40-year death confirmation wait over for Brierfield widow

Lancashire Telegraph: John Doone was one of 36 lost at sea in 1974 when factory freezer ship Gaul sank in the Barents Sea, off Norway John Doone was one of 36 lost at sea in 1974 when factory freezer ship Gaul sank in the Barents Sea, off Norway

A WIDOW who has waited almost 40 years for confirmation of how her husband died in a trawler sinking may now learn more about his fate.

John Doone, from Brierfield, was one of 36 lost at sea in 1974 when the 1,100-tonne factory freezer ship Gaul sank in the Barents Sea, off Norway.

Now tests are being carried out by Russian authorities on human rem- ains found buried on the Rybachy peninsula.

His widow Sheila, formerly of Sackville Gardens, but now being cared for in a nursing home, has been informed of the development.

John worked as a radio operator on board, and Mrs Doone, along with other victims’ families, has voiced repeated concerns regard-ing the Gaul’s sinking.

Controversy has surrounded the Hull-registered trawler's disappear- ance, amid persistent claims, often denied, that the vessel was a spy ship.

The Department of Trade’s off-icial inquiry ruled that the trawler sank in heavy seas off Norway, but the Institute of Marine Architects believed the Gaul was ‘absolutely unsinkable’.

And a BBC drama ‘Spyship’, broad- cast in 1983, drew strong parallels with the Gaul case.

The Foreign Office briefed Humb- erside Police about the recovered bodies in September, but the fam-ilies were only more recently inf-ormed about the development.

Assistant Chief Constable Alan Leaver, of Humberside Police, said: “The remains appear to have been found in 1974, or 1975, by local people who buried them under rocks.

“We have absolutely no confir-mation, or evidence, at this stage that the remains are those of the crew members, but we know this area is where bodies could have wash- ed ashore.

“We have met with all the fam-ilies of the crew members lost on the Gaul, and will continue to provide them with information as it bec-omes available.”

The remains of four crew memb-ers were recovered in 2002, after a TV documentary identified the wreck of the Gaul five years earlier.

Comments (2)

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2:16am Fri 20 Dec 13

LancTelComment says...

The statement that the "Institute of Marine Architects believed the Gaul was ‘absolutely unsinkable’" is not really correct.
The Royal Institution of Naval Architects (the actual name of the institution) published a paper in 1980 which concluded that: "The Gaul was not lost as a result of inadequate intact stability or poor seakeeping qualities" but most probably due to the effect of severe waves and wind "in combination with some other unknown circumstances admitting water into the ship.

A more recent independent investigation has found that the Gaul did in fact sail with deficient intact stability and that sea water could have gained entry into the hull via two waste chutes, the closing arrangements to which contained design faults that would have allowed them to open in bad weather and admit seawater.
The statement that the "Institute of Marine Architects believed the Gaul was ‘absolutely unsinkable’" is not really correct. The Royal Institution of Naval Architects (the actual name of the institution) published a paper in 1980 which concluded that: "The Gaul was not lost as a result of inadequate intact stability or poor seakeeping qualities" but most probably due to the effect of severe waves and wind "in combination with some other unknown circumstances admitting water into the ship. A more recent independent investigation has found that the Gaul did in fact sail with deficient intact stability and that sea water could have gained entry into the hull via two waste chutes, the closing arrangements to which contained design faults that would have allowed them to open in bad weather and admit seawater. LancTelComment

8:37am Fri 20 Dec 13

rudis_dad says...

Any naval architect who claims that any ship is "absolutely unsinkable" is a buffoon not worthy of the title, and I doudt that they would have issued such a statement. That claim has been used very little if ever since the sinking of the Titanic.
Any naval architect who claims that any ship is "absolutely unsinkable" is a buffoon not worthy of the title, and I doudt that they would have issued such a statement. That claim has been used very little if ever since the sinking of the Titanic. rudis_dad

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