Thursday, April 09, 2009

Grandpa Clifford Crawley

My dear Grandpa Cliff, the epitome of a gentleman, passed away this evening, aged 88. Rest in peace my dear Grandfather, you will be missed. Grandpa used to joke that every day the first thing he'd do every day was open the paper and turn to the obituaries to make sure he wasn't listed. Tomorrow I'll do that for him as he's joined Grandma Kathleen in heaven.


Grandpa Cliff

Clifford Crawley was born in 1921 in East London. He was an apprentice sign-writer when WW2 kicked off, when he joined the Navy. At the end of the war, he was assigned to a merchant ship with naval guns, and travelled all over the world, from Singapore to Mozambique and Argentina to Canada, playing the piano in bars and meeting all sorts, including Oscar Peterson. The trip was cut short when his mother wrote to the Admiralty demanding her son back!

Back in London, he was involved in workers' rights, even giving a speech to a crowd of 6,000 in Trafalgar Square, and giving a false address to the police when he came off the podium. Later he joined the Fire Brigade, rising to become the local chief in East London, which involved responsibilities such as "inspecting" the Truman Brewery Director's Bar for fire safety!

He and Grandma Kathleen retired to Sheringham in the early 80s, and were active in the local community and travelling in Europe ever since, Grandpa an active member of the local photography club, giving shows on his specialist interest Horatio Nelson, also Norfolk history, and on his travels, especially Yugoslavia.

Above all else, I will remember Grandpa Cliff for his perfect gentlemanly manners and marvellous knowledge. He would complete the cryptic crossword with ease, and would always be the first to surrender his seat or help anyone out. He maintained his independence to the end, living in Salisbury Road, with occasional visits (and foot massages!) from his girls. I loved to sit with him and listen to his stories as he recounted his stories from his long and interesting life. He will be sorely missed..

RIP Grandpa Clifford Crawley.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

An inspiration to us all, so kind gentle and caring. He will be sorely missed and never forgotten. Send our love to grandma and rest peacefully old boy x x x x lewis

Anonymous said...

Hi Sam,

Please accept my commiserations. I remember you mentioning you sometimes had the job of cleaning his Venetian blinds but accepting the task with good grace.

Vince

Anonymous said...

Hi Sam, I had the Honour of serving under your Grandpa whilst I was in the London Fire Brigade during 70's. He was my "Guvnor" (Station Officer)on the Redwatch at Stratford Fire Station, London East.You are so lucky to have had a Grandpa like Cliff. He was like a Dad to us 20-something year olds, he would listen and advise us on all our troubles.As you say He was a"GENTLE-MAN" in every respect. He will surely be missed.
Andy Smith.

Sam Crawley said...

Thank you for your kind words, Andy, and it is an honour to make your acquaintance. The service to celebrate his life and give him a good send-off will be this Friday in Norfolk, you are of course welcome to attend. Let me know if you would like details.

Anonymous said...

Hi Sam, I shall be attending the Service this Friday with a number of your Grandpa's ex-Firemen colleages and we have all the details of the arrangements.
I look forward to meeting you and the rest of the Crawley family.
A few of us used to visit him 2 or 3 times a year to "Swing-the-Lamp" and he always used to make us laugh, no matter how old he got.
Regards Andy Smith.

Sam Crawley said...

Glad to hear it, and I look forward to meeting you. He used to speak so fondly of you all coming up and taking him to the Wheatsheaf at West Beckham. Indeed the last time I saw him, he reminded me that you and your colleagues still visit him, and he smiled as he modestly observed that he "must have done something right".

Anonymous said...

Hi Sam

Some lovely words, he would have been proud. Good luck with your reading on Friday, I only hope I can get through mine! We'll honour your Grandpa, my Dad and the Guv'nor as he deserved.

Mike

Rowan said...

I remember our visits to Grandma and Grandpa as a child with my parents with the fondest of memories. The walks over the hump, and the activities they always took us on. They both and especially Grandpa had a knack of making even the most non child friendly activites fun and adventuresome. I remember playing scrabble with him and his knowledge of everything was just amazing. You will be sorely missed Grandpa... R.I.P. you will always be in our hearts!! Rowan

Anonymous said...

May I thank all the Crawley family for making us ex Firemen so welcome today.Talking to some of you only confirmed what we all believed that the World isn't as nice a place without Cliff.As a young man, he had made such an impression on me and my colleagues alike, I do feel you were very lucky to have had him as a father, Grandpa and great grandpa. I for one will miss him.
Andy Smith.

Sam Crawley said...

Thank you so much for attending, Andy, it was an honour to meet you and your colleagues. May I have your email address? I hope to have another opportunity to meet and buy you a pint or two in exchange for more stories of your days with Cliff, including a re-run of "It's got me, Guv"!!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Sam, my email :- andyredwatch@sky.com Would love to have a pint(or 3 ) with you.Like all the Redwatch,we have lots of great stories to tell about the good times we had.
Sorry about the late reply,have been on holiday to the USA. Geoff Mecham sent me Mike's letter and press cutting,his words of tribute to his dad was so touching and it summed him up to a T. Please give all the Crawley family my regards.
Andy Smith.

Anonymous said...

Hi sam,

Im sorry about your grand-father. But i was wondering if you know where i can find Clifford Crawley's Dragon song. I just love the song and it is one of my auddition songs for the Royal Conservatory Of Music exam.. and well if you know where to find it, i would be most gracious.

Regards, Clifford Crawley Fan.