Jeremiah Crutchley was born on 19th May 1915, the son of Thomas Henry and Clara Crutchley. He was born at 110 Field Road in Bloxwich in the type of red brick terraced house built en mass for the working classes of late Victorian England. The house, probably about fifteen years old when Jeremiah was born, still stands. A picture is shown left.
Jeremiah's father, Thomas Henry, according to family recollections, was a locksmith of some repute within the local community. He conducted his business from a small workshop at the rear of his home at 110 Field Road. He would have repaired locks and manufactured new ones in an era on the verge of mass production.
Jeremiah's mother, Clara (nee Somerfield), in common with most women of her era stayed at home to care for her family. A career that was no less arduous than any other that may have been available to her at that time. Her marriage to Thomas Henry was already in its fourteenth year when she gave birth to Jeremiah.
Jeremiah inherited his Christian name from his grandfather, who in turn inherited it from his father. Jeremiah is the English version of the Hebrew name Yirmeyahu, the Jewish 6th century prophet who predicted the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians. It means 'exalted by God' and is synonymous with predictions of dire events, so much so that any prediction of doom is still known as a 'jeremiad'.
Were it not for the cruel hand of fate, Jeremiah would most likely have followed the same circle of life that his father and grandfather had before him. He would have attended school until he was fourteen and then left to learn a trade. Probably he would have married, lived locally and then reared his own children.
Jeremiah was destined not to face the abject horrors of a world at war for the second time in forty years, a fate that awaited millions of his generation. A fate that awaited his younger brother Thomas Henry junior.
Jeremiah completed almost all of his schooling at local Bloxwich schools. At fourteen he was attending Field Road school, only a few yards from his home. On Wednesday 24th July 1929, he attended school for the final time. At some point during the afternoon, according to a later report by headmaster Mr GA Foster, he began to feel unwell. Probably he was already feeling unwell when he arrived for school that morning. His teachers decided that he should be sent home immediately.
Thomas and Clara called for the doctor, as it was straight away obvious that his condition was deteriorating rapidly. It was, however, already too late. Jeremiah died before the doctor arrived.
Due to the suddenness of Jeremiah's death, an inquest was ordered and held on 26th July 1929. Mr JHS Addison, Deputy Coroner for the Borough of Walsall concluded that Jeremiah had died from Uraemia bought about by Pyelo Nephritis.
Streptococcus bacteria that are not normally present in the kidneys, caused Jeremiah's kidneys to become inflamed. This serious condition, even now relatively common in children and adolescents, can be cured by administering a large dose of antibiotics. In 1929, they were not available and Jeremiah's condition was probably already too far advanced when it was recognised. The infection reduced the ability of Jeremiah's kidneys to eliminate waste products from his blood. This gave rise to hypertension, gastrointestinal haemorrhages and cardiac inefficiencies. Without the types of antibiotics available today, Jeremiah's kidneys failed and he died.
Jeremiah was buried in Field Road cemetery, on the same road where he had been born, lived and attended school. Sadly there are no photographs of Jeremiah, but the article that appeared in the Walsall Observer newspaper on 27th July 1929 is shown left.