• Name of Cemetery/Memorial: Tower Hill Memorial, London
• Country: United Kingdom
• Date Of Birth: 1896?
• Place of Birth: Sierra Leone
• Last known address: 26, Clive-street, North Shields
• Service: Other Empire Force
• Corps/Regiment: Mercantile Marine – SS Eros
• Rank: Mess-room Steward,
• Known At: 08/1918
• Work Type: Merchant Navy
Little is known about the first 22 years of his life, but we do know something about Joseph Crispin’s death and his connection with the North East of England.
SS Eros left North Shields on the afternoon of 19th August 1918 heading for Rouen, France laden with coal. Heading south down the coast, just passing Scarborough, there was a sudden explosion on the port side. This broke the vessel, damaging life-boats in the process. it was believed to be the result of a German torpedo. Four men died on impact including the Captain. Everything happened so quickly, that the vessel had disappeared under water in a matter of minutes. Survivors were picked up by a drifter boat and taken to hospital. Three men died of their injuries in hospital. An inquest was held for these three and one of them was Joseph Crispin.
Joseph Crispin, described in newspaper reports as, “a coloured man, about 21, mess-room steward, 26, Clive-street, North Shields.” Joseph died serving on a merchant ship for the UK war efforts, behind the scenes with other brave men. From corroborative evidence gathered from the 14 survivors, a verdict was returned that the deaths resulted from the act of an enemy submarine.
Source: Scarborough Mercury 23/08/1918:- U-BOAT VICTIMS. – SEVEN OUT OF TWENTY ONE.
Newspaper sources for Joseph Crispin from the News Guardian, 31 August 2012 and the Scarborough Mercury, 23 August 1918 can be found here.