Police to search cemetery in Gibraltar for missing sailor last seen in 1986

Police are digging for remains in Gibraltar, 33 years after the disappearance of Portsmouth sailor Simon Parkes.

Simon was 18 years old and serving on HMS Illustrious. But when the Navy ship docked in Gibraltar in 1986, Simon vanished never to be seen again.

Today Hampshire Police announced they have new information and have begun a new search. A specialist team has flown over in an effort to find out what happened to Simon once and for all.

A week-long search will be carried out at Trafalgar Cemetery this week. The team includes experts in forensics, who will be working closely with Royal Gibraltar Police.

Simon Parkes Credit: Hampshire Police

Royal Navy Rating Parkes, who worked as a radio operator, went onto shore but never made it back on-board and when the ship returned to Portsmouth days later, no one knew what had happened to him despite a huge manhunt to find him.

Since then investigations into his disappearance have so far failed to find answers for his devastated parents.

However, following new information received by Hampshire Police earlier this year, the investigation is making new progress and has led officers back to Gibraltar.

A week-long search will be carried out at Trafalgar Cemetery Credit: Hampshire Police
Detective Inspector Roger Wood Credit: Hampshire Police
Simon's parents, Margaret and David Parkes Credit: Hampshire Police