Pseudonym PAUL CRUM
Service number 120922
Born: November 25th 1906
Died: August 19th 1942
Roger was the elder son of Charles Pettiward and his wife, Eliza Mary Gamlen who married in 1904. He was born at Finborough Hall, Stowmarket and had a younger brother and two sisters. In 1911, the Pettiwards employed eleven indoor staff.
On his fourth birthday, the Scouts lit a bonfire in the grounds and Roger came out of the house to thank them. The Scouts were, then, given tea in the servants’ quarters.
On his twenty-first birthday, there were celebrations in the village hall [Pettiward Hall] attended by most of the village. He was presented with a gold watch and cigarette case from the parishioners.
Roger was educated at Eton and matriculated in 1925. He read Agriculture and graduated in 1929. He went on to study art for a year at the Vienna State Academy and the Munich State Academy from 1929 to 1930. He studied at the Slade from 1930 until 1932.
On June 18th 1932, Roger sailed on the Andalucia Star to Rio de Janeiro with the expedition organised by Peter Fleming, ostensibly to search for the British explorer, Percy Harrison Fawcett, who had disappeared in the Brazilian jungle in 1925. In addition to Roger, the party consisted of Paul Robert Churchyard aged 25, Paul Churchyard 74, Noel Edward Vere Skeffington Smyth, 24, Walter C. Blunt- Mackenzie, 26 all giving their residence as The Cavendish Hotel, and W. Robert Peter Fleming aged 25 living at 118 Cheyne Walk. None of them had any occupation. With them was Arthur Charles Humphries a 34-year-old chauffeur from Staffordshire. They all travelled First Class. Following the expedition, Fleming wrote “Brazilian Adventure”
Charles Pettiward died in 1933 and Roger inherited the estate which was sold in 1935.
Roger married Diana Berners-Wilson in the summer of 1935. They spent their honeymoon in North America. Leaving England on July 1st for St. John’s Newfoundland, they returned to Southampton from New York, on September 16th.
They lived at 10, High Street, Highgate, N6. Their son was born in 1936 at Great Finborough, Stowmarket.
In 1938, Roger commissioned Tayler and Green to design a house in Highgate. The three-storeyed, open-plan house was Tayler & Green's first work. Sophisticated as a first work, it was one of the first houses to react against concrete construction in favour of a mature modernism. With its strip windows and circular staircase drum, its influences are those of Dutch and German modernism, yet it was built of brick - rendered a careful shade of terracotta - and its windows, specially imported from Switzerland, were timber. It provided a large studio-living room with living accommodation attached, which occupied the whole of the second floor. It was completed in 1939. [The Studio House, Duke's Head Yard, Highgate High Street, N6 5JQ is listed.]
Under his pseudonym of Paul Crum, Roger achieved much fame as a cartoonist.
He was gazetted to the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment on March 5th 1940 and was killed whilst leading a commando troop on German coastal guns during the allied attack on Dieppe on August 19th 1942.
He is commemorated on the Brookwood Memorial Panel 10. Column 2.
His wife was living at Long Hanborough, Oxfordshire. She remarried in 1950.
An obituary at the time of his death said,
“He was a model Englishman: 6 feet 5 inches tall, well bred, but a gentleman by nature, surreally humorous in the face of adversity, adventurous in peace-time, heroic in war.
His cartoons, which he signed Paul Crum, eschewed force for the gentle perception of character and situation, expressed in elegant compositions of easy fluid lines. His sparkling future is easily imagined and sorely missed.”
Image: Finborough Hall, Stowmarket