On a Lung and a Prayer, interview with Syd Knowles


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But for the events of 19 April 1956 in Portsmouth Harbour, Syd Knowles, BEM, might have lead a quietly remarkable life as a decorated war-time diver with the Royal Navy. But when Commander ‘Buster’ Crabb mysteriously disappeared while inspecting the hull of a visiting Russian cruiser on a diplomatic visit to England, everything changed.

Syd Knowles had been Cdr. Crabb’s naval diving partner for ten years. The two men remained in touch after they were discharged from the Royal Navy and Knowles’ last dive with Crabb was only six months prior to Crabb’s disappearance in Portsmouth Harbour.

For anyone interested in the Cdr. Crabb story, who better to ask than Syd Knowles.

This interview with Knowles covers his life and war time exploits. It is a very personal insight into the close relationship between these two brave and highly decorated heroes of WW2. In it he relates many details of his career with Cdr. Crabb in Gibraltar and Italy. He also talks about his meetings with Crabb in the years leading up to the tragic dive in Portsmouth Harbour in 1956.

In a touching scene which reduces Knowles to tears, Knowles descibes the difficulties Crabb encountered finding work in civilian life. He also expresses his opinion about what may have happened to Crabb in april 1956. For anyone interested in the Commander Crabb story, this is an invaluable source of information from the man who probably knew him best.

Syd Knowles died in 2012, aged 90. This interview is an opportunity to learn more about Knowles himself, his working partnership with Crabb, their work during the war, and the circumstances surrounding Crabb’s disappearance.  The official government papers regarding Crabb’s disappearance will not be released until 2057.

This video is not compatible with video systems outside the UK, but it can be viewed on any computer.

Approx 120 minutes
Philm Productions

Additional information

Weight 0.2 kg