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Oct 01

Robert Ernest Crawford

Remarkably, while Mr Crawford attended the school in the 1890s, this year his generosity once again favoured us when we were informed that a legacy payment in his will was due to the John Hampden War Memorial Fund.
He was born in Newtown, Canningham, Res, Donegal, Ireland with an Anglo-Irish background. His father was the Rev. James Alexander Crawford, and mother was Margaret Elizabeth Crawford nee Mooney.
His story below is taken from the Tamensian magazine of 1956.
A Grand Old Tamensian
Robert Ernest Crawford, born 10 November 1876.
On 10 November Mr Crawford celebrated his 80 birthday, although not the oldest living OT, he certainly has for a long time been the oldest active member of our association. For many years he and his charming wife and two daughters have been regular attendants and familiar figures at the cricket and rugger matches. (His wife was Gertrude Ellen Mathews, who he married in 1908.)
Crawford was a pupil at the school during the early nineties, when Benjamin Sharpe was Headmaster, and he later proceeded first to St Catherines College and thence to Wadham College where he was a contemporary of F E Smith (later Lord Birkenhead) and John (later Lord) Simon*. He read Classics and Jurisprudence and was for a few years a schoolmaster, then a private secretary before he decided on a career in business. He became an insurance broker and later an underwriter at Lloyds. He is a well-known and respected figure in London City, and it is only very recently that he retired from active business.
Crawford’s special interest has been the John Hampden War Memorial Scholarship Fund, which he not only originated in 1931 but has lavishly supported with his own money. It must be highly gratifying to him to contemplate today the success which his project has achieved, when there are nine Old Boys at Oxford University alone, many of whom are receiving aid from the Fund, and recently no less than seven requests for financial assistance were received and everyone was acceded to.
For many years he and his family lived in Fir Tree Hill, Chandlers Cross, Croxley Green.
He died on 10 April 1965 leaving in Probate £81,966 to a solicitor and his daughter Margaret Ann Crawford, spinster, born in 1924 in Croxley Green. She died in 2014 and we are now a part-beneficiary of the residue from a Trust that Crawford had set up.
* Lords Birkenhead and Simon were well known in the legal profession and there is a lovely story about F E Smith, as Birkenhead then was, addressing a rather dim judge in court who told him: I’ve listened to you for an hour and I’m none wiser.
Smith: None the wiser, perhaps, my lord but certainly better informed.

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