What happened to Buster Crabb? – Mystery Guides
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What happened to Buster Crabb?

One mission. One diver. Reported missing...

Old diving suit and apparatus.

Lionel Crabb was born in London to very humble beginnings. It wasn't until joining the Navy in WW2 that he discovered a love for diving - he was given the nickname Buster, after Olympic swimmer and action hero Buster Crabbe.


Lionel 'Buster' Crabb was sent on many dangerous missions around the world, including removing limpet mines from ships.


Sadly, the work he loved, made him a prime target for attack...

Portsmouth Historic Dockyard and Spinnaker Tower

The last known whereabouts of Buster Crabb was checking in to the Sally Port Inn in Old Portsmouth, along with a colleague, Mr Smith. It is believed the two were employed on an espionage mission to study a Russian ship docked in Portsmouth  - tensions between Britain and Russia were high during this time as the Cold War continued.


The Russian military believe they saw a diver snooping around their ship and Buster was never seen again...

What We Know:

  • It was later revealed that several pages from the hotel log book from this time were torn out.
  • We know that Crabb and a colleague were sent to Portsmouth to study the Russian ship - Ordzhonikidze's - stern.
  • A "Mr Smith" returned to the hotel later that day to settle debts.
  • Just over a year later, a diver's body was discovered, missing its head and both hands - presumed to be Crabb (but could not be officially identified.)

There are many theories about what happened to Buster Crabb, but none have yet been confirmed...