of Honour and the Croix de Guerre. Between the wars he was in command of the Military Hospital and RAMC Company in Malta, where he insisted on a high standard of physical fitness and character building in his men by means of various games, in which he often joined. He demanded, too, a high standard of training, and many RAMC soldiers who served under him later achieved commissioned rank.1
During the Second World War he was in Iceland and Gibraltar. In 1943–1944 he was Deputy Director of Medical Services, X Corps, and was mentioned in dispatches. His last appointment, after the war, was in command of the Royal Victoria Hospital, Netley.
Brigadier William Pennefather Croker died at his home on Barton on Sea, on 16 February 1969, aged 79 years.
Service Record — William Pennefather Croker
24 Jan 1913 Appointed Lieutenant RAMC on probation. Attended the Royal Army Medical College until March 1913.
Apr–June 1913 At the RAMC Depôt Aldershot as Lieutenant on Probation.
July 1913–Feb 1914 Confirmed in rank in July 1913. Posted to the Irish Command and served at the Military Hospital Portobello Barracks, Dublin.
Mar 1914 Change of Station from Dublin to Curragh.
Apr 1914 Change of Station from Dublin to Newry. Medical officer in charge 1st/Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry.
7 Aug 1914 Served with the British Expeditionary Force in France and Belgium. Mobilized at Richmond Barracks as medical officer in charge 1st/Royal West Kent Regiment.
Nov 1914–June 1915 Prisoner of War for a year at Krefeld and Münster North Rhine Westphalia after his Regimental Aid Post was overrun. Was exchanged in 1915.
30 Mar 1915 Promoted Captain RAMC.
June 1915 Repatriated to Tilbury, England via Hook of Holland.
July 1915–Mar 1916 At the Military Hospital Portobello Barracks, Dublin.
Mar 1916–Dec 1917 Served with the British Expeditionary Force in France as OC 22 Motor Ambulance Convoy.
Jan –Dec 1918 At HQ IV and 11 Army and DADMS 31 Division.
14 Oct 1918–5 Mar 1919 Granted the Acting rank of Major.
6 Nov 1918 Awarded the Croix de Guerre.
Jan–Mar 1919 Served as DADMS 31 Division.
17 Apr 1919 Embarked for India on SS City of Marseilles. Arrived at Calcutta.
June–Sept 1919 At Peshawar North West Frontier, British India. Served in the 3rd Afghan War with No 12th field Ambulance and HQ Norfront.
Oct–Dec 1919 At Peshawar, North West Frontier as OC 28 Motor Ambulance Convoy.
Jan–Dec 1921 At Peshawar, North West Frontier as OC 28 Motor Ambulance Convoy and 35 Base Hospital.
Apr 1920 Relinquished the acting rank of Major.
Jan–Sept 1922 At Peshawar, North West Frontier as officer in charge Military Families Hospital.
19 Oct 1922 Reverted to Home establishment. Embarked on SS Scotian.
Dec 1922–Feb 1923 At RAMC Depôt Crookham.
14 Mar–Apr 1923 Captain W P Croker was appointed Divisional Adjutant 47th (2nd London) Division TA and School of Instruction, vice Captain James. Harding Barry DSO MC who vacated the appointment on retirement.
24 Jan 1925 Promoted Major RAMC.
May–Sept 1925 On Senior officers' course Royal Army Medical College London.
Oct–Nov 1925 At the Royal Herbert Hospital, Woolwich pending embarkation for Gibraltar.
5 Dec 1925 Embarked on the SS City of Marseilles for Gibraltar.
Jan–Dec 1926 Company Officer No 28 Coy RAMC Military Hospital Gibraltar.
6 Jan 1927 Embarked on SS Patroclus for China with 2nd/Suffolk Regiment rear party.
Feb–Mar 1927 At the Military Hospital Bowen Road, Hong Kong.
Apr–May 1927 Medical officer in charge of Shameen Defence Force, Canton with B Coy Kings Own Scottish Borderers.
1 June 1927 Embarked for Shanghai on SS Bellerophon for duty with No 12 Field Ambulance Shanghai Defence Force (6 June 1927–February 1928).
Mar 1928 Embarked for Egypt on SS City of Marseilles.
Apr 1928–Mar 1931 Medical officer in charge of Reception Station and Military Families Hospital Mustapha, Alexandria.
Apr 1931 SMO London District Guards Depôt and officer in charge reception Station Caterham.
Malta 7 Feb 1933 Arrived from Liverpool on the T S S California for duty at the Military Hospital Mtarfa. He was accompanied by his spouse and two children.
July 1933 RMO attached to 3rd Hvy Bty Royal Artillery Tigné.
Elected captain of 30 Coy RAMC cricket team. He formed part of the winning team of the inter-service Golf Cup Tournament 1933 and was also selected to play cricket for the army.
15 Sept 1933 Attended the annual RAMC (Malta) Swimming Gala at Bighi with 30 Coy RAMC, the Royal Naval Hospital having lent its own private swimming location. Afterwards, 30 Coy RAMC was conveyed by the motor launch Thrush to the Custom House, and onwards to Mtarfa.
Apr 1935 Officer Commanding Military Hospital Mtarfa.
28 Sept 1936 Returned from leave.
Malta 27 Jan 1937 Returned to England on H T Dilwara. Won the Spring Handicap Cup Golf a few days before he left Malta for England.
Feb 1937–1939 Senior Medical Officer Royal Arsenal Woolwich.
28 Dec 1939 Granted the Acting rank of Colonel L/RAMC.
Dec 1939–June 1940 Officer Commanding 30 General Hospital Kimbolton.
July 1940 In Iceland, Officer Commanding 30 General Hospital.
17 Nov 1940 Colonel L/RAMC with seniority from 13 July 1938.
Dec 1940–Mar 1941 Assistant Director of Medical Services (ADMS) HQ West Sussex Division at Styning.
Apr 1941–1942 Deputy Director of Medical Services (DDMS) Fortress HQ Gibraltar.
Dec 1942–1944 To Middle East Force/Central Mediterranean Force via the Cape.
Jan 1943–1944 Disembarked at Suez. Deputy Director of Medical Services HQ X Corps.
8 Feb 1943 Granted the Acting rank of Brigadier L/RAMC.
8 Aug 1943–19 Feb 1944 Promoted Temporary Brigadier L/RAMC.
Feb 1944 Officer Commanding 99 General Hospital North Africa.
July 1944 Officer Commanding 99 General Hospital in Italy.
Dec 1944 Colonel Croker having completed four years in the rank was retained on the Active List supernumerary to establishment. Sailed for England from Naples
1945–1947 Commanding Officer Royal Victoria Hospital Netley.
27 Apr 1947 Retired on retired pay with the honorary rank of Brigadier.
26 Oct 1949 Ceased to remain on the Regular Army Reserve of Officers having attained the age limit of liability to recall.
16 Feb 1969 Died at his home, 57 Barton Court Avenue Barton on Sea from coronary thrombosis aged 79 years.
Entry No: 847. Drew R. 1968. Commissioned Offices in the Medical Services of the British Army 1690–1960. Vol. II. Roll of Officers in the Royal Army Medical Corps 1898–1960, London: Wellcome Historical Medical Library.
Succession Books Vol XXIV, Returns of statement of service of RAMC Officers.
1Obituary, Brit Med J (1969); 2:56 (Published 5 April 1969).
Papers and photographs of Brigadier William Pennefather Croker RAMC 1910-1969.
German Prison Camps. Br Med J (1916); 420 (Published 18 March 1916).
Beaman W K., Some experiences of a Prisoner of War in Germany with remarks on four prisoner's camps. J Roy Army Med Corps (1915); xxv: 482–493 (Published November 1915).