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Tom Crisp, VC, DSC

The southern spine road in Lowestoft is named after Tom Crisp, one of our two local VC winners, and many are probably familiar with the action in which he won it. Less familiar is the previous action in which he won the Distinguished Service Cross.

Most people who have read anything of the naval war in WW1 will be aware of the concept of 'Q' ships.

German U-boats tended not always to use torpedoes from an underwater firing position as they more often than not did in WW2 as torpedoes were less reliable but they would often surface and sink Allied merchant vessels by gunfire. To counter this tactic 'Q' ships, heavily armed merchant vessels with their armament hidden, would patrol the merchant shipping routes waiting for a submarine to surface and then try and sink it first.

Tom Crisp, a successful skipper with the Lowestoft fishing company Chambers was recruited into the Royal Naval Reserve as part of the crew of a sailing 'Q' fishing vessel after submarines started attacking the fishing fleets. By the summer of 1916 he was in command of the armed Lowestoft trawler 'I'll try'. 'Q' trawlers would fish as usual but be ready to cut their nets and open fire on any surfacing U-boat.

In early 1917 'I'll try', in company with a similar armed trawler 'Boy Alfred', was at sea when they encountered the enemy as described in the following cuttings. The original publication from which the pictorial account of Tom Crisp's DSC action was clipped is unknown neither is it known whether or not it is strictly factually correct but it is included for interest.



Cuckoo air raid warning

1st February 2017 was the 75th anniversary of the raid which led to the installation of the Cuckoo air raid warning at Lowestoft during WW2. The 'imminent danger' alarm to the public of low level hit and run raiders subsequently saved many lives but at the cost of the lives of a mother and two of her children in Victoria Road, Lowestoft.

A more detailed account can be found on the ABfaR blog.



Recent additions

In pre 1914 there is a timeline of the history of 10 Kirkley Cliff, Lowestoft, since 1919 the home of the Lord Kitchener Memorial Holiday Centre.

WW2 Letters from Lowestoft

A collection of letters from Lowestoft, sent by resident A J Turner to his son J P Turner, of local news during WW2 which is linked directly from the WW2 link. AJT was one of the original members of the management team of the Kitchener which is described in the 'background to AJT' on that site.

Floods 1912 Directory

Find the Floods Directory of Lowestoft Fishing Vessels as at 1912 in the pre 1914 section.

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