Lionel Kenneth Philip Crabb (1909–1956), naval frogman, was born on 28 January 1909 at 4 Greyswood Street, Streatham, the son of Hugh Alexander Crabb, a commercial traveller for a firm of photographic merchants, and his wife, Beatrice Goodall.
Crabb was described by contemporaries as a most courageous diver able to endure great discomfort, but technically inept and a man of action rather than a thinker.
Crabb joined the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve before the war, and in 1940 he volunteered for bomb disposal duties. when the war ended, he was seconded to the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries in a risky venture to help observe the behaviour of trawlers at close hand. In 1947 he was invested with the George Medal and the OBE
Crabb retired in 1954 but reappeared at Portsmouth on 17 April 1956 with a relatively junior member of the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS)
On the 18th April 1956 Crabb persuaded a clearance diver to dress him for an important dive on the following day and take him by car to the dockyard where the Soviet cruiser Ordzhonikidze, bearing the Soviet leaders Bulganin and Khrushchov to Britain for a formal visit, would be lying alongside the premier berth.
A body, without head or extremities but with every indication of being Crabb, was discovered in Chichester harbour, Sussex, on 9 June 1957, over a year later.
(Source extracts: Richard Compton-Hall)