Buster  Crabb


Lionel Crabb was born in Greyswood Street in Furzedown in 1909. He was nicknamed Buster after the famous American film star, Buster Crabbe.

He tried a variety of jobs but was unable to settle in any of them. At the outbreak of World War Two in 1939 he joined the British Army as a gunner. In 1941 he transferred to the Royal Navy where he became a member of the mine and bomb disposal unit.  He was awarded the prestigious George Medal for his work in removing enemy limpet mines from the hulls of British ships. In 1943 he was awarded an OBE for this mine clearing work. After the war he became a naval Commander.


In 1955, two important Russian statesmen, Krushchev and Bulgarin, came on a visit to Britain in the cruiser, Ordkhonikidze.  Crabb was asked by Lord Mountbatten, the First Sea Lord, to spy on the ship for MI6 and the CIA as this was at the height of the Cold War. Crabb dived into Portsmouth Harbour on 19th April 1956 and was never seen again. No-one knows for sure what happened to him but it was assumed he was captured by the Russians and either killed or taken back to Russia.


On 9th June 1957 the headless, handless body of a diver was discovered floating off Pilsey Island. This was thought to be Crabb but it was not possible to authenticate this with the technology of 1950s. His fate still remains a mystery.