Friday, 30 August 2013

Sepia Saturday 192 : John Chauncy Champion de Crespigny (1908 - 1995)


From SATURDAY WEDDINGS IN TOWN AND COUNTRY CENTRES. (1947, June 9). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 8. Retrieved August 29, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article22431673



This is my first post following the Sepia Saturday theme.  The prompt for this week was a photograph of musicians in 1947. While the musicians were in their shirt sleeves, I chose this photograph as it was taken the same year.

John Chauncy Champion de Crespigny was born on 25 August 1908 at Royal Park Melbourne to Philip, a journalist, and his wife Birdie. He was the youngest of four surviving children:
  • Annie Frances born 1903
  • Lorna Blanche born 1904 
  • Philip George born 1906
There had also been a baby who died at birth in 1901.

John's father enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force in 1918 and was killed in Palestine in July 1918. (My earlier bog post from April 1913). John was only nine years old.

John enlisted in World War 2 and was a prisoner of war of the Japanese. He was captured in Java and imprisoned in Thailand where he was ADC to "Weary" Dunlop in camp number 4. Twenty years later John wrote about celebrating Mothers' Day while a prisoner of war. (AN ECHO FROM MOTHER'S DAY, 1943— IN A POW CAMP. (1967, June 28). The Australian Women's Weekly (1933 - 1982), p. 14. Retrieved August 29, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article42114056 .)

Summary of service in World War 2 retrieved from http://www.ww2roll.gov.au/VeteranCertificate.aspx?VeteranID=416833 29 August 2013

The wedding pictured above is John's second marriage.  His first marriage of 1932 ended in divorce in 1939. At the time of his divorce he was an advertising specialist of Dawson Street, Ballarat. DIVORCE COURT. (1939, April 6). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 2. Retrieved August 29, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article12115198 ) John's second wife, Margaret Nicol (1909 - 1998), was the widow of Esmond Bernard Serisier (1905 - 1945).

John died on 7 February 1995. His wife Margaret died three years later.

John does not look nearly as relaxed as the musicians: weddings are not relaxing and it is not long after his experiences as a prisoner of war.


14 comments:

  1. Welcome to Sepia Saturday. John still has his soldiers' bearing in that wedding photograph - a proud man with a record to be proud of.

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  2. Thanks for your comment Alan. It is quite a contrast to the relaxed musicians.

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  3. Welcome aboard. John may not look relaxed but at least he is suitably attired - necktie and all!

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  4. Let's hope John was able to adjust easily to civilian life. So many could not.

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  5. Welcome to Sepia Saturday! Such an aristocratic sounding surname, Champion de Crespigny. I bet there are some interesting stories in that line of your family tree.

    Too bad the marriage ended in divorce, but yes, you can definitely see the discomfort in his demeanour.

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    1. Thanks for your comments Kat. The marriage pictured lasted; sadly John's first marriage in the 1930s ended in divorce.

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  6. I used to work with a Robin de Crespigny at AFTRS. She probably doesn't remember me very well as I used to work in the Brisbane office and would only call her occasionally about actor's award rates. It's a very distinctive name.

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    1. John was Robin's uncle :) You know she has recently published The People Smuggler: http://www.thepeoplesmuggler.com/

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    2. Hi Anne - yes I had heard that. I must order that book from the library. It sounds like a very interesting story.

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  7. John and Margaret were lucky to find each other for companionship and friendship - the war experiences would have been horrible.

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    1. I agree the war would have been appalling and so it is nice to read a positive story afterwards.

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  8. Is John the father of the well known businessman Robert Champion de Crespigny?

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  9. Hi Sharon Robert and John are related; they are second cousins once removed. Robert's great grandfather was Philip Champion de Crespigny (1850 - 1927). Philip was John's grandfather and my great great grandfather. Robert, John and I are each descended from different sons of Philip who had six sons in total.

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