Aidan Crawley


Aidan Merivale Crawley MBE (10 April 1908 – 3 November 1993)[1] was a British journalist, television executive and editor, and politician. He was a member of both of Britain's major political parties: the Labour Party and Conservative Party, and was elected to the House of Commons as a Labour MP from 1945 to 1951, and as a Conservative MP from 1962 to 1967.

Aidan Crawley
Member of Parliament
for West Derbyshire
In office
6 June 1962 – 25 October 1967
Preceded byEdward Wakefield
Succeeded byJames Scott-Hopkins
Member of Parliament
for Buckingham
In office
5 July 1945 – 5 October 1951
Preceded byLionel Berry
Succeeded byFrank Markham
Personal details
Aidan Merivale Crawley

(1908-04-10)10 April 1908
Benenden, Kent, England
Died3 November 1993(1993-11-03) (aged 85)
Banbury, Oxfordshire, England
Political partyLabour (until 1957)
(m. 1945; died 1983)
EducationHarrow School
Alma materTrinity College, Oxford

Education edit

Crawley was educated at Harrow School and Trinity College, Oxford.[2] He played cricket for both Harrow and for Oxford University Cricket Club. He scored 87 in the 1926 Eton v Harrow match at Lord's, an innings which Wisden described as "widely regarded as the best innings in the match for many year", and he was described in the same publication as a "beautiful player".[3] In 1928 he set a new record for runs scored in a season for Oxford with 1,137 runs scored, and in 1929 scored 204 against Northamptonshire.[3]

Life and career edit

Crawley had a varied career, playing first-class cricket, serving in the armed forces, acting as a Member of Parliament for two political parties, making documentary films and serving as the first chairman of London Weekend Television.

Cricket career edit

Personal information
Full name
Aidan Merivale Crawley
BowlingRight arm medium
Domestic team information
1927–1930Oxford University
Career statistics
Competition First-class
Matches 87
Runs scored 5,061
Batting average 37.48
100s/50s 11/24
Top score 204
Balls bowled 949
Wickets 15
Bowling average 37.66
5 wickets in innings 0
10 wickets in match 0
Best bowling 2/40
Catches/stumpings 44/–
Source: CricInfo, 30 May 2016

Crawley made his first-class cricket debut in May 1927, playing for Oxford University against Harlequins.[4] Later the same year he made his County Championship debut for Kent County Cricket Club against Worcestershire as an amateur cricketer.[4] The bulk of Crawley's first-class cricket career was in the late 1920s and early 1930s. He made at least ten first-class appearances in each year between 1927 and 1932[5] and made a total of 87 first-class appearances, the majority during this period.[2] He played a total of 39 times for Oxford and 33 for Kent as well as eight times for Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) as well as making a few appearances for other teams such as the Free Foresters.[6]

He played only six more first-class matches after the end of the 1932 season, four of which took place after the Second World War whilst he was a sitting MP. He also made four Minor Counties Championship appearances for Buckinghamshire in 1948[7] and was president of MCC in 1972-73 and the chairman of the National Cricket Association for seven years, during which time he was one of the driving forces behind the establishment of the National Village Cricket Championship.[3]

Services career edit

He joined the Auxiliary Air Force in 1936, and was a trained fighter pilot at start of the Second World War. After serving on night patrols over the English Channel he was sent ostensibly as an assistant air attaché to Turkey in April 1940, cover for intelligence work in the Balkans in Yugoslavia and Bulgaria, being smuggled out of Sofia when the Germans invaded the latter country in March 1941. Subsequently, assigned to 73 Squadron in Egypt, he was shot down in July 1941 near besieged Tobruk and was taken prisoner of war. He remained in Germany, despite escape attempts, latterly at Stalag Luft III.[8]

Parliamentary career edit

Crawley was Labour Member of Parliament for Buckingham from 1945 to 1951, when he lost to the Conservative candidate Frank Markham, himself an ex-Labour MP. He was Under-Secretary of State for Air in Clement Attlee's Labour Government. Having left the Labour Party in 1957,[8] in 1962, he was elected to Parliament as a Conservative, winning the by-election in West Derbyshire. He held the seat through two general elections,[9] before resigning in 1967 to become Chairman of London Weekend Television where he remained until 1973.

Media career edit

In 1955, he was the first editor-in-chief of Independent Television News and was responsible for introducing American-style newscasters to British media and pledged to transform television's attitudes to politicians.[10] He left ITN after a row when the company tried to trim down the news operations and rejoined the BBC.[11]

Crawley wrote several books, including biographies of Konrad Adenauer and Charles De Gaulle.

  • De Gaulle: A Biography (London: Collins, 1969)
  • Escape from Germany 1939-1945
  • Spoils of the War: The Rise of Western Germany 1945-1972
  • Patterns of Government in Africa
  • Leap before you look: a memoir, 1988.

Family edit

Crawley was the second son of the Rev. (Arthur) Stafford Crawley, Canon of Windsor, and the former Anstice Katherine Gibbs (usually known as Nancy),[12] sixth of the ten children of Antony and Janet Gibbs of Tyntesfield, Somerset. His paternal grandfather was George Baden Crawley (1833–1879), a successful railway contractor[13] and his wife Inez.

Stafford Crawley was the brother-in-law of the Earl of Cavan and Crawley's mother was related to the Lords Wraxall, of Tyntesfield and the Lords Aldenham and Hunsdon. Stafford Crawley was chaplain to the Archbishop of York at Bishopthorpe and later Canon of St George's Chapel, Windsor. The Crawleys had three sons and two daughters, of whom Aidan was the middle son. A daughter Anstice, Lady Goodman (see below), was also prominent in public life.[14]

Marriage and issue edit

In 1945, he married the sometime war correspondent Virginia Cowles (24 August 1910 – 6 September 1983),[15][16] daughter of the controversial[17] society doctor Edward Spencer Cowles MD,[18] with whom he had 3 children.

Crawley suffered several tragedies. His wife died in 1983 in a road accident near Biarritz in France. Five years later, he lost both his sons in a plane crash whilst they were travelling together to their sister's 40th birthday party, leaving young children and widows who were seven months pregnant.[19] He then lost heavily in the Lloyd's crash and at the time of his death, Crawley was virtually penniless.[20]

He was survived by his daughter Harriet, his two widowed daughters-in-law and six grandchildren:

Notable relatives edit

  • Crawley's sister was Anstice, Lady Goodman (7 December 1911 – 4 January 2001), whose marriage to Sir Victor Goodman was childless.[30]
  • Crawley's niece Penelope Anstice Crawley (b. 1950) married 1971 Lord Guernsey, now 12th Earl of Aylesford (b. 1947), the heir to the 11th Earl of Aylesford and has issue, including one son. Her husband succeeded to the earldom on 12 February 2008, and her son is now styled Lord Guernsey. This is not the first notable marriage for a Crawley female; her great-aunt Caroline Inez Crawley (d. 1920, without issue) was first wife of Field Marshal the 10th Earl of Cavan.
  • An ancestress Matilda Crawley-Boevey (1817–1877), of the Crawley-Boevey baronets married William Gibbs of Tyntesfield and Clyst St. George, and had issue, seven children, of whom four are listed in the Plantagenet Roll.[31] Her granddaughter Anstice Katharine Gibbs married a Crawley cousin (Arthur Stafford Crawley) in 1903, and was mother of Aidan Merivale Crawley. Anstice's brother was 1st Baron Wraxall, while close relatives patrilineally were the Lords Aldenham and Hunsdon (now united as of 1939).

Notes edit

  1. ^ Aidan Merivale Crawley entry in Cricinfo database online "Spencer Henry Crawley". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 1 August 2012..
  2. ^ a b Aidan Crawley – player profile, CricketArchive. Retrieved 2017-02-13.
  3. ^ a b c Crawley, Aiden Merivale – Obituary, Wisden's Cricketers' Almanack, 1994. Retrieved 2017-02-13.
  4. ^ a b First-class matches played by Aidan Crawley, CricketArchive. Retrieved 2017-02-13.
  5. ^ First-class batting and fielding by Aidan Crawley in each season, CricketArchive. Retrieved 2017-02-13.
  6. ^ First-class batting and fielding for each team by Aidan Crawley, CricketArchive. Retrieved 2017-02-13.
  7. ^ Minor counties championship matches played by Aidan Crawley, CricketArchive. Retrieved 2017-02-13.
  8. ^ a b Bishop, Edward (2002). The Daily Telegraph Book of Airmen's Obituaries. Grub Street. pp. 269–270. ISBN 1-902304-99-3.
  9. ^ Phillip Whitehead obituary in The Independent notes that he was defeated by the former Labourite, now Conservative, Aidan Crawley in 1966. "Whitehead's first attempt at Parliament was in the 1966 general election when as vice-chairman of the Young Fabian Group he was selected to take on Aidan Crawley in West Derbyshire. It was a particularly acrimonious campaign. Crawley was well known on the television screen and had been a much-favoured young minister in the Attlee government when he was a Labour MP for Buckingham, 1945-51, as Under-Secretary for Air. In 1957 he had resigned from the Labour Party and had been adopted as Conservative candidate in 1959. Crawley won by 18,383 votes to Whitehead's 13,791 with Mrs M.V. Edwards for the Liberals gaining 4,874." (Dalyell, Tam (3 January 2006). "Obituary: Phillip Whitehead: Television producer who made an effective second career as Labour MP and MEP". The Independent. Archived from the original on 24 February 2014. Retrieved 1 August 2012.).
  10. ^ "Boring old blokes on TV – an A to Z: The changing culture of the political interview". The Guardian. 11 November 2000. Archived from the original on 20 February 2006.; "A Brief History of Broadcast Journalism: The Early Years Archived 27 August 2007 at the Wayback Machine", retrieved 18 September 2007 .
  11. ^ Aidan Crawley profile. "He appeared on 'In the News' and 'Viewfinder' on BBC, and became Independent Television News's first editor-in-chief, but later rejoined the BBC. "Radio and Television Personalities C". Retrieved 1 August 2012.. See also "Prominent People in British Television 1950-59". Retrieved 18 September 2007.
  12. ^ Lundy, Darryl. "Anstice Katherine Gibbs". The Peerage.[unreliable source]
  13. ^ He was descended from the younger brother of Sir Thomas Crawley-Boevey, 2nd Baronet (1744-1818), who inherited 1789 by special remainder as husband of the granddaughter of the first Baronet's brother, a rare remainder. The Crawley family itself was landed. The name of Crawley-Boevey dates to 1726, when the 2nd Baronet's grandfather Thomas Crawley (1709-1769) inherited Flaxley Abbey and changed his name from Crawley to Crawley-Boevey. However, the junior branches of his descendants used the name of Crawley alone.
  14. ^ Roberts, S (November 1996). "Summary report on the papers of Arthur Stafford Crawley (1876-1948), canon of Windsor and Anstice Katharine Crawley (1881-1963) in the muniments of St George's Chapel, Windsor (reference: GB-0260-M.126)". Historical Manuscripts Commission. UK National Archives. Retrieved 1 August 2012..
  15. ^ "Virginia Cowles b. 24 August 1910, d. 16 September 1983" The Peerage database, last edited 31 January 2005. Lundy, Darryl. "Virginia Cowles". The Peerage.[unreliable source], retrieved 18 September 2007; Also see Dixon, Ann Davenport (2004). "Cowles, (Harriet) Virginia Spencer (1910–1983)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/51487. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  16. ^ Virginia Cowles
  17. ^ "Body & Mind Raid" Time magazine, 4 May 1942. In 1941, he was Director of the Park Avenue Hospital, New York; Director of the Body and Mind Foundation and of the Body and Mind Clinic, New York; Staff Physician and Psychiatrist to the Bloodgood Foundation, Johns Hopkins University; Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Source: Amazon.
  18. ^ Dr Cowles was a cousin of Rear-Admiral William Sheffield Cowles (d. 1923), himself married to Anna Roosevelt (d. 1931), sister of President Theodore Roosevelt. Edward Spencer Cowles and his first wife Florence Wolcott Jacquith had at least one other daughter Mary Howard Cowles whose husband Captain Willard Reed Jr, US Marine Corps, was killed in action in 1942. He later married 1928 Nona Hazelhurst McAdoo,
  19. ^ "After the flood: England witness a triumph of the spirit in Sri Lanka" The Independent, 18 December 2007. Retrieved 10 December 2008.
  20. ^ Harriet Crawley loses her husband Julian Ayer, adoptive son of the philosopher Freddie Ayer, in the 2004 tsunami. (Telegraph staff (31 December 2004). "Ayer's adopted son dies". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 1 August 2012.)
  21. ^ Lundy, Darryl. "Andrew Crawley". The Peerage.[unreliable source] says 11 September, other sources, notably the Harrow page, say 10 September. Retrieved 10 December 1988.
  22. ^ Andrew. Retrieved 10 December 2008. His wife's name is obtained from Lundy, Darryl. "Andrew Crawley". The Peerage.[unreliable source].
  23. ^ Lundy, Darryl. "Randall Crawley". The Peerage.[unreliable source] Retrieved 10 December 1988.
  24. ^ "Randall Crawley". Harrow Association. 15 June 2012. Retrieved 10 December 2008..
  25. ^ Lundy, Darryl. "Julian Ayer". The Peerage.[unreliable source]
  26. ^ "Spencer Henry Crawley". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 1 August 2012.
  27. ^ Harriet Crawley speaks about the Crawley Gap Year Scholarships in memory of her brothers ("The Crawley Gap Year Scholarship". The Harrow Association. Retrieved 1 August 2012.).
  28. ^ Telegraph staff (31 December 2004). "Ayer's adopted son dies". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 1 August 2012.
  29. ^ Spencer Crawley's father is allegedly Douglas Percy Codrington Nation (1942-2001), father of Tanya Marie Nation, now married to the Marquess of Hamilton. Hamilton is the nephew of Harriet's sister-in-law Marita Crawley, nee Phillips.
  30. ^ Anonymous. "Lady Goodman[dead link] The Daily Telegraph. 30 January 2001. Retrieved 18 September 2007. Her husband Sir Victor Goodman Archived 24 November 2007 at the Wayback Machine (d. 29 September 1967), of the Goodman family Archived 10 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine was first husband of Julian Morrell, daughter of Philip Morrell and Lady Ottoline Morrell, by whom he had issue
  31. ^ Marquis de Ruvigny de Raineval et al.Plantagenet Roll: Clarence Volume p. 150. Originally published: London : T.C. & E.C. Jack, 1905. Reprinted by Genealogical Publishing Com, 1994. Retrieved 10 December 2008

References edit

  • Daily Telegraph, 14/06/67
  • Parris, Matthew. "Crawley, Aidan Merivale (1908–1993)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/51810. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  • Dixon, Ann Davenport (2004). "Cowles, (Harriet) Virginia Spencer (1910–1983)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/51487. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  • Photograph of Aidan Crawley down the page.
  • Virginia Cowles, German Wikipedia (in German).
  • Leigh Rayment's Peerage Pages [self-published source][better source needed]
  • Aidan Crawley from CricketArchive
  • "After the flood: England witness a triumph of the spirit in Sri Lanka" The Independent, 18 December 2007. Describes Harriet Ayer's efforts to build a memorial to her husband, and relates some of the family tragedies.

External links edit

  • Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Aidan Crawley
  • Crawley ancestry can be found at the following sources:
    • the Plantagenet Roll: Clarence Volume
    • the 1895 issue of Debrett's Peerage (archived online).
    • Descendants of the Conqueror: Clarence 25. This shows all the descendants of the Crawley-Boevey baronets, starting with the 2nd Baronet and his brothers. Retrieved 10 December 2008.
  • Rev. Arthur Stafford Crawley (1876-1948), Canon of Windsor, information in the National Archives.

Further reading edit

Aidan Crawley. Leap before you look: a memoir, (HarperCollins Publishers Ltd, 7 April 1988)

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Buckingham
Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of Parliament for West Derbyshire
Succeeded by