|Born||2 Nov 1893|
|Died||24 Jan 1986|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
Victor Alexander Charles Crutchley was born at 28 Lennox Gardens, Chelsea, London. His father was Percy Edward Crutchley and his mother was Frederica Louisa Fitzroy, daughter of 3rd Baron Southampton Charles Fitzroy. His godmother was Queen Victoria. He entered the Royal Naval College at Osborne in 1906. He served aboard dreadnought Centurion, cruiser Brilliant, cruiser Vindictive, and destroyer Sikh during WW1, seeing action at Jutland and Ostend, among other engagements. He received the Distinguished Service Cross and the Victoria Cross for WW1 service.
After WW1, Crutchley served in a variety of sea-going positions with ships of size ranging from yacht to battleship. In 1930, he married Joan Elisabeth Loveday, sister of Air Chief Marshal Alec Coryton. Between 1930 and 1933, he served aboard cruiser Diomede in New Zealand, and in 1935 aboard minesweeper Halcyon as the senior officer of the 1st Minesweeper Flotilla. Between Nov 1936 and May 1937, he served at Alexandria, Egypt with the Mediterranean Fleet. In May 1937, he took command of the battleship Warspite, flagship of the Mediterranean Fleet as her captain. He also served as the flag captain to fleet commanders Dudley Pound and then Andrew Cunningham.
When the European War began in Sep 1940, Crutchley took Warspite back to Britain to join the Home Fleet. In Apr 1940, Warspite served off Norway and participated in the Narvik naval engagements which sank 3 German destroyers and damaged 5 others (all 5 were scuttled to avoid capture). After the Norwegian campaign, he was promoted to the rank of commodore and was given responsibility of the Royal Naval Barracks at Devonport.
In early 1942, Crutchley was promoted to the rank of rear admiral and was transferred to the Royal Australian Navy. He took command of Task Force 44 on 13 Jun 1942 then Task Force 62.2 in Aug 1942. During the Guadalcanal campaign, he was second-in-command to American Admiral Richmond Turner, devising naval missions to support ground operations. He was the commander of Task Force 74 until the end of the Pacific War. He was awarded the honor of the Chief Commander of the Legion of Merit by Franklin Roosevelt in Sep 1944; that honor was typically reserved for heads of states.
After WW2, Crutchley served as the flag officer at Gibraltar until his retirement in 1947. He passed away in Nettlecombe, Britain, in 1986.
Victor Crutchley Timeline
|2 Nov 1893||Victor Crutchley was born in Chelsea, London, England, United Kingdom.|
|24 Jan 1986||Victor Crutchley passed away.|
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Captain Henry P. Jim Crowe, Guadalcanal, 13 Jan 1943