C. R. M. F. Cruttwell
Charles Robert Mowbray Fraser Cruttwell was a British historian and academic. He served as dean and later principal of Hertford College, Oxford. His most notable work was A History of the Great War, 1914–18. He is mainly remembered for the vendetta pursued against him by the novelist Evelyn Waugh.
About C. R. M. F. Cruttwell in brief
Charles Robert Mowbray Fraser Cruttwell was a British historian and academic. He served as dean and later principal of Hertford College, Oxford. His most notable work was A History of the Great War, 1914–18. He is mainly remembered, however, for the vendetta pursued against him by the novelist Evelyn Waugh. Waugh repeatedly used the name ‘Cruttwell’ in his early novels and stories to depict a sequence of unsavoury or ridiculous characters. The prolonged minor humiliation may have contributed to Crutt well’s eventual mental breakdown. He died two years after his retirement from the Hertford principalship in 1939. He was the eldest of three sons of the Rev. Charles Thomas Crutwell, Rector of St Mary’s Church, Norfolk. His wife Annie was the daughter of Sir John Mow bray, who served as Conservative member of parliament for Durham from 1853 to 1868 and for one of the two Oxford University parliamentary seats from 1868 to 1899. His father was a scholar and historian of Roman literature; his mother was a member of Oxford University’s ruling body, the Hebdomadal Council. He won a first class honours degree in modern history at The Queen’s College. In 1911 he was elected to a fellowship at All Souls College and a year later was appointed to a history lectureship at Hertford. On the outbreak of the First World War in August 1914 he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the 14th Battalion, Royal Berkshire Regiment, a Territorial Force unit in which his brother was also serving.
By 1915 he was serving in the trenches, in France and Flanders, and led numerous patrols into no man’s land, receiving a severe leg wound. In August 1917 he was an instructor with an Officer Training Battalion in Oxford, and late in the war joined the Intelligence Department at the War Office. Demobilised in 1919, he resumed his academic life in Oxford and in 1922 published a short history of his regiment’s wartime exploits. In private life he served as a Justice of the Peace in Hampshire, where he had a country home, and stood unsuccessfully for the university’s parliamentary seat in the 1935 general election, representing the Conservative Party. He helped to establish Oxford’s geography school and arranged that the first significant academic professorship in Oxford was based in Hertford, which he completed during his most significant tenure as principal. He also became a statutory commissioner and was one of several academics nominated by the Vice-Chancellor to delegates to the Oxford University Press. The novelist Evelyne Waugh wrote later that it was as though he had never cleansed himself from the muck of muck of Oxford University. CruttWell’s term as Hertford’s principal saw the production of his most important scholarly works, including his war history which earned him the degree of DLitt.