HMS Warwick was an Admiralty W warship built during the first world war as part
of the Royal Navy Emergency War Programme. She was launched on 28 December 1918
and was torpedoed off Padstow on 20 February 1944 by German U-boat U-413.
TRAWLER BOY TO TRAWLER MAN
(For Padstow Echo – Christmas 2014)
Victor Crisp’s name appears on the HMS Warwick memorial on the Red Brick
Building. He was the skipper of the LADY LUCK the trawler that rescued many
of the survivors from that fateful sinking off our coast in 1944.
His memoirs “From Trawler Boy to Trawler Man” have been published by
Lowestoft Archive and contain much of interest to us here in Padstow where
he first came as a boy of 16.
It was early spring in 1915…. Mother had a letter from Dad to pack our
things….. it was the last of me seeing Lowestoft for four long years…..
There was the journey to London, the taxi ride to Waterloo and the long run
We were met at the station by a homely old lady and her daughter. The
station being near the water I could see nothing but sand. I found out
afterwards that at low tide the harbour was dry. The new dock and fish
market were being built. They were blasting the rock at the bed of the dock
to deepen it seven feet. The pier and covered market were quite new in
anticipation of the port growing as a fishing centre. Previous to this
fishing boats had to use their small boats to bring the catch to the harbour
and to take stores back to the ship lying down river when the tide was low.
I was more than surprised to see all the lights which were electric come on.
We had been used to a strict blackout at home. Very few houses in Lowestoft
had electric light laid on. At home we had paraffin lamps in most of the
The next morning I was up and outside. The tide was low, a small dock empty
of water, had an old boat of which I had never seen the like before. It
belonged to Mr Parken and was used to supply the village of Rock on the
other side of the river.
From the other side of the harbour came the chug chug of an engine from the
Ice Factory which also generated the electricity.
I went towards the Fish Market where sales were in progress . I saw that a
horse and wagon had to be used to bring the fish from the vessels.
By now there were three vessels coming up river with the tide. One was from
Ramsgate and the other two Lowestoft. The community was growing. Beside the
families from Lowestoft there were also several from Ramsgate. These people
in a sense were refugees in their own country, who had been advised to leave
the East Coast, as it was now in the front line of defence. There were also
shipwrights, riggers and storekeepers and their families beginning to
My father arrived in from sea after we had been there some two days. He
spoke of my getting work, but not at sea. I was very disappointed at this.
Some of the lads my age were cooks with their fathers, why not me ?
I had my first job earning a few shillings a week as office boy for one of
the Lowestoft owners whose name was Williams. He eventually joined up with a
Cornish fish buyer who held a monopoly in the fish business all over
Cornwall by the name of Pawlyn. My job was to take letters and parcels to
the crews whose relatives were still residing in Lowestoft, when they
arrived in from sea, fetch tea from the tiny Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen
and various other work in the riggers store.
Victor did eventually go to sea with his father and saw at first hand the
destruction of several fishing smacks by German submarines. Undeterred he
made fishing his career and in WW2 brought his young family to Padstow to
live in what is now Harbour View Flats and shops. They shared it with
another Lowestoft family.
Thanks to Roy Crisp who sent a copy of the book to Padstow Museum - John