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  • Writer's pictureConor Reeves

Mr Ernest Craig MP, Sandbach School's magnate and committed Old Sandbachian.

Updated: Apr 24, 2019

The war-time MP for the Crewe District was Ernest Craig, a Unionist politician who won a by-election in 1912 with 44% of the vote. Craig was an Old Sandbachian. He had made his fortune mining in the South of the United States, where he owned Last Chance Mine in Mogollon, New Mexico.

During the war, he was active in encouraging young men to join up and fight to defend the Empire and her allies. Indeed, in 1915, with an eerie sense of foreshadowing, the MP spoke of the need to not only beat Germany, but to crush it and thus destroy the sense of militarism that it exuded.

Mr Craig was a generous benefactor of the school, giving his time to present awards at Awards Day and money towards the new War Memorial Pavilion. He spoke with great emotion at the dedication of the school's Roll of Honour, perhaps feeling some level of responsibility for his ardent encouragement at recruitment meetings. He was made Baron of Alsager in 1927, which he enjoyed for just five years, dying in 1933, the same year that Adolf Hitler became Chancellor of Germany. Ironically, many historians have blamed the harsh terms imposed by the Allies on Germany during the Treaty of Versailles, which Craig had alluded to in 1915, for creating an atmosphere in which fascism could spread.

Ernest Craig MP, later Sir Ernest Craig, first baronet of Alsager (1859-1933)

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