The mystery of the Unknown Sailor, Australia’s worst maritime disaster, has finally been solved in a major breakthrough after 80 years.
The only body to be recovered after Australian warship HMAS Sydney (II) sunk off the West Australian coast has now been identified in a major breakthrough after 80 years.
New DNA evidence has confirmed that Able Seaman (AB) Thomas Welsby Clark from New Farm in Brisbane was the previously unidentified sailor in Australia’s worst maritime disaster.
The Sydney sank on November 19, 1941 following an intense battle with the disguised German merchant raider HSK Kormoran about 120 nautical miles west of Steep Point.
AB Clark is believed to be the only sailor to have made it to a life raft after the ship went down, but the 21-year-old later died at sea.
Of Sydney’s complement of 645 men, no one survived.
“This included six Royal Australian Air Force members, eight Royal Navy personnel and four civilian canteen staff. Eighty-two officers and sailors were killed in Kormoran,” Chief of Navy Vice Admiral Mike Noonan said.
“We revere the service and sacrifice of all who perished.
“Solving this World War II case involved specialists in DNA analysis, forensic pathology and dentistry, ballistics, anthropology, archaeology and naval history.”
More to come