OrnaVerum
v 5.10.00
6 Oct 2018
updated 17 Nov 2019

David Leonard Craig
(30 May 1914 – 11 Oct 1996)

It has taken a number of years to dig down to this level of immediacy, and some of my earlier research appears to have gone AWOL – but it's freshly re-researched and is definitely the Babe Ruth as of now (Feb 2018). You might well wonder what was the motivation, but as nearly always it was, and is, after a family trauma, my deep-seated need to discover what really happened before, during and after my Aunt Frances (Waddell) went out to Italy as Nanny to a British family bereft of a mother following a hideous car-crash$ in 1956.

Not strictly-speaking beautiful, but utterly enchanting, and with a slightly detached and other-worldly aspect, as though attuned to the horns of elf-land, a sparkling (and slightly toothy) smile and reassuringly schoolboyish turn of phrase ("Not so dusty" was her term of high praise, and "Juggins" was her verdict on someone falling short of her high standards of conduct or common sense), it was perhaps inevitable that her new employer would rather quickly fall in love with her (as of course I had as a small nephew, and as her young charges had immediately done in lieu of their mother). She was pure magic, and her cooking was reputedly sublime.

So, after a decent interval, he proposed to her. He was a good-looking and highly successful executive and man of the world, honourable, with a ready-made family who had fully accepted her into their hearts, wot was not to like? She must have had any number of previous proposals and cannot have been surprised by his initiative. And after all, she was by then past her mid-thirties and it was surely time to commit – especially as she had already mastered Italian as well as French, and would have moved easily into the cosmopolitan world that Craig inhabited.

But she bolted back to England, and eventually married a Murdstone, a divorcé, a retired director of a minor manufacturer of fire-extinguishers, smug and oleaginous. Le cœur a ses raisons que la raison ne connaît point.

The dates given in the table below are from a composite of sources, particularly a very fuzzy internet photograph taken of a gravestone in the Protestant Cemetery in Rome and some judicious googling. Italicised ones are those I can't independently verify. The essential truths of the family relationships involved are independent of the details, however.

#IndividualSpouse / PartnerFamily
‑2David Lewers Craig
(b 16 Aug 1874)

Dublin
Gisella Fadin
(11 Apr 1881 –
20 Dec 1957)
(m 1913)

travel writer
3 sons including

David Leonard Craig
(30 May 1914, Rome –
11 Oct 1996, London)

George Donald Craig
(1 Jul 1923 –
20 Jun 1951)
‑1David Leonard Craig
(30 May 1914, Rome –
11 Oct 1996, London)

a very well-regarded and highly successful executive with airlines BEA, BOAC etc
Elizabeth (Betty) Marion Richmond
(25 May 1917, Canterbury –
10 Apr 1956, Poliono)

killed in, or not long surviving, a car-crash on a journey from Rome to Venice
3 daughters including

Susan Craig

Valerie Anne Gisella Craig
(18 Jan 1949 –
15 Jul 1949)
Virginia (née Bell) Clarke
(9 Jan 1917 –
22 Sep 2017)
(m 1960 –
1962)
 

It isn't hard to notice the striking resonances between Frances and Virginia, as witness the photographs below. But although Frances was, admittedly, emotionally evasive, it is hard to discern any real emotions whatsoever in Virginia, who seems to have existed in a world of icy Platonic perfection, though sugar-candied by its dreamlike PreRaphaelite colouration. And, worse still, she couldn't cook and detested children.

However, the marriage to Virginia was over in just two years. I do hope that Craig eventually achieved a third marriage to a warm, emotionally-responsive woman with a perfect profile such as those of Frances and Virginia!



Frances


Virginia

Despite these private turmoils, Craig's career went from strength to strength

  • Senior General Manager of BOAC (1964)
  • Managing Director of Malaysia-Singapore Airlines (1969)
S In 1956, as one of the tasks expected of an ambassador's wife, Virginia visited a severely injured British national in hospital. David Craig's story was tragic. As general manager in Italy for the BEA airline, he had been driving from Rome to Venice on business when his car crashed, killing his wife and leaving him with appalling injuries. Their ensuing affair ended Virginia's 23-year marriage to Clarke. After their divorce in 1960 Virginia was ostracised by Clarke's family and shunned in diplomatic circles, except for [a few] loyal friends .... [But] her marriage to Craig lasted only two years.

(extract from Guardian obituary of Virginia Surtees)