On the 15th of August, 1917, the converted fishing smack Nelson engaged in patrol duties when attacked with gunfire from an enemy submarine. Nelson returned the submarine's fire. The submarine's fourth shot went through the port bow just below the waterline, and the seventh shell struck the skipper, partially disembowelling him, and passed through the deck and out through the side of the ship.
Despite his wound's terrible nature, Skipper Thomas Crisp maintained consciousness, and his first thought was to send off a message that he was being attacked and giving his position. He continued to command his ship until the ammunition was almost exhausted and the smack was sinking. He refused to be moved into the small boat when the rest of the crew were obliged to abandon the vessel as she sank, his last request being that he might be thrown overboard. The crew were unable to move him, and Crisp went down with his boat.
Whilst on a separate project in Lowestoft, the Victoria Cross Trust visited Thomas Crisp's grave and gave it a clean. We intend to return to give it a more thorough clean and to tidy up the grave, and renew the chippings.