War hero Thomas Crisp honoured in ceremony to unveil a commemorative stone

Deputy Lord Lieutenant William Kendall and CDRE David Elford at the ceremony to unveil the commemora

Deputy Lord Lieutenant William Kendall and CDRE David Elford at the ceremony to unveil the commemorative stone. Picture: PETER WOOLDRIDGE/LOWESTOFT MARITIME MUSEUM - Credit: Archant

A First World War hero from Lowestoft has been remembered for his bravery, 100 years after he was awarded the Victoria Cross, with a commemorative stone unveiled in his honour.

Skipper Thomas Crisp wearing his DSC. Picture: PETER WOOLDRIDGE/LOWESTOFT MARITIME MUSEUM

Skipper Thomas Crisp wearing his DSC. Picture: PETER WOOLDRIDGE/LOWESTOFT MARITIME MUSEUM - Credit: Archant

Skipper Thomas Crisp, Victoria Cross, Distinguished Service Cross, was given the highest national award after he and his crew were torpedoed by a German U boat on August 15, 1917.

The commemorative stone was laid at the Royal Naval Patrol Service Memorial.

Graham Catchpole, Waveney’s cabinet member for operational partnerships, praised Mr Crisp’s “selfless bravery”.

He said: “100 years after his death, we are honoured to be able to lay a commemorative stone to recognise the bravery of Thomas Crisp.

The smack Nelson before being damaged in action. Picture: PETER WOOLDRIDGE/LOWESTOFT MARITIME MUSEUM

The smack Nelson before being damaged in action. Picture: PETER WOOLDRIDGE/LOWESTOFT MARITIME MUSEUM - Credit: Archant

“The stone will enable younger generations and visitors to learn more about this inspirational Lowestoft hero and ensure his bravery is not forgotten.”

Commodore David Elford, Naval Regional Commander for Eastern England, said: “Despite huge social and economic change over the past 100 years, certain things that we are reminded of today have remained the same.

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“For example, maritime trade remains the lifeblood of our country, and this was especially true during the First World War.

“In addition, although today’s Naval Service is a fraction of the size it was a century ago, it continues to be made up of a rich mixture of individuals from diverse backgrounds, both regulars and, like Skipper Thomas Crisp, reserves.

Royal Marine bugler Mark Metellko sounding the Last Post. Picture: PETER WOOLDRIDGE/LOWESTOFT MARITI

Royal Marine bugler Mark Metellko sounding the Last Post. Picture: PETER WOOLDRIDGE/LOWESTOFT MARITIME MUSEUM - Credit: Archant

“In this vein, it is particularly interesting to note that, on the day of the action that led to his VC, the 10-man crew of his boat (His Majesty’s Armed Smack Nelson) included his own son as well as members of the RNR, 2 regular Royal Navy seamen and a Royal Marine rifleman.

“Thomas Crisp, and those like him, met their fate with a supreme sense of duty and they bore their hardships and dangers with enormous fortitude.”

Born in Lowestoft in 1876, Thomas Crisp was a commercial fisherman operating from the town. He joined the Royal Naval Reserve in 1916 and his knowledge of the local seas proved vital to the war effort. Acting as bait, Skipper Crisp and his crew sunk a German submarine in January 1917, for which Crisp received a DSC. In August 1917, the Nelson was hit several times by enemy fire, severely wounding Crisp.

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