In June of 1942, a Japanese submarine sunk an Australian commercial ship that was located just off the coast of Victoria. It was not until April 2019 that marine archaeologists discovered the site of the wreck.
The discovery of the sunken ship is noteworthy to historians; yet, the discovery had a bigger influence on the life of one particular individual. The disaster claimed the life of Frank Stewart, who was the father of Bill Stewart, a citizen of Sydney who was 90 years old.
The little boy had been staying in an orphanage while his father and sister were out at sea, so that’s where he was when he found out the devastating news. After their mother passed away many years ago, the two children were left without a parent and were considered orphans.
In an unexpected turn of events, the siblings were eventually separated from one another; Bill was placed in a boys’ home in Adelaide as his sister Beryl was being adopted there at the same time.
It was thought that the two needed to have a “clean break” from their respective other family members. Bill recalled the event, saying, “We threw our arms around one other and cried hysterically.” I never saw Beryl again.”
Both individuals looked for the other at various points throughout time. They persisted in their endeavors in spite of their lack of success. Beryl looked for her brother who had been missing for a very long time.
“I spent years looking for any information I could find regarding Bill’s whereabouts or where he had gone, but to no avail.” Nothing seemed to connect the two until 2019, when their father’s ship was finally located by a CSIRO research vessel headquartered near Hobart named Investigator.
After the discovery of the disaster, it was determined that a memorial ceremony should be organized for the crew members’ descendants who were still alive at the time.
Bill is aware of the memorial’s existence. It was via this that he was able to make contact with a distant cousin by the name of Kylie Watson, who offered to help him look for his sister.
As a result of their inquiry, they found themselves back in Adelaide, and there, the two of them placed an advertisement in the local paper. “That same Sunday, my granddaughter contacted me with the good news that Beryl was alive and would contact me in 10 minutes.”
Beryl reflected on the day she first learned the news and shared her reaction, adding, “I sobbed when I heard Billy was alive.” They got together in person once again not long after that.
Beryl reminisced about that challenging day by adding, “I couldn’t get into Bill’s arms quickly enough; we just held one another and couldn’t let go.”
Beryl shared her sentiments, stating, “I love him truly, and it’s been a miracle in my eyes that we met one another after almost 80 years.” After Bill had come back into her life, she made the statement, “I just don’t want it to ever end.