THE SUNDERLAND SITE - PAGE 500
SUPPLEMENTARY DATA RE
CAPITAINE LOUIS MALBERT
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A partial translation, from Swedish into English, of the Swedish newspaper articles referred to at the bottom of the Captaine Louis Malbert listing, which listing can be found here. We thank Birgitta Sadler, of Toronto, Canada, for her fine translation.
What happened? On the morning of Dec. 30, 1963, while en route, in dense fog, from Hartlepool, U.K., to Aarhus, Denmark, with a cargo of coal, Capitaine Louis Malbert was in collision with Rosborg, a Danish tanker. At 57.02.367N/12.00.016E, 10 miles SW of Varberg, Sweden. Joseph Huet, the captain of Capitaine Louis Malbert, attempted to beach the vessel but in so doing the ship vanished into the fog. The vessel sank 6 hours after the collision. Eight lives were lost & the bodies of two of the eight were never recovered. While Captain Huet was one of the two crew members whose body was not recovered, I do not think that I know the name of the second crew member. Nor the exact location of the wreck.
Fishermen find a skull in their net.
Could be the remains of one of the eight dead on 'Capitaine Louis Malbert'
Fishermen from Nordland have found an unusual catch - a human skull.
Now it is up to police forensics to sort out the origin of the skull.
The theory is that it is from one of the men on Capitaine Louise Malbert, the French collier that one December night in 1963 sank off the coast of Halland (a province on the west coast of Sweden) where eight seamen lost their lives.
The shipwreck of the French vessel is a well known reference point for fishermen from Halland.
Fisherman Bertil Anderson from Nordland has set out numerous traps around the French vessel, at Lilla Middlegrund, without giving much thought to the boats fate.
After a fishing trip in the beginning of June he is looking at it in a whole different way. 'We had done a few turns around the wreck and I was standing in the front of the boat sorting the catch. When we emptied the net we discovered a skull along with the sea crayfish.
I have been fishing for 37 years and have never seen anything like it. Bertil said 'you can't help to be effected even if this is old'.
When we arrived back on land we handed over our catch to the police in Varberg. The skull is now in a brown paper bag waiting to be sent to the medical experts in Stockholm.
We don't know more than anyone else. First we need to establish its age, then we will see what information the skull can provide, says Inspector Tommy Fälth, who assures us the find is not connected to any crime.
The discovery of a skull in the net has been a hot topic of conversation among the fishermen in Nordland. Many are convinced that the skull comes from one of the men on Capitaine Louis Malbert, the French collier which one December night sank outside the coast of Halland. In which eight men died.
The shipwreck- located only 9 sea miles outside the coast of Halland off Trälövsläge - is a popular place for divers. No body parts had so far been located in the area.
Bertil Anderson's theory is that the skull has been covered in mud on the sea bottom and had therefore been preserved during the 40 + years since the accident.
The shipwreck is well intact and it is relatively easy to get close to it. The skull has possibly been covered by the boat and only now come dislodged and ended up in our net. If it is indeed from the French shipwreck we are thinking of the families. Even if forty years has gone by it can be important to get answers. It would be great if this discovery could help someone. There is a list of name and age and residence of the seamen (follows).
Those who died aboard Capitaine Louis Malbert
Joseph Huet, Captain, age 52, Saint-Malo
Raphaël Rochard, Chief Engineer, age 30, Le Tronchet
Pierre Georges, engineer, age 30, Saint-Méloir des Ondes
Pierre Julien, helmsman, age 50, Penhars-Quimper
Jules Lesaignoux, helmsman, aged 20, Pleslin
Alphonse Le Polles, sailor. aged 24, Plouezec
Marcel Penneman, ?, age 27, Beuzec cap Sizun
Claude Malherbe, sailor, aged 35, home data withheld
One helpful thing in solving this is that the names of the eight seamen are available. (Webmaster's note: the list is above). In the records that include a French survivor's account written a month after the accident, we know that of the eight men that died seven jumped overboard before the ship sank. It seems reasonable that they were caught by the tide and floated away. Only one person was left onboard. The ship's captain Joseph Huet, age 52, from Saint-Malo, refused to jump ship & went down with the Capitaine Louis Malbert.
Caption under the picture at left: Paint cans and plastic bags and all kinds of garbage but never a human skull have I had in the nets said Bertil Anderson. I hope that the police technicians will be able to establish the identity of the mysterious find.
It is difficult but not impossible to identify the skull.
The question is are the French willing to do the necessary research?
Of course it is possible to identify the skull but the chances are small. This is what doctor Adam Berkowicz said after examining the skull which was caught in a fisherman's net outside Varberg.
Yesterday HN told the story of the fishermen who found a skull while fishing in Lilla Middelgrund.
One theory is that the skull comes from one of the eight men who died on the ship Capitaine Louis Malbert, which sank in December 1963 nine sea miles outside Varberg.
Doctor Adam Berkowicz in Göteborg (Gothenburg) is head of the department that will examine the skull and he realizes it is possibly from one of the French seamen who drowned.
According to Adam Berkowicz a skull can be at the bottom of the sea for ever. For instance bones from the crew of the ship Wasa have been found. In this case the teeth are missing which limits the amount of information that can be learned. But even after one has the name of the dead, it is possible to compare DNA with a family member. It is also possible to reconstruct the face to compare it with old photographs says Adam Berkowicz. However the accident was long ago and it is now known if the French authorities are interested in doing such research. But that is up to the police. The medical research done on Friday will tell the sex & age of the skull/person and how long it has been at the bottom of the sea within certain limitations.
From HN's articles from the accident in 1963 we know that six of the eight drowned seamen's bodies were recovered the day after in Varberg. There they were most likely identified and sent to France.
This means that the owner of the skull can belong to only two people, assuming that the skull comes from Capitaine Louis Malbert.
According to Adam Berkowicz the body most likely did not stay at the ship. When a dead body decompose it creates a gas that gives the body buoyancy. That is why many drowned bodies will float up and be carried to land. But the buoyancy is not very strong. A rope, or something else, can hold the body at the bottom. The climate can be such that the decomposition is not very fast. With time only the skeleton is left. Early results of the investigation will be available next week.
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