Crane, Arthur Thomas

10 July 1893 - 24 February 1916.

War Service:

Leading Telegraphist Arthur Thomas Crane, HM Submarine E5, died on the 24th February 1916, aged 23. An old boy of the Hither Green School, he joined the Royal Navy in 1911, aged 15 ½ at Portsmouth. He served on numerous ships during his time in the navy, including submarines. He served at the Battle of Heligoland Bight, which was the first naval battle of the First World War, occurring on the 28th August 1914. He had a narrow escape in November 1915 when he was washed overboard from his vessel in a rough sea, but was lucky to be picked up. However, when he fell overboard from Submarine E5 on 24th February 1916, he appeared to disappear almost immediately.

The captain of the vessel wrote “His loss is one that all his boatmates and officers feel from a personal as well as a service point of view. In case it can be of any use or comfort to you in your trouble, I am able to tell you that he came to a true sailor’s end in an entirely painless way. We were nearing home in a heavy sea, running very comfortably, when your son slipped and fell overboard from the bridge, striking the side of the boat as he fell. He was seen as he passed astern, and obviously unconscious, after which he sank and was not seen again in the hour and a half that we remained on the spot. Although I have only been his captain for a few weeks I had formed a very high opinion of his character and his abilities and can understand only too well what a loss such a son must be to his parents. Hoping that this may be the only sacrifice demanded of you in the country’s cause in this greatest of all wars…”. A Board of Enquiry found “Crane was drowned at sea on 24th Feb 16 through accidentally falling overboard from Sub E5 while in the execution of his duty. No blame attributable to anyone”. Submarine E5 went missing on the 7th March 1916 whilst on patrol, believed to have been mined – there were no survivors.

He was lost at sea and is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Hampshire

Location of Memorial:
He is also remembered on the WW1 Roll of Honour in St Andrew's Church, Catford.

He was born on the 10th July 1893, the son of Thomas Charles and Martha Annie Crane of 75 Minard Road, Catford.

Contributed By: Kevin Loughnane

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