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William CRAWFORD of Downpatrick, late 91st Highlanders who died on the 8th July 1911 aged 75. Erected by his regiment. This memorial is in Down Cathedral, Downpatrick, County Down, Northern Ireland.

Updated. 26th August 2015

In 1911 he was an inmate in Downpatrick Workhouse aged 77, (which may be wrong) former soldier, single and senile. He lived at Kilkeel, County Down which is not to far from Downpatrick. 1901 census shows a William Crawford in Kilkeel along with Mary Jane who is described as his mother she is aged 70 and William aged 44 described as a farmers son. No other William is listed for Kilkeel, it could could be his his sister-in-law.

Alf can you help Jim with this
received via email today

Folks! The entry for "William Crawford of Downpatrick Late 91st Highlanders Who Died on 8th July 1911 Aged 75 Years" could literally be the answer to more than 30 years of searching by some very committed genealogists in Canada. William Henry Crawford was my great-great grandfather. We have his date of birth as 1834 (not 1836). He was married to one Honora Carroll. He served in the 91st (from 1852-62), in the 18th Royal Irish (1862-5), and finally in the 102nd Foot (1865-1873). The latter two postings were in India. Our WHC and his family emigrated to Canada in 1885. He vanishes from the scene in the mid-1890's, with lots of stories about what happened to him. He enrolled in Belfast in 1852 and we have photocopies of his enrolment papers.

Could you folks connect me with whomever may have arranged for this plaque at the Downpatrick Cathedral? Thanks. Jim
More from Jim (Thanks Jim)

I forgot to give you one piece of info that could really help out in any searches for the elusive WHC...his regimental numbers: while with the 91st it was #3305; while with the 18th, #982; and while with the 102nd it was #5060.
I have gone onto a County Down Forum looking for information. Lets hope some one can help. As for who arranged to have the memorial put into the cathedral it will be a very long shot if any record was kept.
This a link to the cathedral, http://www.downcathedral.org/
Thanks fellows. Best tips we've had in decades. The 77 in 1911 would work out perfectly as WHC indicated a dob of 1834 when he enlisted. The sad side of the tale is that he allegedly abandoned his family in Toronto. His wife reports herself as a widow in 1897. The family legend was that he returned home to collect an inheritance, and died in the process. Jim
I wonder why he has a memorial tablet dedicated to him in Down Cathedral, when he was well and truly not a soldier. I can not find anything about him, as to what rank he held.
Alf: No question he really was a soldier. We have army documents showing postings with the 91st (mainly in Athens, and the Ionian Islands, during the Crimean War), and later with the 18th and 102nd (mainly in India). He was discharged on pension in 1873. Let me add a bit more family legend. WHC and his bride (Honora Carroll) straddled the religious divide: he Protestant, she RC.. They were married in the garrison church (CofI) in Buttevant, Cork in 1863. By the time they get to Canada, they all appear as RCs in the censuses. The family legend has it that he returned to Ireland to receive an inheritance from which he'd been cut off for marrying an RC.. No proof on this, just family legend (and it is often wrong). Not sure if this helps, but it sure makes the quest more interesting.

Questions for you: (1) which County Down Forum did you access? (2) how did you get the information about the Downpatrick workhouse (is there a website?)?

Thanks, pal for far more help than I could have expected.

Hi Jim
I found it by luck on the Irish 1911 Census, the link below should work. He is W.C. soldier


As the William not being a soldier. What I meant to say, when he died aged 77 he was not a serving soldier and I wonder why his old regiment saw it fit the erect a memorial tablet to him. When I return back to Northern Ireland I will try and find out, and also look for his grave.


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