IRELAND’S third oldest citizen and a man with strong Clare connections has been awarded a silver medal by the President of Ireland ahead of his 108th birthday next week.
Matthew Crowley, who is resident in Youghal, County Cork received his medal from President Michael D. Higgins, in anticipation of his 108th birthday on May 12. In keeping with Matthew’s generation, he also received a a congratulatory telegram.
Mathew Crowley was born In Askeaton, County Limerick in Ireland, the son of a Principal Lighthouse Keeper, James (Jimmie) Crowley, at Loop Head Lighthouse, County Clare.
Matthew’s wife of 62 years Matilda was born in Ballyvaughan, while his mother Amelia (Millie) Crowley (nee Colfer) was from Fethard-on-Sea, County Wexford.
Matthew was recruited from Ford Motor Company, Cork City, to Ford Motor Company, Dagenham, Essex, UK. With the advent of WWII, Ford Motor Company changed over to aircraft engines from automobile engines, and his subsequent designation was as an “essential worker” for the British War effort.
A WWII wartime member of the Gloucester City Council ARP at Gloucester Cathedral, England, UK, and a World War II RAF Typhoon and Hurricane assembly worker at Gloucester Aircraft Company (GAC), he was entering GAC the following shift during the period when a Messerschmitt-109 aircraft bombed the GAC car park causing a large loss of life of the female workforce emerging from their previous work shift.
He was later promoted to aircraft inspector at Sir George Dowty’s, Staverton, Gloucestershire, but with the introduction of the jet engine, he retired as the last Lighthouse Keeper Attendant with the Irish Lights at Minehead Lighthouse, Ring, Old Parish, County Waterford.
Matilda’s professional career was spent as a State Registered Nurse at the Gloucestershire Royal Infirmary, England, UK. They retired together to Youghal, County Cork, Ireland in 1986.