Lieutenant-Colonel J. North Crealock, Acting Military Secretary. the third son of William Belton Crealock, was born on 21 May 1836 and in 1849 followed his brothers to Rugby School. On 13 October 1854 his father purchased for him the rank of Ensign in the 95th Derbyshire Regiment (later the Sherwood Foresters, formed in 1881 from the 45th and 95th Regiments). Four years later he was promoted to Lieutenant and the following year became an Inspector of Musketry at Aldershot.
In 1857 his Regiment sailed for the Cape of Good Hope but on arrival they were re-routed to India, where the Mutiny had broken out. The 95th Regiment landed at Bombay and became part of the Rajputana Field Force, whose task it was to round up the insurgents outside Gwalior. The first success was the capture of Kotch, where the Maharaja had surrendered to the mutineers. Eventually Gwalior was captured, but John North was wounded and took no further part in the campaign. He wrote a vivid illustrated diary," full of humane touches concerning the various people involved in the campaign. This diary tells us much more about John North than the campaign, during which he was thrice mentioned in despatches. His later campaign diaries and notes are of a purely military nature.
In 1860 John North was appointed Inspector of Musketry, first to the Bombay Presidency and then to the Bombay Northern District. From December 1862 to May 1864 he was Aide-de-Camp to Sir William Mansfield, Commander-in- Chief Bombay. He continued to serve in India and attended Staff College in 1868.
He then returned to England and on 20 May 1869, at St Michael's Church, Chester Square, married Marion Lloyd. They had three sons. The eldest was John Mansfield Stradling, born in Dublin in 1871, named Mansfield after his father's Commander-in-Chief in India. The second son was Henry Keith Thesiger who died at the age of eight. The third son, Malcolm Elphinstone Fleming, became a lawyer.
In 1870 he was appointed Aide-de-Camp to General Officer Commanding Ireland and from 1871 to 1875 he was Deputy Assistant Adjutant General at Aldershot. He was promoted Major in 1875 and in 1877 he became Deputy Adjutant Quartermaster-General at Army Headquarters, Aldershot.
During the 9th Frontier War (also called the Kaffir or Xhosa War, and later the Border War), in March 1878, John North was posted to South Africa as Assistant Military Secretary to Lieutenant-General The Honourable Frederick Thesiger (who became Lord Chelmsford). Of this campaign John North wrote a very full account. In 1879, with the conclusion of the Frontier War, Lord Chelmsford was posted to Natal to cope with rising Zulu discontent on the borders and John North, now a Lieutenant-Colonel, accompanied him as Military Secretary. The ensuing campaign gave John North adequate time for sketching and recording, as the forwarding of military supplies by ox-wagon over very rough country took so long. The first illustrations of Rorke's Drift to appear in the Illustrated London News were based on sketches by John North.
Though he wrote no journal, his letters to Arthur Harness provide a vivid account of the campaign.` John North's brother, Henry Hope, was in command of the force proceeding up the coast from Durban, while John North was with Chelmsford on the way to Ulundi. Sir Garnet Wolseley, as we have seen, took a dislike to both brothers, writing: 'They are both snobs and, as they were not born gentlemen, they cannot help it.' John North was known as 'the wasp' and Wolseley described him as Chelmsford's 'evil genius' Nonetheless he was thrice mentioned in despatches. On the boat home he spent time sketching and many of these sketches were offered as prizes for sporting and other events during the voyage.
After the Zulu War, John North took over command of what became the 2nd Battalion Sherwood Foresters and was promoted full Lieutenant- Colonel and later Brevet Colonel. He commanded the Battalion in Gibraltar and in Alexandria in 1882, and was awarded the campaign medal with Khedive Star. The regimental history records:
There can be but few in the Battalion, who did not feel they were better soldiers for having known so progressive and so appreciative a commanding officer.
In 1887 he once again returned to Staff appointments in England and in 1892 was promoted to Major-General before going to Madras in 1893. He died at Rawalpindi on 26 April 1895, aged 58, and was buried in the churchyard at Littleham alongside his young son Keith and, later, his wife. There is a memorial window to him in the Catholic church at Bideford.
From (Littleham and Landcross website)
See Pictorial catalogue of AZW graves