Updated: 21/04/17 : 05:27:18
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Yeats Society ex boss Aleck Crichton has died, aged 98

YEATS SOCIETY former President Aleck Crichton has died peacefully at his home in Beltra, Co Sligo, aged 98.

Tributes to his memory have been paid by current President Martin Enright on behalf of the Yeats Society's council and members.

''It is with deep sadness that we received the news of the passing of our dear friend, benefactor and past President,'' said the tribute.

''We send our condolences to his extended family,'' added the statement.

Mr Crichton's parents often had WB Yeats at their home in Dublin's Fitzwilliam Square for tea.

"I would play tag with his children on the square and we were always getting into trouble," he recalled two years ago.

"I don't remember him ever actually talking to us but he didn't ignore us either.

A doctor's son with a family tradition in medicine going back to Sir Alexander Crichton, a pioneer in psychiatry who, around 1800, was Physician in Ordinary to the Emperor of Russia. But, as the only surviving grandson of the Right Honourable Andrew Jameson, head of the famous Jameson whiskey firm, he was marked out to manage the family business in Smithfield, Dublin.

Like his grandfather, he was on the court of the Bank of Ireland. The governorship then rotated among its members and he served his two-year term between 1962 and 1964.

His two main interests were the piano and rock climbing. On retirement he devoted himself to sheep farming at Carrowgarry, a family property near Beltra.  He was chairman of a Foundation for Sligo Hospital and has promoted chamber music locally.

Born in May 1918, Aleck Crichton grew up in Ireland, although he was educated in England at Uppingham School and then Cambridge. After graduation, he joined the family firm, John Jameson and Sons.

World War ll

Because he was Irish, he was not obliged to enlist in the army after World War ll broke out in 1939, but he nonetheless volunteered and joined the 2nd Battalion, Irish Guards, aged just 21. He eventually became an acting Lieutenant Colonel, and held the post of Adjutant when the D-Day landings took place.

The Irish Guards landed in northern France, following up the initial landings on Gold Beach. His tank regiment was involved in fierce fighting in the region’s infamous bocage, and Aleck himself was badly wounded in August 1944.

As an armoured regiment, the Irish Guards were part of a second wave of British forces which followed up the initial infantry assault against the German defences on the Normandy coast. In the days and weeks that followed, however, his unit was involved in heavy fighting as the Allies became bogged down in the bocage around Caen. On August 4, Aleck was wounded and treated under fire when he was hit by mortar fire.

Mr Crichton will repose at his home in Carrowgarry, Beltra today, Friday from 3pm to 8pm, funeral service on Saturday 22nd April in Christ Church, Dromard, at 2pm, followed by burial in adjoining graveyard.