Obituaries 2022

The Regimental Association is here to promote the welfare of all veterans of the Regiment. We help to arrange assistance where necessary, to veterans of the Regiment, or to their spouses, widows, widowers, civil partners or children, giving particular consideration to members of the Association, or their dependents.

Major Charles Michael Crawford Crowe MBE

A&SH, Seaforth & QOHldr

Mike was born on 23 April 1931 and died on 16 January aged 90 years.

Mike’s father, a doctor, served in the Black Watch in the Great War. So it was no surprise when eighteen-year-old Mike Crowe joined the Army in 1949, he chose to be a Highlander. He attended Eaton Hall Officer Cadet School and was given a National Service commission into the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders in early 1950. His first posting was a Training Platoon Commander at the Highland Brigade Training Centre, Fort George. In Sept 1951, he was detached to 7 A&SH as a Platoon Commander in Stirling. Promoted to Lieutenant in May 52, he returned to Fort George before joining A Company, 1 A&SH at Christmas of that year.

On arrival, his Commanding Officer informed him that the Black Watch were running low on platoon commanders in Korea. As a result, Mike and one other would be joining 1 BW on active service with immediate effect. An operational tour in Korea followed from Feb to Sept 53 and he remained with the Black Watch for their transfer to Kenya for the Mau Mau campaign.

Now an acting Captain, he became the Military Transport Officer (MTO) for HQ 39 Infantry Bde in Kenya until May 54, had a spell at the BW Depot in Perth before returning to Kenya as MTO 1 BW, (still not having learned to drive). In Apr 55 he was granted a regular commission in 1 Seaforth’s as Assistant Adjutant/Intelligence Officer. 1 Seaforth’s were just starting their tour in Egypt and Aden. He joined the Seaforth’s in Dec 55, from the Black Watch troopship in Port Said. John Whitelaw, expecting to collect all Black Watch Officers for lunch, returned with just Crowe to Tel-el-Kebir.

Mike joined Support Company, with fellow Captains Whitelaw, MacLaren and Neil under command of Major Ted Toms. Commanding the MMG Platoon, he served in Gibraltar and Munster (West Germany). A substantive Captain in May 58 he became 2 i/c B Company in Munster, through the move to Edinburgh and the amalgamation in Feb 61.

In the newly formed regiment, Mike was 2 i/c and then OC A Company, 1 Queen’s Own Highlanders (Seaforth & Camerons) (1 QOHldrs) in Edinburgh and Singapore. In May 62 Mike had his first posting to Bridge of Don as OC Training Company. Promoted to Major (Apr 65) he saw two years of active service on the staff at HQ Aden Brigade (Aden/Radfan). In Jan 66 he took command of C Company, 1 QOHldrs in Berlin and Sharjah. Choosing to remain with 1 QOHldrs in Osnabruck and Edinburgh, he took on the role as Unit Families Officer until May 72.

His 6 year spell with the Battalion ended when he was posted as DAQMG Accommodation 1, at HQ BAOR in Rheindahlen (West Germany) until May 75. It was followed by a move to the MOD as GSO 2, 1E (A)3. Hell bent on returning to Regimental Duty, he rejoined the QOHldrs as OC HQ Company, serving in a legendary capacity in Kirknewton, Northern Ireland, Hong Kong, Tidworth and the Falkland Islands from Oct 77 to Jul 83 when he ended his regimental service.

Mike moved to Bielefeld (West Germany) as OC HQ Company HQ 1 (BR) Corps, then to HQ 52 Lowland Bde in Edinburgh, before completing two years at Bridge of Don as OC HQ Company. It was here that he struck up his lasting friendship with Sir Alex Ferguson, then manager at Aberdeen. Mike’s final five months of his 37 year service was as Deputy Chief of Staff with HQ Highland Bde in Perth. Mike retired on 11 Oct 1986.

As a retired officer (RO) he joined the Inspectorate of Establishments, auditing military units, whilst retaining a close connection to his first joy – Football. Mike’s love of sport was never as evident as in the devotion he gave to football.  His dedication brought success especially to 1 QOHldrs who were Infantry Challenge Cup winners in 1969. Being one of Mike’s footballers conferred a privileged status on Jocks within the Battalion.

Mike managed the BAOR Football Team from 1971 – 75. Every week he could be heard giving the football results on BFBS from Cologne. He sat on the Council of the Scottish Football Association from 1984-94 becoming a Long Service Member of the SFA. As Secretary of Infantry Football from 1988 to 96 he was delighted when the Infantry won the Inter-Corps Football League Competition (Massey Trophy) in 1996. He was appointed Honorary Vice President of The Army Football Association in 2002 for his services to the game over 34 years. He was awarded the MBE for services to Army Football in The Queen’s Birthday Honour List 1982. He continued into retirement, attending the Army Football offices in Aldershot every day until disability stopped him in 2018 at the age of 86.

All ranks of the Queen’s Own Highlanders (and their families), across many generations, regarded Mike as their paternal golden thread running through our regimental service. Mike never married but he never wanted for family. He knew the names, birthdays and history of every member of the battalion. He was a source of wisdom to his fellow officers and an encouraging word of advice to junior officers and young NCOs alike. It is fitting that his last phone call was with his old batman and regimental footballer, ‘Dinger’ Bell. He loved the Regiment as his family and the Regiment loved him like a father. He will be remembered.