Monday, October 25, 2010

Biography: James Calderwood Crawford





James "Jim" Crawford was born in Caldercroix Scotland in 1920 and died at the tragically young age of 47 in Toronto Ontario Canada. He was the youngest of two sons born to Donald Fraser Crawford and Margaret Calderwood. Donald was from Bonhill, where the Crawford family had lived for generations. Bonhill was a small town and parish in Dumbartonshire, on the outskirts of the City of Glasgow. 

Located in the upper reaches of the Vale of Leven, the town is situated on the River Leven across the Bonhill bridge from the town of Alexandria, near beautiful Loch Lomond. The roots of the town are ancient and Sir James Smollett, grandfather of novelist Tobias Smollett, was granted the lands of Bonhill in 1660. Famous as a textile town, well known for its bleaching and dying, it was also the site of the "Bawbee Bridge", and its equally famous halfpenny toll. In addition nine printworks were located within the Vale. Its population in 1880 was 2,940. The population of the town has grown significantly in the past 20 years due to the "Glasgow over spill project" and, sadly, most of the old village has been demolished to make way for a new road. Donald first moved to Caldercroix, where Jim was born and then moved the family from Scotland to Drummondville Quebec in 1930, when Jim was 10 years of age, and finally toToronto in 1932.

In his early 20's, Jim joined the Canadian Navy during WW II serving in Toronto, Dartmouth, Digby and in what was then the separate nation of Newfoundland. His father Donald passed away in 1940 while Jim was in away serving his country.

Here Jim is pictured in his hospital garb on service, likely, in Digby Nova Scotia where he served as an orderly. He also spent two years in Newfoundland. The smiles on everyone's face were likely due to James who was reknowned for his quick wit and engaging personality.

Following the war, Jim joined Brewers Retail in Toronto as a truck driver, working his way up to dispatcher. In the picture above he is checking his orders for the day's deliveries. His skill as "Skip" in the Brewers Retail Curling League led to him getting his picture on the cover of the company's magazine, "The Distributor".

He married Stuart Lindsay and raised his family in the Scarborough area. Involved with his church, Jim was a cub scout leader. Jim loved having a good time, dancing and playing cards. His other personal joys in life involved fishing, curling, bowling, golf and camping.

In the mid 1960's he took his family on a camping trip to the Maritimes to show them where he had been stationed during the war. Only a year later, he died of a massive heart attack, after a weeks vacation devoted to golf. An extremely well liked man, several hundred people attended his funeral. His older brother George had earlier passed away at a similarly young age, of a heart attack, as had their father before them.