Whilst I occasionally buy the paper version I am loathe to take out ANY of their on-line subscriptions again* (the last time I did I took out their full subscription but hardly used it, effectively threwing money away for months until I eventually cancelled it.)

[I do subscribe to one other newspaper - The Times, see my post last week https://www.navy-net.co.uk/communit...by-crawford-rn-dsc-the-times-obituary.167902/ ]

Whilst certain DT articles may be accessed I was saddened to discover that their Obituaries, being 'Premium' rated, are inaccessible to us poor non-subscribers.

To the point: Are there any RR Members who do subscribe to the DT*, please?

If so, I am particularly interested in their Premium Obituary of Captain Crawford at
and wonder if a Subscriber could kindly Post it on RR (as I did with that Times Obituary) please?

*Even attempting to register for the DT's Free-one-Premium-article-per-week Subscription only resulted in : "We're currently experiencing technical difficulties..." TWICE, Grrr!

*Perhaps @Soliel, @Seaweed, or @Naval_Gazer please?

VMT in Advance,

Yours in Hope - Bob L



Book Reviewer
Captain ‘Tubby’ Crawford – obituary




Tubby Crawford

11 JULY 2017 • 5:58PM

Captain “Tubby” Crawford, who has died aged 100, was one of the last survivors of the 10th Submarine Flotilla, known as the “Fighting Tenth”, and the doyen of the “Perishers”.

The Perisher course, now formally known as the United Kingdom Submarine Command Course, was introduced in 1917 to qualify officers to command submarines, and is one of the toughest tests of stamina, mental agility and leadership in the world.

The training has kept pace with developments from the rudimentary equipment of the early 20th century to the age of nuclear propulsion, computers and advanced communications, but it has maintained its purpose of preparing students for war in the most unforgiving of environments.

Since its inception, just 1,164 British officers, 408 Commonwealth and a few foreign officers have passed the course and joined this elite of men. When last month some 280 graduates gathered at Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, to mark the centenary of the Perisher, Crawford was to have been the guest of honour, but he was too ill to attend. Nevertheless, his health was toasted as the most revered of Perishers, having qualified in wartime.

Michael Lindsay Coulton Crawford, always known as Tubby for his cherubic looks, was born on June 27 1917 near Cuckfield, Sussex, but spent his early years as a child of Empire. They were not easy.


Tubby Crawford

In 1918 his father, a former colonial railway engineer serving with the Royal Engineers, was invalided home from Salonika with malaria, and postwar he received a land grant in Kenya. The family reached their new home after three months’ trek by oxcart to Trans-Nzoia on the Uganda border.

Life was primitive, money was short and the task of establishing a coffee plantation in the bundu was beyond an ailing and inexperienced man. Aged six, young Crawford was sent to Nakuru for his first formal schooling, and in early 1924 he and his younger brother Peter undertook the three-month journey home, in the care of strangers, to Merton Court prep.

With their limited education both boys struggled, though Crawford gained a place at Dartmouth, and his brother Peter would go to Cambridge. In November 1925, however, they were summoned by the headmaster to be told that their father had died, and that their mother would be returning home in straitened circumstances to live in the Isle of Wight.

Joining Dartmouth in January 1931, he thrived and his exemplary career in the Royal Navy was a testimony to his courage and resilience.

As a cadet and midshipman, Crawford served in the light cruiser Exeter, showing the flag in South American waters, under Commodore Henry Harwood who in 1939 would lead his squadron into victorious battle over the German pocket battleship Graf Spee at the Battle of the River Plate.

Next, Crawford served in the battleships Malaya and Revenge in the Home Fleet, before returning to Portsmouth for the sub-lieutenants’ course, during which he volunteered for “the trade” as the submarine service was called. In 1938 he become familiar with Mediterranean waters while serving in the submarine depot ship Maidstone, and in 1939-40 as a junior officer in the submarine Sealion he saw service in the North Sea.

In August 1940 he served briefly as first lieutenant of the training submarine L23, before being appointed in December 1940 as first lieutenant of the submarine Upholder under the command of the illustrious Lieutenant Commander Malcolm Wanklyn VC, DSO and two bars.

Upholder’s first war patrol was from Portsmouth to Gibraltar, thereafter Crawford served under Wanklyn on 16 patrols in the Mediterranean. Each patrol lasted two to three weeks, with 10 days between patrols to rearm and refuel in Malta. These rest periods were frequently interrupted by air-raids, at which point Upholder dived to the bottom of the harbour. When it was realised that under the glassy waters the hull could be seen, it was camouflaged with blue paint.

Crawford studied Wanklyn as he became more and more daring in his attacks on enemy shipping. Their first success came on January 28 1941, when Wanklyn damaged the 7,400 ton German supply ship Duisburg; Wanklyn would go on to sink a cruiser and two 19,500 ton troop transports in one day.

Once, when under a temporary commanding officer, Upholder was surprised by German aircraft while on the surface entering Malta. The captain was hit and fell, unconscious, down the trunking leading from the conning tower to the control room. Crawford seized command, dived Upholder, and turned out to sea again, making the signal to another British submarine: “Air attack. Stay dived. Captain shit.” It was several minutes before a correcting signal was sent: “For shit read shot.”

Crawford was awarded his first Distinguished Service Cross for his skill and enterprise.

In November 1941 returned home for his Perisher, and after a short period in command of the training submarine H50 he was appointed in June 1942 to the submarine P51, later renamed Unseen, a new boat being built at Barrow in Furness.

In November 1942 he and Unseen were nearly lost when off Toulon he was attacked by a Vichy French destroyer. Diving to 120 ft, he could not hold his depth, and sank to 345 ft, well beyond the safe diving depth of a U-class submarine, while being depth-charged. He did not know, but external valves on ballast tanks had been damaged. As the hull creaked under pressure, he recalled: “We were naturally getting a bit anxious.”

It was four hours before he could creep away and surface. To celebrate, Crawford ordered a diving helmet to be sewn on to Unseen’s Jolly Roger when the following month he entered Malta. As the new boy he spent Christmas on patrol off North Africa, alternately launching torpedoes and being bombed and depth-charged, and then increasingly throughout 1943 he put to use the lessons he had learnt from Wanklyn.

Crawford with the crew of Unseen, the Jolly Roger with bars indicating the number of ships sunk or damaged; the daggers on the left indicate secret operations

Crawford undertook patrols to intercept ships on passage to and from North Africa, and soon sank three supply ships off Tunisia, followed by another in the Tyrrhenian Sea in February 1943, and continued his successes the next month with two more sinkings. For three months in the summer, using folbots (folding canoes) and chariots (two-man human torpedoes) he reconnoitred the coast of Sicily.

During the Allied landings there, Unseen became a navigational beacon off the east coast of the Pachino peninsula. Crawford recalled seeing the invasion fleet through the periscope and telling his first lieutenant: “Well, I’m going for a cup of ki [cocoa]. Call me as soon as anything happens.” He put his feet on the sofa and slept through the first night of the invasion of Sicily.

When he resumed regular operations, Crawford showed on September 21 1943 that he had not lost his eye, and with one salvo of torpedoes aimed when his targets were overlapping, and despite a heavy sea and air escort, he achieved the remarkable result of sinking two ships – the German minelayer Brandenburg and the radar direction ship Kreta. Later that year Unseen moved to a base in Maddalena, Corsica, to support military operations off the north-west coast of Italy and southern France.

When Crawford brought Unseen back to Britain in March 1944 he had completed 18 war patrols; of his peers, between one third and one half lost their lives during the conflict (and Wanklyn himself had been lost in April 1942). He was awarded a bar to his DSC and mentioned in despatches for gallantry, skill and devotion to duty.

He commanded the submarine Oberon in 1944 in home waters, and commanded Tireless in the Far East 1944-46.


Book Reviewer
Postwar Crawford held numerous submarine-related appointments, and two general service appointments: one on the staff of the Commander-in-Chief, Home Fleet in the battleship Vanguard 1951-53 and another the command of the frigate Loch Fada 1955-56.

Promoted to captain in 1959, he commanded the submarine depot ship Forth 1961-62. He was chief staff officer to the Flag Officer, Submarines based at HMS Dolphin, Gosport 1962-64, and in 1965-68 Commodore Superintendent, HM Naval Base Malta.

Crawford was imperturbable, professional, gentle, possessed of a brilliant sense of humour, and self-effacing. He left no memoir and when he chose to write a short book, His Majesty’s Submarine Upholder (1972), it was about Wanklyn, the captain whom he had admired so much. In retirement he and his wife lived quietly, supported the WI and the RNLI, and were stalwarts of the Royal Naval and Royal Albert Yacht Club, Portsmouth.

He married Margaret Hendy Lewis in 1944, and she survives him with their twin son and daughter: two sons predeceased him.

Captain “Tubby” Crawford, born June 27 1917, died June 28 2017
^Glad to learn that you had that opportunity, @Naval_Gazer. (Perhaps at the RN & RAYC?)

For, on 25th of June, he was admitted at QA, Cosham, with his dickey heart. There he remained, apparently weak but cheerful, until he faded away on July 28th, the day after quietly celebrating his 100th birthday when he received family & friends bearing gifts & mementos.

The HMS LOCH FADA Association presented him with a huge photographic collage of photos from his time as their CO. Testament to the high regard with which he was held even by those surface sailors.

He was CO of HMS Loch Fada when... <<...she was recommissioned on 21 July 1955 and joined the Home Fleet for exercises and port visits. In November she sailed from Portsmouth for service in the Persian Gulf based at Bahrain. There she carried out regular patrols and visits.

In March 1956 Loch Fada was diverted from her usual patrol station and sent to Mombasa to embark Archbishop Makarios who was taken to Mahé, Seychelles, for detention because of his political activities

The ship then sailed to Colombo for a refit, before joining the East Indies Squadron in April for exercises. The ship then visited Cochin, Bombay and Karachi before returning to the Gulf in July. In September she was relieved by Loch Killisport and returned to Portsmouth, arriving on 8 November...>> From Wiki.

For an awfully long time Captain Tubby Crawford was the well-respected President of our Portsmouth Branch of the Submariner's Association (formerly Submarine Old Comrades). Sadly, over the last few years, time had taken its toll and he was too frail to make an appearance at our events.

Shortly after the HMS ALLIANCE re-opening ceremony in March 2014, however, one of their ex-S/M volunteer Guides told me that on his tour through the newly-renovated boat Capt. Mike seemed very quiet but suddenly flashed up with a string of information and dits on how it was way back in 1950/51 when he was the CO of HMS ARTEMIS.