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Home Breaking Excavation in Gibraltar Fails to Uncover Clues in Decades-Old Disappearance of Royal Navy Sailor

Excavation in Gibraltar Fails to Uncover Clues in Decades-Old Disappearance of Royal Navy Sailor

In a renewed effort to solve the mystery of Royal Navy Rating Simon Parkes’ disappearance over 37 years ago, a joint investigative team led by Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary, in collaboration with the Defence Serious Crime Unit, recently concluded a five-day excavation in Gibraltar. The operation, which took place at Town Range Car Park and Trafalgar Cemetery starting January 15, 2024, aimed to uncover any new evidence that could provide closure to a case that has puzzled authorities since 1986.

Simon Parkes, a radio operator hailing from Bristol, vanished in December 1986 while his ship, HMS Illustrious, was moored in Gibraltar. The 18-year-old was last seen disembarking the ship but never made it back, leading to a wide-ranging search that, until now, has failed to ascertain his whereabouts or fate. This latest excavation followed an initial dig in August 2023, which identified a potential area of interest within the Town Range Car Park. Despite the thorough examination of over twelve tonnes of material, including areas around and inside a water tank, the investigation team has not unearthed any significant findings.

Detective Chief Inspector Adam Edwards, who is spearheading the investigation, shared his disappointment over the lack of new discoveries, stating, “There is no intention to expand our search area or move to other locations at this time. However, it is important to stress that our investigation does remain ongoing.” He praised the resilience and dedication of the officers involved in the operation under challenging conditions and expressed gratitude towards the military and Royal Gibraltar Police for their support.

The enduring mystery of Simon Parkes’ disappearance continues to cast a shadow over his family, who have been living with the uncertainty of his fate for over three decades. The collaborative effort between the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Constabulary, Royal Gibraltar Police, and the Ministry of Defence underscores the commitment to finding answers and bringing solace to Parkes’ parents.

As the investigation persists, authorities are appealing to the public for any information that might shed light on Simon Parkes’ disappearance. Individuals with knowledge of the case are urged to contact Hampshire Police on 101, quoting Operation Thornhill, submit details via the police website, or provide information anonymously through Crimestoppers at 0800 555 111. The search for truth continues, with hopes that new leads will eventually surface, bringing closure to a case that has remained unresolved for far too long.

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