A ‘good man’ re­mem­bered

Geraldton Guardian - - FRONT PAGE - Adam Poulsen

He risked his life serv­ing in Iraq and Afghanistan, but it was a heart at­tack that claimed Peter Crabbe’s life.

His army mates re­mem­ber him as a hard­work­ing, gen­er­ous, and un­pre­ten­tious team player.

But Peter’s fa­ther Robin de­scribes his son sim­ply as “a bloody good man”.

“Ev­ery­body liked him; he had no en­e­mies,” Robin Crabbe said.

“He was very con­sid­er­ate, very pop­u­lar, and very good at his work.”

Born in Ger­ald­ton in 1962, Peter Crabbe at­tended Bluff Point Pri­mary School — where he be­came head boy — and Ger­ald­ton Se­nior High School.

He went on to study ap­plied sci­ence, ma­jor­ing in car­tog­ra­phy, and in 1980 en­listed with the Army Re­serve.

Six years later he joined the Aus­tralian Army, where he worked as an engi­neer, ris­ing to the rank of Ma­jor.

An early high­light of his ca­reer was be­ing posted to Antarc­tica in

1991, where his main role was con­fig­ur­ing satellite com­mu­ni­ca­tion.

In 2008 he was de­ployed in Iraq, where he was in­serted into the Amer­i­can ops in Bagh­dad’s in­fa­mous Green Zone, earn­ing him­self a US Mer­i­to­ri­ous Ser­vice Medal.

While there, he lived and worked in a heav­ily for­ti­fied palace that had be­longed to the late dic­ta­tor Sud­dam Hus­sein.

But de­spite the highs, Peter’s 28year ca­reer took its toll. While serv­ing in Afghanistan in

2010, he was re­spon­si­ble for the repa­tri­a­tion of Aus­tralian sol­diers killed in ac­tion — a role that likely

con­trib­uted to his later struggle with post-trau­matic stress dis­or­der.

“I was al­ways won­der­ing what he did, but I wouldn’t ask him to talk about it; he was very quiet,” Mr Crabbe said.

Un­like many, Peter re­cov­ered. The fit­ness fa­natic, who played Aus­tralian Rules foot­ball un­til age 40, con­tin­ued to work in the mil­i­tary un­til his death, aged 52, on November 15, 2014.

“He was back in Perth, vis­it­ing his sis­ter Anita,” Mr Crabbe said.

“He went for a run and he had a heart at­tack on the road.”

Af­ter his death, Peter’s for­mer col­leagues and friends sent a flood of mes­sages to his fam­ily.

“I ad­mired Pete’s com­mit­ment to his work, his won­der­ful ca­ma­raderie with all those who worked with him, but most par­tic­u­larly the fact that he was an extremely de­cent bloke,” one wrote.

“(He was) a com­pas­sion­ate, gen­uine, warm-hearted, un­pre­ten­tious gen­tle­man, who loved his Aussie Rules foot­ball and had a wicked sense of hu­mour,” an­other wrote.

Peter Crabbe was sur­vived by his three daugh­ters.

A Re­mem­brance Day ser­vice will be held at the Olive Street Re­serve WWI Me­mo­rial, Ma­homets Flats, at 10.40am on Sun­day to com­mem­o­rate the ser­vice of Aus­tralia’s mil­i­tary per­son­nel.

Pic­ture: Adam Poulsen

Robin Crabbe re­mem­bers his son Peter, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, as a ‘bloody good man’. IN­SET: Ma­jor Peter Crabbe served with the Aus­tralian Army un­til his death in 2014.

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