In May 2010 I blogged about the Deptford Born King's jockey John Crouch who was killed in an air crash 20th June 1939. On 15th Dec 2011 John's older brother James celebrated his 100th birthday at Werribee, Victoria, Australia. In 1911 the family was living at 66 Speedwell Street, Deptford, which is where I presume Mr Crouch was born.
The photograh above and the article below appeared in the Werribee, Hoppers Crossing and Point Cook Star in November. I reproduce both by kind permission of Star News Group whose terms and conditions apply. Mr Crouch's medals are (l-r) the 1939-45 Star, the Italy Star, the Defence Medal and the War Medal.
By XAVIER SMERDON
22nd November 2011 11:39:59 AM
James Crouch is set to become Wyndham’s latest centurion.
WERRIBEE resident James Crouch is modest about everything he has achieved in his life, despite seeing more than most people can dream of. Almost 100 years ago to the day Mr Crouch was just born in the South London district of Deptford, since then he has travelled the world, fought in a world war, married twice and raised a family. The centurion is still very healthy, still living alone and only giving up driving last year. He complains that he only started using a walking stick three months ago because his doctor made him.
“I don't want to lose my independence. I do all my cooking and cleaning by myself,” Mr Crouch said. “I still get up at 6.30 in the morning. Once the papers arrive I'm up.”
Like anyone, Mr Crouch has had his fair share of battles, losing his first wife in 1974 and then caring for his second wife in the final years of her life after she was left with injuries following a car accident. One of 11 children growing up, Mr Crouch has only one sibling left, an older sister back in England who recently turned 102. He also has a daughter, two grandchildren and four great-grandchildren who all live in England.
When he moved to Werribee in 1977 it was a town of 30,000 people and was known as the “garden suburb”. Mr Crouch said there was no great secret to a long life, but attributes his longevity to staying as active as possible.
“I never expected that I would make it as long as I have, but these days you can't count on anything,” he said. “I'm quite pleased to still be here. I've always been active all my life.”
It is this simple approach to everyday life that has allowed Mr Crouch to stay as healthy as he is.
“The last time I went to hospital was for an operation in 1991 and the doctor sat on my bed and asked me if I had ever been in hospital before,” he said. “I told him the last time I was in hospital was in 1918 when I had scarlet fever. “When he heard that he almost fell off the bloody bed.”
The humble senior citizen said he prefers not to think about the past and instead focuses on the future.
“It's been a good life interspersed with a few bad sessions,” he said. “Overall it's paid dividends.”
Mr Crouch will celebrate his 100th birthday on 15 December.
“Most Awful Place in Britain”: Hackney 1982
11 hours ago