Abraham Crespin

1740-1786. He was born in St. Albans, Hertfordshire, the son of Daniel and Johanna Crespin.

Crespin was commissioned lieutenant on 20 January 1762, and in November 1770 was appointed to the schooner Halifax 6, generally serving in North American waters, although in August 1772 this vessel was to be found at Portsmouth awaiting dispatches from the Admiralty for conveyance to Commodore Molyneux Shuldham at Newfoundland.

In the spring of 1778 he was serving as the senior lieutenant aboard Vice-Admiral John Montagu’s flagship Europa 64, Captain Francis Parry, from which vessel he was promoted commander of the Diligence 10 for purposes of rank only on 13 May in celebration of the Kings’ review of the fleet at Spithead. Six days later, on 19 May, he was appointed to the bomb Vesuvius 8, which came out of dock some weeks later, having been newly copper-sheathed, and which in November arrived at Portsmouth from the Downs. In December it was reported that she would sail with Commodore Joshua Rowley’s squadron of eight sail of the line and a number of smaller vessels for the Leeward Islands, but her orders appear to have been rescinded, for at the end of December she arrived at Portsmouth with a convoy from the Downs, and in March 1779 sailed with a small squadron and convoy for the Guinea Coast where she was present at the capture of Goree on 4 April by Rear-Admiral Sir Edward Hughes’ East-Indies bound fleet. The Vesuvius was then dispatched by Hughes under the orders of Captain Hon. Frederick Maitland of the Vengeance 74 for the Leeward Islands.


Captain Crespin’s only major action was the Battle of Martinique in 1780

Crespin was posted captain on 17 January 1780 by the temporary commander-in-chief in the Leeward Islands, Rear-Admiral Sir Hyde Parker, and succeeding Captain Hugh Cloberry Christian he commanded the Suffolk 74 at the Battle of Martinique on 17 April, when her casualties numbered twelve men wounded. He continued with her in the remainder of the Leeward Islands campaign from May – July, including the fleet skirmishes off St. Lucia in the former month when she suffered casualties of one man killed and twenty-one wounded. There was some concern for her safety when she went missing during the Great Hurricanes which swept through the Caribbean in October, but she was eventually accounted for.

In the early summer of 1781 the Suffolk formed part of the escort of the homeward-bound Jamaica convoy which suffered severe weather during its voyage back to Europe, and on 24 June she entered the Leith Roads with the remnants of that fleet, having been left in the Orkney Islands to await the stragglers. Here, whilst her own men recovered their health, she was ordered to temporarily undertake guard-ship duties in the absence of Vice-Admiral Sir Hyde Parker’s fleet which had recently departed the Leith Roads with a huge Baltic convoy. Once released from this duty, the Suffolk was paid off in September.

Captain Crespin did not serve again and died in the latter part of 1786, his will being proved on 10 November.

He married Martha Legassicke of Modbury Devon on 16 March 1776 and had issue one son and a daughter whilst residing in that town. There was some confusion over his family name, his father and brother spelling their surname ‘Crispin’.