Relocation and Recovery
The 1998 Joint Standing Committee for Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade inquiry into the loss of HMAS Sydney recommended that attempts be made to find the grave, in order to exhume the body and acquire DNA for comparison with relatives of personnel from Sydney, in order to determine if the unknown sailor was from the cruiser.
The RAN performed an unsuccessful search of the graveyard in August–September 2001, and a second, successful search in October 2006. When it was found, the body was in an unusually-shaped coffin, which appeared to have been constructed around it. In addition to human remains, press studs and small fragments of clothing were found in the coffin.
During an autopsy of the body, a shell fragment (initially believed to be a small-arms bullet, but later determined to be shell shrapnel of German origin) was found embedded in the skull, which was believed to have caused the man's death through brain trauma. Regarding the unknown man's injuries, Bruce Billson (Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence) reported that:...it was found that the shrapnel struck the front of the skull and lodged in the left forehead. In addition to this injury, the pathologist identified a second major skull injury, with bone loss on the left side of the skull, above and behind the left earhole, which is also believed to have occurred around the time of death... The analysis also identified multiple rib fractures, but it is unknown whether these occurred around the time of death or long after death with the settling of the grave. No other shrapnel or projectiles have been found elsewhere in the remains —Bruce Billson,
The remains of the unknown sailor were reburied in the Commonwealth War Graves section in the Geraldton Cemetery on 19 November 2008 with full military honours. DNA comparison testing was underway as of 2009, but did not produce definite results before the publication of the Cole Inquiry.
Read more about this topic: Unidentified Body On Christmas Island
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Famous quotes containing the word recovery:
“With any recovery from morbidity there must go a certain healthy humiliation.”
—Gilbert Keith Chesterton (18741936)