Treasure trove of memories

Lauren, David and Ciesha Crawford with their grandfather, John William Crawford's suitcase    RMGFH98

Lauren, David and Ciesha Crawford with their grandfather, John William Crawford’s suitcase RMGFH98

A LISNASKEA family grieving following the death of their beloved grandmother just last week, have found comfort through the discovery of treasured memories from an old military suitcase belonging to her late husband.

Eileen Crawford passed away on September 17, 2015 and in looking for old photographs granddaughter Lauren came across an old military issue suitcase in a cupboard at her house. The suitcase belonged to Eileen’s husband John William Crawford, a former navy man, who passed away on June 19, 2013.


“I can remember catching glimpses of his military issue suitcase in the cupboard when I was younger, explained Lauren. “I just assumed it was full of his uninteresting documents so never probed any further. While looking for old photos after my grandmother’s death last week we stumbled across the suitcase once again and decided to explore.

“It was the first time that any of the grandchildren, Ciesha, David and myself had seen inside and we were very intrigued at what we found. It gave us a wonderful insight into the earlier life of our grandfather that we all loved so dearly.

“When we opened it up we found many items and photographs that he had accumulated during his life in the navy – pictures of him as a 16 year old boy during training, pictures of the HMS Cockade crew enjoying the exotic bars and beaches of Asia, pictures of the traditional ‘equator line crossing ceremonies’, many foreign bank notes and coins, tickets to the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne and an early edition Polaroid camera which he used to document his travels.

“I remember my grandfather telling me many years ago that he had dyed it brown so that when he was travelling, he couldn’t be easily identified as being in the military. He would travel frequently from Portsmouth to London to visit my grandmother who was working there at the time. They met in Lisnaskea just before he left for the navy. They fell in love and he was never content being so far away from her and that’s part of the reason why he decided to cut short his naval career by buying himself out several years after joining and returning to Lisnaskea – so he could be with her.”

Like her grandfather before her Lauren, a student at Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh, has an interest in the military, joining  the Royal Air Force’s University Air Squadron as an Officer Cadet.

Lauren added: “The suitcase is full of wonderful memories from our grandfather’s earlier days and is something that his grandchildren will treasure forever.”

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