He was not a dry as dust historian, but a man with a large personality who told good stories, loved cooking and was a big fan of Sherlock Holmes.

Osbert Guy Stanhope Crawford CBE was one of the most influential cartographers and archaeologists of the 20th century.

Some friends recalled him as being a cantankerous person, others saw him as direct. All respected his complete integrity, dedication and expertise.

Born in Bombay in 1886, his mother died shortly after his birth and he was raised and educated in England by two aunts who lived in Hampshire.

Crawford attended Marlborough College which he described as four years of misery spent amongst “a horde of six hundred savages”.

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Although bullied at Marlborough, it was there that he developed his interest in archeology.

He then went to Keble College, Oxford, where he studied geography.

In 1913 Crawford joined an excavation in Sudan and maintained a lifelong interest in the region.

During the First World War he served as a photographer in the Third Army and later joined the Royal Flying Corps as an observer along the Western Front.

Shot down, he spent the last few months of the war in a German prisoner of war camp.

He was able to use these experiences in later life when pioneering the innovative use of aerial photography for archaeological purposes.

In 1924 he published ‘Air Survey and Archaeology’ which established his reputation worldwide.Daily Echo: Ordnance Survey in the 1920s

Crawford had come to Southampton in 1920 to take up the new post of archaeological officer at the Ordnance Survey.

He toured Britain plotting the location of archaeological sites and finding several previously unknown ones.

He stayed with the OS until retirement in 1946.

His main role was the revision of Ordnance Survey maps with archaeological information.

Crawford was responsible for the series of OS period maps beginning in 1924 with the map of Roman Britain.

In 1927 he founded the periodical Antiquity, the only independent archaeological journal in the world.

Daily Echo: Camras for aerial photography in WW1

He also helped raise money to secure land around Stonehenge for the National Trust.

From 1939 he was a member of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historic monuments of England.

In 1941-1942, shortly after the Blitz, he completed a photographic survey of Southampton’s surviving ancient buildings and monuments.

He took around 4,000 pictures of Southampton and the Wessex area. They are kept at Oxford University’s Institute of Archaeology.

After retiring, he continued to work for the preservation of Southampton’s archaeological heritage, becoming a founder member of the Friends of Old Southampton and President of the highly respected Hampshire Field Club and Archeological Society.

He was an expert witness to post war planning meetings on the rebuilding of Southampton.

Daily Echo: St Boniface Church in Nursling where Crawford is buried

In 1948, he wrote a book about the history of Nursling.

He had lived at the early Victorian, Hope Cottage in Redbridge Lane from 1920, firstly as a lodger, then a tenant.

A bachelor, he was looked after by two sisters who were his housekeepers and he had many cats.

The cottage has since been demolished.

He famously travelled everywhere by bicycle called ‘Grannie’ carrying all his equipment with him. OGS Crawford was made a Fellow of the British Academy in 1947, received a CBE in 1950, an honorary Doctor of Letters degree from Cambridge University in 1952 and a similar honour from Southampton University in 1953.

His ambition was to write the definitive book on Southampton, but this never happened.

Daily Echo: St Boniface Church at Nursling where Crawford is buried

He did however publish his autobiography in 1955 called “Said and Done”. A biography by Kitty Hauser was published in 2008.

On the night of November 27-28, 1957, he unexpectedly died in his sleep at home.

The previous evening he had spoken to an inquiry in the Council Chamber against proposals to develop the Old Town.

He presented his own treasured plan of Southampton in the Middle Ages. It showed the cellars, vaults and frontages of the town. “I shall want it back”, he said to the Ministry inspector.

OGS, as he was known, is buried in Nursling. Crawford Close there is named after him.

A room at the refurbished God’s House Tower is named the Crawford Room.

Martin Brisland is a tour guide with SeeSouthampton.co.uk .