Andy Hain Crawford was born in
Falkland, Fife, in 1919. He grew up working on farms around the middle of
Fife. He was one of a large family who remain today, as they were then,
very close to each other. Andy married Elizabeth Cairncross, from Newburgh
in 1940. During WW11 he served as a sergeant with the Argyll and
Sutherland Highlanders. He saw action in the Middle East, Africa [ El Alemein], and Italy. 1939 - 45. Andy
joined the A.A. in 1950, and
initially, patrolled central Fife, then as an A.A. [Automobile
Association] sergeant, in the Borders, before moving to Maybole.
On promotion in 1953 to A.A.
Inspector, for Ayrshire and Galloway, Andy moved his family to Kirkoswald
Road, Maybole. The family then consisted of wife Elizabeth, sons, Andrew,
Alistair, Kenneth and David [daughter Sheila was born in 1957]. Andy
became a familiar sight in Maybole, riding his A. A. motorbike and
sidecar, His bike then was a B.S.A. 500cc. machine. He used four
motorbikes over a ten year period, the last bike he had was a Triumph twin
engined 750cc. Andy was soon well known to everyone in Maybole, and the
surrounding areas, as, ' The A. A. Man'.
For many years Andy patrolled
Ayrshire and Galloway on his motorbike, in the rain, the snow, the sun,
and then more rain and snow! He must have repaired thousands of cars and
motorbikes throughout this time. Andy set up A.A. telephone boxes around
his area of control. Every boy who ever joined in the 1950s Sunday exodus
from Maybole, to the shores of Maybole and Croy will remember the black
and gold coloured A.A. boxes at Pennyglen and the Electric Brae. Andy
Crawford was instrumental in setting up the A.A. Patrol Service Centre on
the Ayr by-pass. Sadly, all of these landmarks are now gone and part of
history. Andy served the Ayrshire community well, sometimes going beyond '
the call of duty'. He once saved an A.A. member's car from ruin at Ayr
shore, by swimming out to sea to attach a tow rope to rescue the car.
Again, during a terrible snow blizzard, in the Dalmellington area, he was
flagged down by a man whose pregnant wife was about to give birth. All the
phone lines were down and he needed an ambulance urgently to get his wife
to hospital. Andy drove up into the dangerous snow covered hill roads
above Dalmellington to make radio contact and thereby arrange for an
ambulance for the lady. Later that day she gave birth.[ where is the child
now ? he /she would be about 40 years old now.] [Both these rescues were
reported in the Ayrshire Post newspaper at the time].
Andy soon found the job meant being
on call 24 hours a day, or more particularly, Andy's wife Elizabeth did!
Andy's son, Kenneth, explains '' Our phone rang day and night. My Mum
became an unofficial, unpaid, employee of the A.A. She took down all the
calls for my Dad when he was out working. People phoned at all hours of
the day and night, seeking my Dad's help. He always went out and assisted
them. He never turned anyone away, whether they phoned or knocked the
door. He more than earned every one of his promotions, so did my Mum ! "
Andy met many famous people during
his A.A. service including meeting the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh on
several occasions. 1963 saw the famous motorbike and sidecar being
replaced by an A.A. mini-van. And not much later, the van was replaced, by
a Triumph Herald motorcar.
Andy was on a fast track of promotion
during the 60s. He was promoted from Inspector, Ayrshire and Galloway, to
Chief Inspector, West Scotland in 1963, then, in 1967 Chief Inspector, to
Superintendent, West Midlands. Andy moved his family to Birmingham in
1967, to take up his post as Superintendent. He was now the person in
charge of the whole of the West Midlands of England. As son Kenneth
remembers, " For my Dad it was the Pennyglen junction one day, to the
Spaghetti junction the next! Quite difference in traffic flow
numbers....... and scenery ! ".
After running the A.A. operations in
the West Midlands successfully for many years, and also, during this time,
having been a member of several high powered automobile committees, Andy
Crawford finally retired in 1982. He and Elizabeth moved back to Scotland
the same year. All his children soon followed him back home, with the
exception of David, who continues to live in the Wirrel, Liverpool. Andy
and Elizabeth celebrated 60 years of marriage in 2000. They both now live
peacefully in retirement, near Dunfermline. Andy and Elizabeth have
nothing but fond memories of their time in Maybole during the 1950s and
1960s, when he was known to everyone as ' The A A. Man'.
For a larger image of the photo above click here.)
It is my sad
duty to inform you that our father, Andrew Crawford, formerly of
Kirkoswald Road Maybole, known to many in Maybole during the 1950's
and 60's as ' The AA man ', passed away on Thursday 9th. March 2006.
His memory lives on through his wife Elizabeth, his son's Andrew,
Alistair, Kenneth, David, daughter Sheila, his 16 grandchildren and
6 great grandchildren. We appreciate the fact that our Dad had a
long and successful life and that the happiest of times were the
years the family spent in Maybole.
Crawford. Sent on behalf of the family.