Image of Jesus College war memorial

Crewe Coles, 2nd Lieutenant, East Lancashire Regiment (Territorial Force)

Crewe Coles came up to Jesus College in October 1907.

Born: Alexandria, Egypt  on10 March 1889

Fell in action: 4 June 1915

Education

He had been educated at Cheam School, Wellington School, and by private tuition at South Lynn, Eastbourne. Coles took his BA in in 1910.

Dog owner

His obituary records that: “He was a gentle but manly youth. His friends might like to know that his grand Borzoi which accompanied him on his walks died this year” (Jesus College Society Annual Report ,1915, p32).

We are unable at present to find out what the rules were about bringing pets to College but we think that is possible that the grand Borzoi could have been kept in the College stables. Crewe's dog would have been a large animal, which was traditionally used for hunting and racing in its native Russia. It is difficult to see how he could have kept such a dog at College if there were not facilities for kennels or stables.

Oarsman

Whilst here Coles (11st 5lbs) was a committed oarsman and won head of the river in Lent Bumps 1909, rowing at No 2 in the same boat that T. M. Crowe (another Gallipoli casualty) stroked. He also rowed at the Henley Regatta in the Ladies’ Plate and Thames Cup (Jesus College Boat Club Records).

Athlete

Coles also took part in a couple of athletics events, taking part in the 120 yards hurdle race and the high jump. In the December 1908 College Sports event he recorded a height of 5ft 2½in, which was some way off the Olympic Gold Medal height in the 1912 games at 6ft 3in (Jesus College Society Annual Report, 1909, p36).

The differences to today’s high jump can be seen in this clip from the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm.

"Behaved with great gallantry"

Coles died near Krithia on the Gallipoli Peninsula. The Brigadier-General, 126th Brigade, 42nd Division wrote “He behaved with great gallantry and was conspicuous throughout this action ... I had marked him down for special mention.” (Jesus College Society Annual Report, 1915, p32).

You can email us on ww1-project@jesus.cam.ac.uk, go to our First World War homepage, or find us on Lives of the First World War

Hear from our students