The discovery of torpedoed hospital ship Centaur off Brisbane last month may have solved a longtime family mystery.
Sydney resident Karen Schuler said her uncle, John Frederick Schuler of Victoria, vanished during World War II, leaving behind a wife and two sons.
The deep-sea sonar discovery of the Centaur led Ms Schuler to online military archives showing a handwritten "Schuler" in the margin of the list of nearly 270 victims of the Japanese submarine attack.
"I really had been flying in the dark. All I had were family stories," she said. "I rang my sister at four in the morning I was so excited.."
The second phase of the AHS Centaur search begins today as the search vessel Seahorse Spirit returns to the shipwreck site to identify Centaur using a submersible video camera.
It will spend four or five days recording the wreck at 2000m and placing a memorial plaque from Centaur Association families.
John Schuler, who would have been about 25 at the time of the sinking, joined the Citizen Military Forces just before the war. Another military record showed he was given active service but did not show his unit.