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.
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.