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Unknown sailor from WWII battle identified

hmas sydney sailor identified
The HMAS Sydney sunk off the WA coast in 1941 after a battle with a disguised German raider. Photo: Getty
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Thomas Welsby Clark has been identified as the previously unknown World War II sailor who died after the sinking of an Australian warship 80 years ago.

The 21-year-old’s body was the only one recovered from more than 600 crew following the sinking of the HMAS Sydney in November 1941.

The able seaman from Brisbane survived the battle with disguised German merchant raider HSK Kormoran more than 200 kilometres off Western Australia’s Steep Point.

His remains were found off Christmas Island island but could not be unidentified and came to represent numerous young lives lost in battle.

DNA research means the sailor now has a name and two living relatives have been identified.

“To finally learn Tom’s name, rank, service number and home town, 80 years after he was lost, is truly remarkable”, Veterans Affairs Minister Andrew Gee said on Friday.

“It is says a lot about Australia that, despite the decades that have passed, our nation is still working so hard to identify those lost in war and ensuring we honour the sacred commitment to remember them.

“I know this is a terribly sad time for Tom’s family. Like his brave shipmates, he died defending Australia, our values and way of life. His family should be immensely proud.”

-AAP