Friday, 16 January 2009

Frank Cruwys the royal tailor

The Cruwys genealogy group on Facebook has been very active over Christmas and I was very pleased to make contact with some newly found relatives who are all descendants of my great-uncle Frank Cruwys. Frank was born on 22nd March 1882 at 62 Lower Ashley Road in Ashley, Bristol. He married Elizabeth Seymour in 1908 and they had four children: Francis Seymour (born 1909), Richard Augustus (born 1910), Frederick "John" (born 1913), and Andrée (born 1918). The three eldest children were born in England, but Andrée was born in France. Francis, the eldest, died as a baby of scarlet fever. Frank and his family moved to France during World War I, and Frank set up in business as a tailor in Paris. He is reputed to have held three royal licences for the Duke of Windsor (Edward VIII), the Duke of Luxembourg and the Japanese Imperial Court. The photograph below shows Frank and his daughter Andrée on holiday in France in about 1924, and already looking very French.Further family photographs can be seen on Facebook in the Cruwys genealogy group. (You will need to set up an account in order to view the photos.) During World War II, probably in about 1940, Frank and the family returned to England. We have an old newspaper cutting from a local Gloucestershire newspaper recording the story of their dramatic escape:
Escaped from France

Among the visitors to Cheltenham in the past few days is Mr. Frank Cruwys, whose tailoring establishment has been one of the best known in Paris since he started it there nearly 30 years ago.

In spite of his 60 years he joined up at the outbreak of the war as an interpreter with the R.A.F. He stayed in Paris until the Germans were actually thundering up the streets and then made a dash for Nantes with his wife and 22-years-old daughter. Later on they got to England in an R.A.F. machine.

Since his return to this country Mr. Cruwys has been spending a few days in Cheltenham with his brother, Mr. H. F. Cruwys, of 238 Gloucester-road, who recently took over the business of W. Thomas at Montpellier.
During the war Frank, Richard, John and Andrée all worked at RAF Innsworth as interpreters. After the war they returned to France. Frank died in 1953 in Paris.

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