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40-year death confirmation wait over for Brierfield widow
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.
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