John Asheton Critchley

Key Information

Name: John Asheton Critchley
DoB: November 4 1892, Canada.
Regt: Lieut.  Lord Strathcona’s Horse (wounded); Capt., 1915; Military Cross, 1916.
DoD: April 5 1917
Academic Career: CGS 1905-06
Biographical Information:

  • John Asheton Critchley was the son of Oswald Asheton Critchley (1864-1934) According to his oldest son, Oswald was “ tall, lean; a great horseman, a first-class shot and a tremendously keen fisherman.” He had come to Canada at the age 18. His family was from Salwick Hall, Preston.

    John was the elder son of his father’s second wife Mary Winifred Holt. His father had been married before and had had two sons with his first wife Maria Cecil Newbold (1865-1891): Alfred Cecil and Walter Ramsay. Maria died in childbirth. In 1905 his twin brothers Gerald Holt and Richard Oswald were born.  The family lived at the Stapleton Ranch. Which was six miles west of Calgary: “it was all most picturesque: some of the mountain peaks carried white caps of snow all the year round” and his half-brother Alfred recalled: “Walter, Jack…and I were growing up without the slightest benefit of education. We could hardly write and could only just read. On the other hand, we could saddle ponies, ride for miles across the ranges, find our way in the dark without compasses, make our own camp, hit a polo ball, and ride herd.”

    The family moved to England in 1899 for the boys’ education. They were  sent first to The Meads, a prep school in Eastbourne. Father then moved the family to Cumberland to be near his relatives at Stapleton Tower, Annan, Dumfriesshire. Alfred was sent to St Bees School for three years from the age of 12 (1902?).