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Australia’s biggest maritime mystery has been solved 80 years after the sinking of the warship HMAS Sydney.

The Royal Australian Navy announced today that DNA testing has uncovered the identity of the the ‘Unknown Sailor’, the only body recovered from the cruiser after it sunk with all its crew in World War II.

Able Seaman Thomas Welsby Clark, 21, was posted to HMAS Sydney four months before it was destroyed on November 19, 1941.

All 645 crew aboard the Australian warship died.

Three months after HMAS Sydney sank, his body washed ashore in a life raft off Christmas Island. For decades afterwards, it was known as ‘the unknown sailor’.

Able Seaman Clark was identified as the ‘Unknown Sailor’ after advances in testing that enabled a trace through the paternal line of a family, known as Y-DNA.

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