Thoughts on the military and military activities of a diverse nature. Free-ranging and eclectic.

Monday, June 05, 2006


This is coolbert:

One of the most enduring secrets from the Cold War has been the disappearance, during a clandestine dive, of the famous British naval officer, Commander Crabb.

Crabb, while trying to inspect the hull of the Soviet warship Ordkhonikidze, disappeared and was never seen again [at least in one piece.]

The Ordkhonikidze was on a special mission at the time. Brought Premier Khrushchev to England on a good-will visit. This was in 1956.

Evidently, Soviet sentries aboard the Ordkhonikidze spotted Crabb and reacted with force, killing the Commander.

Almost two months later:

"On 9th June 1957, a headless body in a frogman suit was discovered floating off Pilsey Island. As the hands were also missing it was impossible to identify it as being that of Lionel Crabb His former wife inspected the body and was unsure if it was Crabb His girlfriend, Pat Rose, claimed it was not him but another friend, Sidney Knowles, said that Crabb, like the dead body, had a scar on the left knee. The coroner recorded an open verdict but announced that he was satisfied the remains were those of Crabb."

Headless, hands missing!!

Many were not certain that this body was definitely that of Crabb, and a lot of apocrypha circulated for decades concerning this incident.

"And so it went on: Crabb was in Moscow's Lefortowo prison and his prison number was 147; he was a Commander in the Russian Navy under the name of Lev Lvovich Korablov; he was CO of the Soviet Special Task Underwater Operational Command in the Black Sea Fleet; he had not been captured at all but had defected to the Russians to get himself accepted so that he could pass Soviet secrets to MI6. A double agent no less!

Over the years, other stories included Crabb having been electrocuted by special steel netting under all Russian ships. Then he was seen in London. Then in Paris. Then in a special cancer sanitorium in Russia."

So great is the mystery concerning Crabb and his fate that all normal declassification rules have been waived in the case of the missing diver.

"In 1987, The Times reported that the Buster Crabb mystery would not be completely unraveled for another 70 years because of a Government decision to keep closed that part of the 1956 Cabinet Papers - despite the rule which usually made such documents public after 30 years. It seemed the world would have to wait until the year 2057."

This is one hundred years after the event folks. Unheard of!! Totally so!! Makes one really one wonder what is what!!??

It seems an Israeli journalist has uncovered the full truth of what happened to Crabb. The story seems to be very prosaic, not melodramatic as some have claimed.

"Crabb was discovered when he was swimming on the water next to the ship by a watchman, who was at a height of 20 meters. An order was given to inspect the water and two people on the deck were equipped with sniper guns - small caliber. One of them was an ordinary seaman, and the other an officer, the equivalent of a lieutenant, who was in charge of an artillery unit on the boat, and an exceptional shot.

Crabb dived next to the boat and came up and swam - perhaps because of air poisoning. The lieutenant shot him in the head and killed him. He sank. All the stories about him being caught by us or that he was a Russian spy are not true."

This according to Joseph Zverkin, former head of Soviet Naval Intelligence, a man in his nineties, living in Haifa, who had spent some time under cover as a spy in England during the 1950s.

[you would think that if anyone would know what had happened to Crabb, it would be this man. Has a degree of credibility to it, the explanation of Zverkin. A lot of Soviet Jews have left Russia for Israel, and according to some, get debriefed and provide good intelligence to the Mossad and such.]

As for the missing head and hands!! [some web sites suggest the head fell off when the body was discovered!!]

It is known that General Serov did visit England in 1956 to make security arrangements for the forthcoming visit of Khrushchev. He was condemned in the English press and was not included AMONG THE OFFICIAL PARTY ABOARD THE ORDKHONIKIDZE. The official party. Was he aboard as part of the unofficial party?? Who knows.

Let me suggest this. Rather than the body just sinking, perhaps it was recovered by Soviet divers at the behest of Serov. Then mutilated to remove identifying features and placed back in the water. This would be the type of sadistic behavior that Serov would have dealt to an "enemy" of the Soviet Union.

I am only guessing. This is the type of speculation that makes for interesting reading, but is only that, speculation.



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