Disappearance of Lieutenant Commander Lionel ‘Buster’ Crab

On 19 April 1956 Lieutenant Commander Lionel ‘Buster’ Crabb, OBE GM RNVR disappeared in Portsmouth Harbour and Prime Minister Sir Anthony Eden told MP’s it was not in the public interest to discuss the circumstances and the admiralty stated Crabb had disappeared whilst testing secret underwater equipment some distance from the harbour.

It is widely believed ‘Buster’ Crabb disappeared during a clandestine operation to examine the Soviet Cruiser Ordszhonikidze berthed in Portsmouth Harbour during a visit by Nikita Khrushchev. A headless body with both hands missing and dressed in a diving suit was later found floating in the sea. Even after the forensic pathologist who examined the body stated they were not the remains of Crabb because known scars on the legs were not present the body was reported to have been Lt Cdr Crabb and buried in Milton Cemetery, Portsmouth and researcher Sydney Knowles later claimed Crabb had not dived alone.

Since his disappearance there has been much speculation, many conspiracy theories and the files remain classified until 2057.

Author: Alan Malcher

Military historian and defence commentator

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