The only body recovered from Australia’s worst every maritime disaster, the 1941 sinking of the HMAS Sydney, may have belonged to a sailor from the Far North Coast.
The only body recovered from Australia’s worst every maritime disaster, the 1941 sinking of the HMAS Sydney, may have belonged to a sailor from the Far North Coast. www.diggerhistory.info

Unknown sailor may be from this region

THE ONLY body recovered from Australia's worst every maritime disaster, the 1941 sinking of the HMAS Sydney, may have belonged to a sailor from the Far North Coast.

The HMAS Sydney was sunk in November 1941 in an attack by the German merchant raider HSK Kormoran off Western Australia, killing 645 Australian sailors.

Found in a raft near Christmas Island three months after the tragedy, the body's identity has remained a mystery.

But scientists have not given up hope on the task, and are using the latest forensic technologies in their mission.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, limestone traces in his bone strongly suggest that he came from the east coast - most likely northern NSW or Queensland.

Narrowing the search further, it's reported the sailor had a very high marine diet as a child, suggesting he grew up on the coast rather than inland.

And the biggest blessing so far has been the sailor's dental records, which are quite unique - he had nine gold fillings.

 

Gone but not forgotten: Memories of 10 servicemen killed in crash are kept alive

THE 10 servicemen who died in an aircraft crash off the coast of Broken Head in 1942 have not been forgotten.

And that's thanks to the late Bill Shrubb, formerly of Wollongbar.

Back in the late 1990s, wreckage from an aircraft was hauled from the sea about three nautical miles off Broken Head by prawn trawlermen.

It was later identified by the RAAF Museum in Victoria to be part of the wing of Royal Australian Air Force twin-engine Lockheed Hudson bomber A16-198 which was flying to Amberley from Horn Island in the Torres Strait.

It is believed the plane flew south of Amberley due to bad weather and was planning to land at Evans Head.

On board were four crew and six men travelling on leave.

No bodies were recovered, but Lennox Head resident Sid Gibbon reportedly saw the aircraft go down at 10pm on July 7, 1942, and an airman's overcoat, with one of the lost crew member's name on it, was also found at the crash site in 1942 by Norman Todd, of Lismore, who at the time was stationed at the RAAF base at Evans Head.

When the wreckage was found, Mr Shrubb, a Second World War RAAF veteran, began lobbying for a memorial plaque to be installed at Broken Head.

The plaque was unveiled in November 1999, and the crash site was declared a war grave.

Unfortunately, Mr Shrubb died in October that year, but he was represented by his wife Hazel at the ceremony.

The men who lost their lives in the accident were: Flt Lt R T Trigg, Sgt D J Lovejoy, Sgt G A L McLaren, Sgt G W G Ridge, Sgt D L Bradley, LAC E G Kimmins, LAC W E Evans, LAC F A Woods, LAC H W Johnstone and AC1 E G Merefield.

They were all members of 32 Squadron.



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