Unsolved Murders


Age: 35-45

Sex: male

Date: 10 Sep 1956

Place: The Kench, Hayling Sandbank, Hayling Island, Hampshire

Human bones were found on Hayling Sandbank around 10 September 1956.

An open verdict was returned against them at an inquest on 11 September 1956, with the Coroner noting that he would not ordinarily carry out an inquest on a set of bones, noting that they were natural in some cases, but that he was doing so to dispel the rumours that they were those of Lionel Crabb, an ex-Navy frogman who had recently gone missing and whose death was both a mystery and also unsolved.

The skeleton was found by children who had been playing on the sandbank. Lionel Crabb had gone missing whilst a Soviet cruiser had been anchored in the harbour at Portsmouth.

After the finding of the skeletal remains were reported to the police the police went to the scene, a place known as The Kench, where they dug up more bones making a complete skeleton. It was thought that a heavy gale might have exposed them.

The Coroner said, 'If it removes those rumours about the bones being connected with anybody who disappeared in recent months this inquiry will have served its purpose. It is even possible that the bones are those of a victim of war and not connected in any way with any rumours that have been going about'.

The pathologist that examined the bones said that they were those of a small male, under 5ft 5in tall, aged between 35 and 45 and which had probably been in the sea for a considerable time, somewhere between 1 to 15 years. It was further noted that the skeleton was that of a man that had died at least 12 months earlier and that Lionel Crabb had only gone missing on 19 April 1956.

The police said that extensive inquiries had been made into people that had gone missing as far back as the Second World War, and said, 'It is possible that they are the bones of the victim of a ship which sunk by enemy action off Hayling Island in 1941'.

*map pointers are rough estimates based on known location details as per Place field above.

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Hampshire Telegraph - Friday 14 September 1956

see Northern Whig - Tuesday 11 September 1956

see West Sussex Gazette - Thursday 13 September 1956

see Halifax Evening Courier - Tuesday 11 September 1956

see Hartlepool Northern Daily Mail - Tuesday 11 September 1956