USSR: Western Cold War Deception and the Lionel ‘Buster’ Crabb Incident! (10.5.2023) 

Translator’s Note: As I do not trust English language interpretations regarding the events that unfolded in Portsmouth Harbour during 1956 (due to the influence of US anti-intellectualism) – I have worked exclusively from numerous Russian language historical texts (after-all, we are assessing ‘Soviet’ and ‘Russian’ history). I have reconstructed the events of that time and it seems to me that the British government ‘ordered’ that Lionel Crabb be murdered – so that the Soviets could be blamed. I suspect the puppet master was the US government – which demanded that a ‘diplomatic incident’ be contrived! A continuation of the pointless ‘West’ equals ‘good’ – and the ’Soviet Union’ equals ‘bad’ Judeo-Christian dichotomy! From 1941-1945 the UK and USSR were staunch allies.  

Indeed, the USSR was an ally of the UK BEFORE the US entered the war on the side of the UK and USSR. Together we fought and defeated the forces of world fascism. Lionel Crabb was a British War Hero who a) fought the Fascist Italians, and b) fought the Zionist (Fascist) Jews in Palestine! The forces of predatory capitalism, however, makes fools of us all! The British government of 1956 should not have sent Lionel Crabb to ‘spy’ on the Soviet ship at anchor in Portsmouth Harbour. The British government should not have sided with the anti-intellectual US in its fabrication of the ‘Cold War’ against the Soviet Union post-1945! Around 41 million Soviet men, women and children were killed by the Nazi Germans between 1941-1945 – nearly the population of the UK at the time! Lionel Crabb was a working-class man who should not have been deployed against the Proletariat Armed Forces of the Workers’ State that was the USSR! I doubt the Soviet Union carried-out any aggressive action against UK Forces – and if there was any action it would have only been in ‘self-defence’. 

Furthermore, there would have been no point for the Soviets to have decapitated the body of Lionel Crabb – and remove both his arms! This reads very much like the actions of a deviant force attempting to ‘conceal’ Lionel Crabb’s identity – but to what end – when the rest of his corpse was left in an easily identifiable British Navy diving suit? It could be argued that his body was left in such a place for ‘dramatic effect’ – as if the Soviets were being ‘framed’ in an immature and almost comical fashion! This all goes to show that the forces of predatory capitalism – not to mention the Bourgeois State – cannot be trusted and must eventually be overthrown! I remember the British War Veteran and Hero – ’Lionel Crabb’ – with great respect – whilst I thank the Soviet Union for being our allies during WWII! I also ‘apologise’ to the Soviet people for the behaviour of the British government in 1956 – and the behaviour of the British government today! Surely, the British working-class must stand with modern Russia and it’s just war against the US-backed Neo-Nazism currently operating in the Ukraine (and elsewhere throughout Eastern Europe)! ACW (10.5.2023) 

Nikita Khrushchev fled from the Ukraine during the bitter fighting in 1941 – and he did this after giving an order for all Soviet Red Army Staff and soldiers to fight to the last round! He then boarded the last aeroplane out of the area and made his way to Moscow where he reported to an astonished Joseph Stalin that there was ‘nothing more’ he could have done! This is reported by Alexander Werth in his excellent book entitled ‘Russia At War’ – and is given as the reason behind why it was that Khrushchev retained a seething hatred for Stalin – a hatred which would eventually lead to his infamous 1956 ‘Secret Speech’! In short – Stalin knew that Khrushchev was a ‘coward’ and presumably made suitable use of this knowledge between 1941-1953 – the latter being the year of Stalin’s passing. Between 1953-1956, Khrushchev manoeuvred his way through the Soviet System and secured enough votes to make himself ‘General Secretary’ of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union! From that day onward, he had the image and memory of Joseph Stalin ‘excised’ from Soviet memory with many accusing him (and his supporters) of being members of a destructive Trotskyite clique in league with ‘foreign’ (capitalist) governments! Indeed, Khrushchev ensured that his so-called ‘Secret Speech’ was leaked by none other than the Zionist (Israeli) Intelligence Service – Mossad! There is an odd coincidence in the details of the story that follows, but for now, bear in mind that Khrushchev aligned the USSR ideologically with the concocted view of Stalin as fabricated by the US (and its allies) – and this betrayal of the Marxist-Leninist cause achieved virtually NOTHING beneficial for the Soviets! 

Lionel ‘Buster’ Crabb (1909-1956) was a ‘Frogman’ in the British Royal Navy during WWII (serving between 1941-1947) and seeing action against the Fascist Italians in the Gibraltar Theatre. He first learned to ‘disarm’ Italian-made magnetic mines already cleared from the hulls of British shipping in Gibraltar Harbour by sparsely equipped Royal Navy Frogmen – but he eventually learned how to dive, and this led to him locating, removing and disarming these devices himself. During one such mission in 1942, he and his squad discovered the dead bodies of two (enemy) Italian Naval Crewmen who had been in charge of a ‘Guided Torpedo’ (often ‘Suicide Missions’) that had probably malfunctioned en route – and took their flippers and SCUBA gear which the British then took to using (as previously – Royal Navy Frogmen used to dive with little or no proper equipment). For his Military Service, Crabb was awarded the George Medal and promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Commander. In 1943 he became a Senior Diving Officer in Northern Italy, where he cleared mines from the ports of Livorno and Venice – later becoming an MBE. As a Diver, Crabb was involved in the investigation into the suspicious death of Polish General Wladyslaw Sikorski, whose plane, a B-24 Liberator, crashed near Gibraltar in 1943. After the end WWII, Lionel Crabb was relocated to Palestine where the British Army was engaged in fighting the Zionist Terrorists; there he led a team of Divers who cleared mines laid by Zionist (Jewish) Terrorists from the underground Irgun Organization who were trying to kill British people. These terrorists would form part of the later Israeli government (following the UN Partition of Palestine). Lionel Crabb fought in Palestine against Zionist terrorism between 1945-1947 – after this duty he was demobilized from Military Service. 

Between 1947-1956, Lionel Crabb (as an expert ‘Civilian’ Diver) was often contracted by the British government to take part in various clandestine (and hazardous) duties involving ‘spying’ and the ‘recovery’ of sensitive materials and/or individuals, etc. Much of this clandestine activity involved him gathering sensitive data relating to Soviet submarine and shipping design – as the Americans were worried about why it was that the Soviet Red Navy was producing vastly superior ships at a fraction of the cost. This explains why the British MI6 recruited Crabb (in 1956) to explore the bottom of the Soviet Cruiser named ‘Ordzhonikidze’ (Орджоникидзе). At this time, the Head of the USSR – Nikita Khrushchev (and – N. A. Bulganin) was on board the Cruiser – which was making a ‘Good Will’ diplomatic visit to Portsmouth (situated on the South Coast of the UK) – during which time the British government had given its word that there would be ‘no spying’. According to ‘Spycatcher’ author Peter Wright – Crabb was sent to investigate the propeller-system of the Soviet Cruiser despite this ‘Agreement’ – the new design of which the British Naval Intelligence wanted to know. On April 19th, 1956, Crabb dived into Portsmouth Harbour – and was never seen alive again. Crabb’s roommate at the hotel quickly ‘removed’ all his belongings and tore-out the ‘Guest Registration’ page bearing the names of ‘Crabb’ and himself as he left! Ten days later, on 29th April 1956, the British Admiralty announced that Crabb had ‘disappeared’ whilst on ‘Assignment’ at Portsmouth. 

It is believed that MI6 contrived to cover-up an Intelligence Operation that went wrong. On April 29th, 1956, at the behest of Rear Admiral Inglis – the Director of the Admiralty’s ‘Naval Intelligence Unit’ – it was announced that Crabb had ‘gone missing’ during an active ‘Operation’ to investigate the crash of a secret submersible off Stokes Bay! The Soviet Authorities responded by issuing a statement confirming that the (reliable) crew of the Cruiser Ordzhonikidze reported seeing a ‘Combat Swimmer’ in the water and near the rear hull of the Cruiser on April 19th, 1956!  

The British tabloid (and broadsheet) press made fanciful speculations that the Soviet Secret Service had captured Crabb and took him to the Soviet Union! British Prime Minister Anthony Eden, clearly upset by the fact that MI6 carried out such an Operation without the consent of the Prime Minister on British soil (this was usually the prerogative of the MI5 Counter-Intelligence Service), forced the Head of the Service – John Sinclair – to resign. Anthony Eden told MPs that it was in the public interest to hide the circumstances under which the British Frogman died. Most of the historical documents are still categorised as ‘Top Secret’! 

A little less than 14 months after Crabb’s disappearance, on June 9th, 1957, a body in a Combat Swimmer’s outfit was found near Pilsey Island. The body was missing its head and both arms, making identification impossible. Crabb’s ex-wife and common-law wife – Pat Rose – were unable to identify the body, however Sydney Knowles testified that Crabb had a similar scar on his left knee. The investigating authorities wanted to leave the matter open, but the Coroner announced that there was enough information to assume that the body found belonged to Lionel Crabb. 

After 50 years, part of the information about these events was declassified. On October 27th, 2006, the British National Archives released documents on the Operation concerning the Cruiser Ordzhonikidze. On November 9th, 2007, The Independent reported that the government was covering up the circumstances of Crabb’s death. On November 16th, 2007, the BBC and The Daily Mirror reported that former Soviet Combat Swimmer – Eduard Koltsov (Эдуард Кольцов) – claimed that he discovered Crabb planting a magnetic mine on the hull of the Cruiser Ordzhonikidze – near the ship’s powder magazine – and that he “slit his throat”. In his interview for a documentary, Koltsov showed the dagger he allegedly used, as well as the Order of the Red Star which he was supposedly awarded for the ‘neutralisation’ of Crabb. At the time of the interview, Koltsov was 74 years old and according to him, he wanted to clear his conscience by telling what exactly happened to Crabb. The research of the investigative journalistic – Alexander Khrolenko (Александра Хроленко) – (from ‘Red Star’) does not agree with the version of events given by Eduard Koltsov. These findings are conveyed within Alexander Khrolenko’s article entitled ‘FAKE “BARRACUDA” (ФАЛЬШИВАЯ «БАРРАКУДА») – which I shall now translate due to its content being continuously ‘blocked’ and ‘obscured’ when accessed through Western search-engines: 

‘FAKE “BARRACUDA” (ФАЛЬШИВАЯ «БАРРАКУДА») – Alexander Khrolenko (Александра Хроленко) 

On one of the spring days, without shortness of breath, he climbed to the height of the eighth floor, to the department of the ‘Krasnaya Zvezda’ (Red Star) Correspondent Network in the North Caucasus region. From the threshold he introduced himself: “Koltsov Eduard Petrovich, I am from the Special Intelligence Unit “Barracuda”… Over the years of working in the newspaper, I had to deal with many different people. From what was happening there was presented a complex set of associations: “Children of Lieutenant Schmidt”, impostor heroes of recent years, a spring exacerbation of a well-known illness… However, the guest’s very respectable age, open face, calm and confident intonations, the Order of the Red Star on a dark jacket and the Impaled Blue Anchor on the wrist – suppressed my initial doubts. Eduard Petrovich explained: he looked into the Krasnaya Zvezda to get acquainted with a copy of the newspaper dated March 27th of this year (2008), in which a reader’s letter entitled “Fight Under the Cruiser” was published. It was a story of a retired Captain of the 1st Rank about a Veteran of the Red Naval Special Forces who, back in 1956, took on and killed the English saboteur named ‘Crabb’. That is, a story about Koltsov himself! 

The newspaper in paper form was late. I printed out the Internet version of the publication and gave it to the guest. The answer was an issue of one of the Rostov magazines with the publication “Living Legend of Rostov” on the same topic. From the page, the Senior Sailor Koltsov looked sternly at the readers… “They changed our clothes. Then, in Portsmouth, I was already a Senior Lieutenant!” commented Eduard Petrovich. We talked a little more and then parted ways. I read the journal publication carefully, and as I read, the degree of my professional curiosity increased. It’s not every day that you meet such a true “human-legend”. He even regretted that he refused a copy of the disc containing a recording of the REN-TV documentary entitled “Revelation of the Sea Devil”. 

I researched on the Internet and found there – links to the “Special Forces Veteran” Eduard Koltsov, like stars in the sky! After 220 references I lost count. For example, in November 2007, the Cherepovets information site reported: “Combat Swimmer Eduard Koltsov revealed the main secret of the Cold War era. Not a single Intelligence Service in the world has managed to find out the true cause of death of the English “Frogman” – the most famous saboteur and Intelligence Officer Lionel Crabb – in the middle of the last century… It was possible to declassify the secret of his death only now – when one of the Soviet Combat Swimmers made a sensational statement through the exploits of Edward Koltsov! A Veteran of the Special Forces for combating saboteurs – said that he personally “neutralised” the Englishman at the moment when he attached an explosive device to the hull of the Ordzhonikidze Cruiser! 

At the same time, the Internet newspaper Bryansk.RU informed its readership: “The pensioner who said that he killed Crabb was not believed… After the BBC report, Don Hale called the editor, who had just released the book entitled “The Final Dive: The Life and Death of “Buster” Crabb”. He claims that the Russian diver did not kill Crabb – but another Briton. According to him, in addition to Crabb, a group of Military Intelligence Officers worked near the Soviet cruiser, who may have been instructed to examine the Soviet ship and attach listening devices to it. In addition, Don Hale considers Eduard Koltsov’s claim that a British diver allegedly attached a mine to the ship’s hull unlikely, since blowing up a Soviet ship could cause a big scandal. In his opinion, the situation could be exactly the opposite and Crabb could be instructed to check if there are any mines on the ship’s hull. According to Hale, Lionel Crabb himself died due to a malfunction of his diving equipment, which, in his opinion, may have been damaged intentionally before his dive. As a 47-year-old Captain Crabb, nicknamed “Buster”, was a World War II Hero who was repeatedly decorated for clearing Italian magnetic mines in Malta and Livorno. He was a working-class War Veteran and Hero of the UK! His outstanding history has been confirmed online and on paper – and do not forget that during WWII the UK and USSR were Allies! When these doubts about the Eduard Koltsov were raised – it is understandable that the mass media throughout the world did not comment on such a sensitive topic.  

Within Russia, however, the domestic publications were proudly admiring! The foreign media – on the verge of mistrust and indignation. It is understandable due to the situation in the world today. True, some of our compatriots doubted that the knife featured in the film could have accomplished such a feat… May readers forgive me for another lengthy excerpt from the text of a magazine publication: ‘…But the truth revealed itself. The Hero of that trip to England (the Soviet Cruiser Ordzhonikidze visiting Portsmouth, in the spring of 1956) came to the editorial office and immediately declared: “Do you want to know the truth about the death of Crabb? I was silent for fifty years, and now, when they began to write nonsense, I was hurt. People should know the whole truth of that Khrushchev campaign. I’m ready to tell.” And further: “Eduard Petrovich Koltsov was born in the city of Rostov-on-Don. Here he graduated from high school and the Polytechnic College. He went to the Red Army by conscription. At the assembly point with an athletic physique, the young man was noticed by “Instructors” from Soviet Naval Intelligence. So, he became a Combat Diver of the Barracuda Special Forces Group. He received his baptism of fire in the English Port of Troubles… Literally on the third day of his stay, at two in the morning, Koltsov was awakened by the Group Commander. Urgent dive – due to the acoustician reporting extraneous noise. It took a few minutes to get ready. Putting on the simplest diving equipment, Eduard Petrovich silently went under the water. Looking around, the Scout saw a Diver who was fixing a mine in the area of the Cruiser’s powder magazines. The plan matured instantly. Ducking under the saboteur, Koltsov sharply pulled him by the legs. When their heads were level – he cut the throat of the saboteur along with the breathing tubes with a sharp side blow of the knife. 

Having tightened the diving suit at the throat to create buoyancy and having determined the direction of the undercurrent by the blood, he pushed the corpse. Having finished the mission, Koltsov climbed back aboard. He was asked to forget about these events. This he did. I remembered when Rear Admiral Tishkin called me into the Office. He took out the Order of the Red Star from the safe: “This is for neutralising Crabb. Don’t talk and don’t wear it,” and added in a warmer tone, “We won’t break traditions.” The Senior Chief poured the bottle into two glasses. We drank in one gulp!’ 

At first glance, it’s just a story like any other – a kind of song. However, I located false notes all the way through the narrative – which caused a “dissonance” of doubt. Following my 16 years of Service in the Pacific Fleet, and on the instructions of the Editors, I had to work more than once with Combat Swimmers (with Divers – separately). I must say right away that the men chosen for this duty are chosen due to their intelligence, moral character and good judgement – and not just for their athletic physique – which is subsequently developed through expert training. Many men are chosen without the appropriate physique at the point of entry – because it can be developed as training unfolds. That is to say, most Special Forces, as a rule, do not stand-out in anyway. Their qualities are manifested in critical situations. Here is one of them, my neighbour, a short, thin Senior Midshipman, without hesitation – jammed his own leg in one of the wheel compartments of his own car as it rolled to the edge of a cliff in neutral gear (‘blocking’ the turning tyre from moving with his own bones, muscle and flesh) – as there were no other objects at hand. He endured the pain until help arrived. An eloquent solution. 

The exotic foreign name of the group also alerted (in those harsh times, we even called Submarines “Pikes”, and not some kind of “Piranha”). “Urgent Dive” – this is from the lexicon of the Sailors of the Submarine Fleet. Combat Swimmers go under water and work “at a speed that ensures the quality of the solution of the task,” neither too fast nor too slow. Never on our own – always in supportive pairs. By the way, this is a very difficult matter, and I can hardly imagine using the “simplest diving equipment” as a Combat Swimmer. Maybe this activity is being confused with Scuba Diving? 

Further, in the Northern latitudes at two o’clock in the morning under water – it is dark, you cannot see your hand. Poor coastal lighting does not change anything. In such conditions, to consider a saboteur, a mine fixed by him, and even blood swirling in the water is simply non-scientific fiction! And if you remember the temperature of the water overboard… Springtime in Portsmouth is about the same as spring Severomorsk – perhaps you can swim for a short time using the “simplest equipment”… 

The scene of awarding the Order somehow does not fit with the traditions. Even if in a narrow circle of the Unit, no one has ever cancelled the awarding ritual. And let me remind you that in the Navy, eating – and accordingly any drinks – are strictly by category: Officers – in the wardroom, Midshipmen – separately, Sailors – separately, it has happened for centuries… And even the “shift change” of the Social System in this sense nothing has changed. Naval traditions are above social upheavals. Only in a nightmare can I imagine an Admiral drinking vodka with a Sailor, even if the latter is a heroic guy… By the way, a participant in the Great Patriotic War – Rear Admiral Nikolai Venediktovich Tishkin – (born December 24, 1906) between 1952-1955 years served as Chief of Naval Intelligence – Deputy Chief of Staff of the Red Navy – saw a lot of heroes. However, something else is more important – in 1956, Rear Admiral Tishkin was no longer the Head of Intelligence of the Red Navy. 

What about the reservations of our “hero”. For example: “In Portsmouth, the Pompolit arranged for the English newspapers to be translated for us”… Everyone who served in the Red Navy knows that you cannot confuse a “Political Officer” (Commissar) with a “Pompolit” of the Merchant Fleet. It was not accepted to translate “enemy voices” to the personnel of the Red Navy in the late fifties and much later… Little things, but in the aggregate – all amounting to falsehoods. Most importantly, I could not imagine any of the familiar representatives of this profession running around the editorial offices, indignantly revealing their souls and any secrets to the general public. These are people of a different calibre altogether… 

Since the phone number of the “living legend of Rostov” remained unknown, the standard scheme for obtaining information came in handy – through the Council of Veterans, the Military Commissariat and other competent sources. As time went on, there were more questions than answers. Koltsov did not appear in the Official Lists of Veterans; other information was extremely scarce and alarming. 

For example, the Joint Military Registration and Enlistment Office of the Oktyabrsky and Voroshilovsky Districts of the city of Rostov-on-Don officially announced that Eduard Petrovich Koltsov, born in 1933, did NOT serve as an Officer in the Soviet Red Armed Forces – but he did receive a military ID on November 20th, 1967, as he was ‘Conscripted’ into the Soviet Red Army as a ‘Private’ (over a decade AFTER he was supposed to be bobbing about in Portsmouth Harbour)! Since 1974 he worked as a Driver for the Rostov Passenger Motor Transport Enterprise No. 3. He received an Officer Rank only in the Reserve (in particular, the rank of Senior Lieutenant was awarded to him by Order of the Commander of the North Caucasus Military District on May 30th, 1977). Upon reaching the age limit in 1989 – he was “deregistered”. 

I thought: if a person is not registered with a medical institution with the appropriate profile (and Koltsov is not a member) anything can happen. Perhaps the seriousness of the former Service explains the absurdity of the “cover”… The habit of double-checking the information did not give rest. I still got the phone number of the “Veteran of Special Forces” through the same Rostov magazine. In a telephone conversation, Eduard Petrovich diplomatically avoided answering questions about his service “before and after Portsmouth”, saying that the time had not yet come. And later he avoided the meeting… They say that everything has already been written about Crabb, orders and medals (that’s right, in the plural) melted during a fire in an apartment in 1994, documents and photographs were not preserved and a lot of things… 

The Military Commissar of the Rostov region – Colonel Anatoly Trushin – who was initiated into this story, remembered another unusual Veteran who demanded confirmation of the rights of a participant in the Great Patriotic War. The relevant documents were found – but the Veteran turned out to be a former policeman… 

For reliability, we turned to the Podolsky Central Archive of the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation, where “manuscripts do not burn”, medals are not melted, not to mention the safety of award documents. And soon the answer came: “Eduard Petrovich Koltsov, born in 1933, a native of the city of Rostov-on-Don – is NOT listed in the card index of the awarded Koltsov. In the Service Record for Senior Lieutenant E.P. Koltsov… there is no information about the awarding of the Order of the Red Star. If you have the Order of the Red Star, please indicate its number. Head of the Central Archive – Colonel S. Chuvashin. 

By the way, wearing an Order that a person has not been awarded entails criminal liability… 

Russian Language Article: 


Александр ХРОЛЕНКО, «Красная звезда». 

     В один из весенних дней он без одышки поднялся на высоту восьмого этажа, в отдел корреспондентской сети «Красной звезды» в Северо-Кавказском регионе. С порога представился: «Кольцов Эдуард Петрович, я из отряда спецразведки «Барракуда»… 
     За годы работы в газете приходилось иметь дело с разными людьми. От происходящего как-то сразу повеяло сложным букетом ассоциаций: «дети лейтенанта Шмидта», герои-самозванцы последних лет, весеннее обострение известной болезни… Однако весьма почтенный возраст гостя, открытое лицо, спокойные и уверенные интонации, орден Красной звезды на темном пиджаке и наколотый синий якорек на кисти руки подавили сомнения. 
     Эдуард Петрович объяснил: в «Красную звезду» заглянул, чтобы ознакомиться с экземпляром газеты за 27 марта сего года, в котором было опубликовано письмо читателя «Схватка под крейсером». Это был рассказ капитана 1 ранга в отставке о ветеране морского спецназа, в далеком 1956-м уничтожившем английского диверсанта Крабба. То есть о самом Кольцове. 
     Газета в бумажном виде запоздала. Интернет-версию публикации я распечатал и отдал гостю. Ответным ходом стал номер одного из ростовских журналов с публикацией «Живая легенда Ростова» на ту же тему. Со страницы сурово смотрел на читателей старший матрос Кольцов… «Это нас переодели. Тогда, в Портсмуте, я был уже старшим лейтенантом», – прокомментировал Эдуард Петрович. 
     Мы еще немного поговорили и расстались. Журнальную же публикацию я внимательно прочел, и по мере чтения степень моего профессионального любопытства все возрастала. Не каждый день встречаешь такого масштаба «человека-легенду». Даже пожалел, что отказался от диска с записью документального фильма REN-TV «Откровение морского дьявола». 
     Заглянул через поисковую систему в Интернет, а там – ссылок на «ветерана спецназа» Эдуарда Кольцова, как звезд на небе, после 220 я со счета сбился. К примеру, в ноябре 2007 года Череповецкий информационный сайт сообщал: «Боевой пловец Эдуард Кольцов раскрыл главный секрет времен «холодной войны». Ни одной разведке мира так и не удалось узнать истинную причину смерти английского «человека-лягушки» – самого известного в середине прошлого века диверсанта и разведчика Лайонела Крабба… Рассекретить тайну гибели удалось лишь сейчас, когда с сенсационным заявлением выступил один из советских боевых пловцов Эдуард Кольцов. Ветеран спецподразделения по борьбе с диверсантами рассказал, что лично уничтожил англичанина в тот момент, когда он прикреплял взрывное устройство к корпусу крейсера «Орджоникидзе». 
     В то же время Интернет-газета «Брянск.RU» информировала: «Пенсионеру, заявившему, что он убил Крабба, не поверили… После сообщения BBC в редакцию позвонил Дон Хейл, который только что выпустил книгу «Последнее погружение: Жизнь и смерть «Кутилы» Крабба». Он утверждает, что российский водолаз убил не Крабба, а другого британца. По его версии, кроме Крабба возле советского крейсера работала группа военных разведчиков, которым, возможно, было поручено обследовать советский корабль и прикрепить к нему подслушивающие устройства. Кроме того, Дон Хейл считает маловероятным утверждение Эдуарда Кольцова о том, что британский водолаз якобы прикреплял мину к корпусу корабля, поскольку подрыв советского корабля мог бы вызвать большой скандал. По его мнению, дело могло обстоять ровно наоборот и Краббу могло быть поручено проверить, нет ли на корпусе корабля мин». Как считает Хейл, сам Лайонел Крабб погиб из-за неисправности подводного снаряжения, которое, по его мнению, могло быть повреждено преднамеренно перед его погружением. 47-летний капитан Крабб по прозвищу Кутила был героем Второй мировой войны, неоднократно награжденным за обезвреживание итальянских магнитных мин на Мальте и в Ливорно». 
     И так далее, и тому подобное. В Интернете и на бумажных страницах. Редкие средства массовой информации в мире не откликнулись на столь острую тему. Отечественные публикации – горделиво-восхищенные. Зарубежные – на грани недоверия и негодования. Понятное дело. Правда, и некоторые наши соотечественники сомневались, что фигурирующим в фильме ножиком можно было подвиг совершить… Да простят мне читатели еще одну пространную выдержку – из текста журнальной публикации: «…А правда открылась сама собой. В редакцию пришел герой того похода в Англию (крейсера «Орджоникидзе» в Портсмут, весной 1956 года. – А.Х.) и прямо с порога заявил: «Хотите знать правду о гибели Крабба? Пятьдесят лет молчал, а теперь, когда чушь начали писать, меня задело. Люди должны знать всю правду того хрущевского похода. Я готов рассказать». И далее: «Эдуард Петрович Кольцов родился в городе Ростове-на-Дону. Здесь окончил школу и политехнический техникум. В армию пошел по призыву. На сборном пункте спортивного телосложения юношу заметили «покупатели» из морской разведки. Так он стал боевым водолазом группы специального назначения «Барракуда». Боевое крещение получил в английском порту Порт-смут… Буквально на третьи сутки пребывания, в два часа ночи Кольцова разбудил командир группы. Срочное погружение, акустик услышал посторонний шум. На сборы давалось несколько минут. Надев простейшее водолазное снаряжение, Эдуард Петрович бесшумно ушел под воду. Осмотревшись, разведчик увидел водолаза, который крепил мину в районе пороховых погребов крейсера». План созрел моментально. Поднырнув под диверсанта, Кольцов резко дернул его за ноги. Когда их головы поравнялись, он резким боковым ударом ножа перерезал вместе с дыхательными трубками горло диверсанта. 
     Затянув у горла водолазный костюм, чтобы создать плавучесть, и по крови определив направление подводного течения, подтолкнул труп. Закончив дуэль, Кольцов поднялся на борт. Его попросили забыть об этой истории. И он про нее забыл. Вспомнил, когда вызвал в кабинет контр-адмирал Тишкин. Он достал из сейфа орден Красной Звезды: «Это тебе за Крабба. Не трепись и не носи», – и уже более теплым тоном добавил – «Традиции нарушать не будем». Старший начальник разлил бутылку на два граненых. Выпили залпом»… 
     На первый взгляд, просто песня. Однако диссонансом в ней слышались фальшивые ноты. За 16 лет службы на Тихоокеанском флоте, по заданию редакции не раз приходилось работать с боевыми пловцами (с водолазами – отдельно). Сразу скажу, что попадают туда ребята не за спортивное телосложение, а по состоянию здоровья и с соответствующими морально-психологическими качествами. То есть большинство спецназовцев, как правило, ничем не выделяются внешне. Их качества проявляются в критических ситуациях. Вот один из них, мой сосед, невысокий, худощавый старший мичман, не задумываясь, сунул под колесо своего «Жигуленка» собственную же ногу, когда машина на нейтральной передаче покатилась к обрыву, а других предметов под рукой не оказалось. И терпел боль, пока подоспела помощь. Красноречивая случайность. 
     Экзотическое иностранное название группы также насторожило (в те суровые времена у нас даже подводные лодки назывались «Щуками», а не пираньями какими-нибудь). «Срочное погружение» – это из лексикона моряков подводного флота. Боевые пловцы уходят под воду и работают «со скоростью, обеспечивающей качество решения поставленной задачи», не быстрее и не медленнее. По одному – никогда. Кстати, дело это весьма непростое, и «простейшее водолазное снаряжение» боевого пловца могу представить с большим трудом. Быть может, акваланг?.. 
     Далее, в северных широтах в два часа ночи под водой – темно, своей руки не видно. И скудное береговое освещение ничего не меняет. В таких условиях рассмотреть диверсанта, закрепляемую им мину и даже клубящуюся в воде кровь – просто ненаучная фантастика. А если вспомнить о температуре воды за бортом… Весенний Портсмут – примерно то же самое, что весенний Североморск, в «простейшем снаряжении» недолго поплаваешь… 
     И сцена награждения орденом как-то не вяжется с традициями. Пусть даже в узком кругу подразделения, ритуал награждения никогда никто не отменял. И еще напомню, на флоте прием пищи и соответственно любых напитков – строго по категориям: офицеры – в кают-компании, мичманы – отдельно, матросы – отдельно, так сложилось веками… И даже «пересменка» социального строя в этом смысле ничего не изменила. Флотские традиции выше социальных потрясений. И в страшном сне не могу представить адмирала, пьющего гранеными стаканами водку с матросом, даже если последний – геройский парень… Кстати, участник Великой Отечественной войны контр-адмирал Николай Венедиктович Тишкин (24.12.1906 г.р.) в 1952 – 1955 годах служил начальником флотской разведки – заместителем начальника штаба ВМФ. И героев повидал немало. Впрочем, важнее другое – в 1956 году контр-адмирал Тишкин начальником разведки ВМФ уже не был. 
     А тут еще оговорки нашего «героя». К примеру: «В Портсмуте помполиты переводили нам английские газеты»… Все служившие на флоте знают: замполита с помполитом гражданского флота не перепутаешь. Переводить личному составу ВМФ «вражеские голоса» в конце пятидесятых и много позже было как-то не принято… 
     Мелочи, но в совокупности – фальшиво. И главное, никого из знакомых представителей этой профессии я не мог представить бегающим по редакциям, возмущенно открывающим широкой общественности душу и какие-либо тайны. Это люди другого склада… 
     Поскольку телефонный номер «живой легенды Ростова» остался неизвестен, пригодилась стандартная схема добычи информации – через Совет ветеранов, военный комиссариат и другие компетентные источники. Шло время, а вопросов становилось больше, чем ответов. В официальных списках ветеранов Кольцов не значился, прочая информация была крайне скудной и настораживающей. 
     К примеру, объединенный военкомат Октябрьского и Ворошиловского районов города Ростова-на-Дону официально сообщил, что Кольцов Эдуард Петрович, 1933 года рождения в Вооруженных Силах офицером не служил, военный билет получил 20 ноября 1967 года, с 1974 года работал водителем Ростовского пассажирского автотранспортного предприятия № 3. Офицерское звание получил в запасе (в частности, звание старшего лейтенанта присвоено приказом командующего войсками СКВО 30 мая 1977 года). По достижении предельного возраста, в 1989 году, снят с учета. 
     Думалось: если человек не состоит на учете в медучреждении соответствующего профиля (а Кольцов не состоит), всяко бывает. Возможно, серьезность прежней службы объясняет нелепость «прикрытия»… 
     Привычка перепроверять информацию не давала покоя. Номер телефона «ветерана спецназа» я все-таки добыл, через тот самый ростовский журнал. В телефонном разговоре Эдуард Петрович дипломатично ушел от ответов на вопросы о своей службе «до и после Портсмута», мол, время еще не пришло. А в дальнейшем уклонился и от встречи… Мол, о Краббе все уже написано, ордена и медали (именно так, во множественном числе. – А.Х.) оплавились во время пожара в квартире в 1994 году, документы и фотоснимки не сохранилось, и к тому же много дел… 
     Посвященный в эту историю военный комиссар Ростовской области полковник Анатолий Трушин вспомнил о другом необычном ветеране, который требовал подтверждения прав участника Великой Отечественной войны. Соответствующие документы отыскали, но ветеран оказался бывшим полицаем… 
     Для надежности, мы обратились в Подольский Центральный архив Министерства обороны РФ, где «рукописи не горят», ордена не оплавляются, не говоря уже о сохранности наградных документов. И вскоре пришел ответ: «В картотеке учета награжденных Кольцов Эдуард Петрович, 1933 года рождения, уроженец города Ростов-на-Дону, не значится. В учетно-послужной карте на старшего лейтенанта Э.П. Кольцова… сведений о награждении орденом Красной Звезды не имеется. При наличии ордена Красной Звезды просим указать его номер. Начальник Центрального архива полковник С.Чувашин». 
     Между прочим, ношение ордена, которым человек не награжден, влечет уголовную ответственность…