Author(s): Crawford, Harry,
Binding: Hardback,
Date of Publication: 13/05/2020,
Pagination: 168 pages, Illustrated in black and white,
Series: N/A,
Imprint: Ryelands Publishing,
Published By: Halsgrove,
Book Classification: Memoirs, Military history
ISBN13\EAN\SKU: 9781906551476


Born into a professional Ulster family – the son of an engineer who became a decorated army officer – Harry Crawford could have pursued many careers. In the event he became a soldier. As he says, “The decision to write my autobiography arose from my wish to record the facts and my thoughts about my upbringing, my school days, joining the Army, the places I had been during my career in the Army, and the various occupations following retirement from military service.

The title Never Look Back stems from lots of the many paths I did or could have taken and that occurred along the way, some of them good, others less so.”

As was the case for most families, the Second World War changed things hugely for the Crawford family. Henry Crawford Senior’s service through Dunkirk, North Africa (First Army), and Italy saw him decorated for bravery by both the British government and the American administration but ended with devastating wounds, many years in hospitals, and confinement to bed for the last years of his long life.

Harry joining the Indian Army from school was quite accidental, reflecting a total absence of career planning, a failure on the part of his school to prepare him for entrance to university and to encourage some vision of a future.

None of this would have happened had he been able to benefit from his father’s influence. He had intended that Harry should read medicine at the University from which he had graduated as a civil engineer. That possibility foundered as a consequence of the war.

In the event Harry’s career in the Army turned out to be successful and enjoyable with varied employment affording world-wide travel to some unusual and interesting places.

In early retirement a variety of occupations relying on administrative and financial procedures learnt while in the Army provided a welcome extension of employment. Fully retired and moving to Exmoor with his wife Sue, Harry became fully immersed in local life, developing an interest in ‘hobby’ farming while breeding British native ponies and black Welsh mountain sheep, and for a time becoming the leading spokesman of Exmoor Tourism.

These were the circumstances in which Harry grew up and eventually prospered, and which colour the pages of this supremely evocative memoir.

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