The Aireborough Advertiser has thrown down a challenge to Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott, to explain why a woman whose husband was presumed lost at sea 26 years ago has been told she must divorce him before re-marrying.
It has given the monthly newspaper an exclusive angle on one of the most mysterious marine stories of all time.
In February 1974, the Hull trawler the Gaul sank with all hands in the Barents Sea off the North Cape. Twenty six years later, how and why she sank remains a mystery.
Sheila Doone’s radio operator husband John was one of the 36 crew presumed drowned.
Now she would like to marry the partner who has supported her in recent years, but has been told by her local registrar that she cannot until she divorces her first husband – even though she receives a widow’s pension.
The families of the crew are currently waiting to hear whether Mr Prescott, a Hull MP, will sanction a robotic dive to the bottom of The Barents Sea to discover what happened to the crew of The Gaul. He has said a manned dive is too dangerous.
In the latest issue of the Advertiser, editor Graham Smith writes: “Has she not suffered enough years of rumour, intrigue and mystery to be allowed to spend the rest of her life in peace with her partner? Apparently not.”
The Advertiser is sending a letter and a copy of its story to Mr Prescott to ask for his support.
The Advertiser is also in touch with the widow of a former friend of Mr Doone who claimed that he saw him in a South African bar in October 1978, four years after The Gaul sank. The newspaper is continuing to investigate the claim, and other aspects of the mystery.
The Advertiser article concludes: “We invite Mr Prescott to resolve at least a small part of the mystery of The Gaul. Allow Sheila Doone to marry the man who has been her tower of strength in her darkest times. When he has done that we feel sure he will want to turn his attentions to satisfying the families of the other 35 men who were on board The Gaul all those years ago. What happened to them Mr Prescott? Or is there something you and the Government are not telling us?”
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