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Tuesday, 04 March 2008


Michael Franklin


There is much hype since the discovery of the HMAS Sydney in the past week. I have been reading a fari amount if paper work from the National Archives, however, in regards to the autopsy of the body on Christmas Island, I cannot recall seeing any evidence of a facial construction taken place. There is notes on DNA and Dental work but no facial construction. I believe the body was found in one piece. Just wondering if this reconstruction was done especially after seeing this done on BBC History channel and with todays technology
Just a note my grandfather who served with the AIF in WW2 used to tell me of some friends of his that was on the Sydney, though did not elaborate if they were still on board after their tour in the middle east

Much appreciated

Aus Huttley

Those Dark Days I recall very vividly how we as all Australians felt at the loss of the Sydney!!! We had a neighbour who was a stoker in the RAN but not knowing if he was on the HMAS SYDNEY. We later found he wasn't. However I, in the post war period served in the RAAF for 20 years plus. During this period I served under a RAAF officer who had been on the HMAS SYDNEY when it had taken on new Crew at Sydney. I had asked him on one ocassion when having a social evening "What do you think happened to the HMAS SYDNEY?"He told me that from Sydney it sailed across the south of Australia to Fremantle. While crossing the Bight, he said the new Captian swept the ship clean. Using the expression, "Like a New Broom", and had them throw all unnecessary items overboard such as cake tins and the like of personnel belongings. On arrival at Fremantle, he took ill with appendicitis and was put in hospital for the operation: this is when the ship was called to duty and escort the whatever to Sumatara which was the fatal voyage of the Sydney. He felt that this cleaning of the ship did remove the small chance of survival for anyone finding themselves in the water without a floation device. The chance of finding anything to hang onto was very much reduced. Generally he did not have any other idea of why there were no survivors. This story was told to me back in the early Sixty's. Not alot was known publicy then about this battle. My personal feelings, I find it hard to think that the Captain had endagered his ship by getting to close as many would have us believe. There appears to me very strong evidence of some cover-up for what ever the reason. I trust the truth will be revealed and let all be known someday. In particular I feel for the Captain's family.

Aus Huttley

Bob Meade

- This media conference:

has this quote about facial reconstruction:

REPORTER: Patrick Walters from The Australian. What about facial reconstruction? Will you be attempting to do something in that area?

MATTHEW BLENKIN: I guess it is a possibility. There's no reason why we couldn't. It's something that the police have used in the past. If all other avenues of identification are fruitless, I guess that's a decision that will be made later on. I wouldn't rule out those other avenues of identification first though.

Mike, I can find nothing on the public record to indicate that a facial reconstruction has been done, but that does not mean that it has not occurred.

- On the day of the annoucnement that HMAS sydney had been found I saw a quick interview with Tom Frame. Prof. Frame made reference to the fact that Capt. Burnett may have been sick or incapacitated at the time of the engagement with Kormoran - and hence not to be blamed or held responsible for getting to close to the unidentified ship. Perhaps he was referring there to Capt. Burnett suffering from the operation he had.

You can probably get Tom Frame's book through inter-library loan.

Yes, it is very difficult for the Captain's three surviving children.

Ruth Currie

Dear Sir /Madam,
If only the flesh of right arm of the unknown sailor not bone was decomposed then maybe bone idea wont work.Nose?

Bob Meade (lifeasdaddy)

Ruth, if you can picture a human skeleton, you will see that the end of the nose does not exist after normal decomposition, leaving a bit of a bone stump for where the nose was sited. The cartiledge which forms the straight end of your nose is not made of bone, and hence decomposes after death.

In the case of the Unknown Sailor's corpse, the witness reports do not suggest damage to the nose which may have also eaten away at the bone.

There was an entry wound to the skull, and a piece of shrapnel was found inside the skull after the exhumation.

Matt Thompson

The evidence from the Carley float suggests a possible fight between friendly surivivors on the float. The secondary wound to the skull and the shoes that didn't fit the corpse suggest at one time more than one person was on the float. Can we rule out the bullet being Australian. Also was it a bullet or was it schrapnel (conflicting information).
I think any checking of DNA or dental records should start with the Captain of the Ship.

Bob Meade (lifeasdaddy)

Interesting Matt.

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