Claude Tozer

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Claude Tozer
Personal information
Full name Claude John Tozer
Born (1890-09-27)27 September 1890
Sydney, New South Wales
Died 21 December 1920(1920-12-21) (aged 30)
Lindfield, New South Wales
Batting style Right-hand bat
Relations Percie Charlton (uncle)
Domestic team information
Years Team
1911–20 New South Wales
First-class debut 24 February 1911 New South Wales v South Africans
Last First-class 3 December 1920 Australians v Marylebone Cricket Club
Career statistics
Competition First-class
Matches 7
Runs scored 514
Batting average 46.72
100s/50s 1/5
Top score 103
Balls bowled 0
Wickets 0
Bowling average -
5 wickets in innings 0
10 wickets in match 0
Best bowling -
Catches/stumpings 4/0
Source: Cricinfo, 12 December 2008

Claude John Tozer DSO (27 September 1890 – 21 December 1920) was an Australian medical doctor and first-class cricketer who played for New South Wales. He was the nephew of Australian Test cricketer Percie Charlton.

The son of a Bank of New South Wales official, John and Beatrice Tozer (née Charlton), he was educated at Sydney Church of England Grammar School. Whilst at the school he was a member of the Cadet Corps attaining the rank of cadet officer. He graduated from the University of Sydney with a Bachelor of Medicine in 1914. Whilst at the university he played for the university's cricket club and was a member of their premiership winning team in 1913-14.[1]

A right-handed batsman, Tozer juggled his early cricket career with medical studies at university and as a resident at the Royal Hospital for Women, Paddington. Before the war, Tozer played four first-class matches for New South Wales as a middle order batsman.[2]

In May 1915 he enlisted in the army with the rank of Captain and was posted to the 1st Field Ambulance, Australian Army Medical Corps at Gallipoli. After the evacuation he was hospitalised in Egypt with paratyphoid in early 1916. Later in 1916 he served on the western front and was wounded severely in the head and right leg in July 1916 during the Battle of Pozières. Following an extended convalescence he returned to France in January 1917 and served in various capacities in hospitals and field units. He was promoted to the rank of Major in June 1917. In November he was mentioned in dispatches by the Commander of British Forces, Field Marshal Douglas Haig for "distinguished and gallant service and devotion to duty in the field" and awarded the Distinguished Service Order.[3]

Returning to Australia in early 1919 he resumed his duties with the state cricket team, this time as an opening batsman. In 1919/20 he played his fifth first-class match, against Queensland at Brisbane and made innings of 51 and 103.[4] He also made his Sheffield Shield debut that season, at the SCG against South Australia and scored 37 in the first innings before being run out.[5] Tozer was by now working as a general practitioner on Sydney's North Shore.

His prolific 1920-21 season in grade cricket, which saw him make 452 runs in three matches earned him selection for an Australian XI to play against the touring MCC. Opening the batting, he made a pair of half centuries.[6]

Tozer was due to play as NSW captain in a match against Queensland on 1 January 1921 but on 21 December, at Lindfield in Sydney, he was shot three times and killed by a depressed married female patient who had fallen in love with him.[7][8] At her trial the woman, Dorothy Mort was found not guilty on the ground of insanity [9] but was imprisoned in Long Bay Gaol at the Governor's pleasure, and was released nine years later.

A non-fiction book describing the case, Mrs Mort's Madness, by Suzanne Falkiner, was published by Xoum in December 2014.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "It just isn't cricket". The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons. Retrieved 11 December 2008. 
  2. ^ "First-Class Matches played by Claude Tozer". CricketArchive. 
  3. ^ "It's an Honour". Australian Government. Retrieved 11 December 2008. 
  4. ^ "Queensland v New South Wales 1919/20". CricketArchive. 
  5. ^ "New South Wales v South Australia 1919/20". CricketArchive. 
  6. ^ "Australian XI v Marylebone Cricket Club 1920/21". CricketArchive. 
  7. ^ "Drug dealers, backstreet abortionists and a deadly femme fatale: Fascinating mugshots of women prisoners from 1920s Australia". Daily Mail. London. 19 February 2012. 
  8. ^ "It just isn't cricket". The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons. Retrieved 2008-12-11. 
  9. ^ "Hell hath no fury ...". Cricinfo. 

External links[edit]