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Aussie billionaire's ambitious mission to recover family remains

<p>Australia's richest man is undertaking an ambitious mission to bring the remains of a long-lost loved one home, to keep a promise he made to his father before he died. </p> <p>Andrew 'Twiggy' Forrest's uncle was one of many Australians who died during the conflict in Papua New Guinea in the 1940s. </p> <p>David Forrest was shot down piloting his RAAF Beaufort bomber into an attack on a Japanese-held airstrip at Gasmata in Papua New Guinea in 1943.</p> <p>The loss has haunted the family ever since, as David's remains were never found. </p> <p>"[We] got the letter, from the king in those days, saying that uncle David was missing and presumed killed in action," Twiggy told <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>A Current Affair</em></a>. </p> <p>"Dad went through extreme emotions and grief and since that day he never cried for the rest of his life.</p> <p>"For the next 80 years he couldn't shed a tear it was just overwhelming for him."</p> <p>Twiggy's dad Donald had long said he wanted to hold his brother's dog tags before he died, but after passing away last year at the age 95, he was unable to fulfil his final wish. </p> <p>"Unfortunately we lost dad six months ago so I haven't fulfilled that, but it's really to put closure around something that really wrenched our family," he said.</p> <p>In order to bring closure to the family, Twiggy and his sister Janine have travelled to PNG onboard a purpose-built research vessel and joined by a crew of experts, including marine archeologists.</p> <p>The mission has been ongoing for many years with the blessing of the PNG government and the assistance of RAAF members, but has remained under wraps until now. </p> <p>In 2021, the family thought they had a breakthrough with their mission. </p> <p>"It was really emotional, very heart-wrenching as you went down into the depths thinking, 'Am I going to dive on uncle David's plane and be part of solving the mystery maybe of his remains maybe even his dog tags?'</p> <p>The serial number on David Forrest's Beaufort bomber was A9-188, but the bomber they'd found was A9-186.</p> <p>"I had to tell Dad I can confirm it was a Beaufort bomber, I can confirm it was Australians, but I have to confirm it wasn't your brother's. That was tough."</p> <p>While Twiggy admitted that the chances of finding his uncle's remains are slim, he said he owed it to his father to keep looking. </p> <p>"For my kids and myself, the standard I hold myself to is doing your absolute best," he said. </p> <p>"It's not whether or not you achieve it, it's did you do your best?"</p> <p><em>Image credits: A Current Affair </em></p>

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