Sacrifice of heroic Lowestoft skipper Tom Crisp forever set in stone as memorial is laid in park

Tom Crisp memorial stone unveiling, Belle Vue Park, Lowestoft. Picture: David Hannant

Tom Crisp memorial stone unveiling, Belle Vue Park, Lowestoft. Picture: David Hannant - Credit: Archant

The heroic sacrifice of a Lowestoft skipper is now permanently set in stone.

Tom Crisp memorial stone unveiling, Belle Vue Park, Lowestoft. Picture: David Hannant

Tom Crisp memorial stone unveiling, Belle Vue Park, Lowestoft. Picture: David Hannant - Credit: Archant

A century ago, Tom Crisp sacrificed his own life to allow his 10-strong crew to make an escape, after Nelson, the smack he was skippering, came under fire.

Tom Crisp memorial stone unveiling, Belle Vue Park, Lowestoft. Picture: David Hannant

Tom Crisp memorial stone unveiling, Belle Vue Park, Lowestoft. Picture: David Hannant - Credit: Archant

After a blast took away his legs, the skipper insisted his crew - which included his son - leave him with the smack, sacrificing himself to ensure their mistakes.

Tom Crisp memorial stone unveiling, Belle Vue Park, Lowestoft. Picture: David Hannant

Tom Crisp memorial stone unveiling, Belle Vue Park, Lowestoft. Picture: David Hannant - Credit: Archant

In his dying moments, he raised the alarm, reporting the attack and giving his position, as the vessel sunk.

Tom Crisp memorial stone unveiling, Belle Vue Park, Lowestoft. Picture: David Hannant

Tom Crisp memorial stone unveiling, Belle Vue Park, Lowestoft. Picture: David Hannant - Credit: Archant

Now, 100 years on, his sacrifice will forever be remembered in his hometown, in the form of a commemorative stone.

Tom Crisp memorial stone unveiling, Belle Vue Park, Lowestoft. Picture: David Hannant

Tom Crisp memorial stone unveiling, Belle Vue Park, Lowestoft. Picture: David Hannant - Credit: Archant


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It was unveiled on Sunday as part of an initiative which saw similar stones laid for other winners of the Victoria Cross - which he was posthumously awarded for his bravery.

Tom Crisp memorial stone unveiling, Belle Vue Park, Lowestoft. Picture: David Hannant

Tom Crisp memorial stone unveiling, Belle Vue Park, Lowestoft. Picture: David Hannant - Credit: Archant

Wreaths were also laid next to the stone, including one placed by his nine-year-old great, great, grand nephew - also Thomas Crisp.

Tom Crisp memorial stone unveiling, Belle Vue Park, Lowestoft. Picture: David Hannant

Tom Crisp memorial stone unveiling, Belle Vue Park, Lowestoft. Picture: David Hannant - Credit: Archant

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A short service was held in the town's Belle Vue Park prior to the unveiling, led by the Rev Michael Asquith, which also saw addresses from David Elford, Royal Navy regional commodore for the East of England and William Kendall, deputy lieutenant for Suffolk.

Tom Crisp memorial stone unveiling, Belle Vue Park, Lowestoft. Picture: David Hannant

Tom Crisp memorial stone unveiling, Belle Vue Park, Lowestoft. Picture: David Hannant - Credit: Archant

The commodore said: 'There is a terrible habit nowadays of over-using the word hero, however, when you listen to the story of Thomas Crisp, 100 years ago on the icy waters, I think that's the only word for it.

Tom Crisp memorial stone unveiling, Belle Vue Park, Lowestoft. Picture: David Hannant

Tom Crisp memorial stone unveiling, Belle Vue Park, Lowestoft. Picture: David Hannant - Credit: Archant

'His selfless act was truly heroic and it was humbling to be able to be here and remember his sacrifice.'

Among those attending the service were other members of the skipper's family, the grandson of his brother John - Trevor Crisp -, and his son Lloyd, 49 - father of the young Thomas Crisp.

Mr Crisp, 72, who also attended a memorial service on August 15 - the anniversary of his death - said: 'It was once again a very moving occasion.'

His son said: 'We are all very proud of his achievement and are proud to have his name.'

Also at the service were local standard bearers from the British Legion, Royal Engineers and the Royal Navy.

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