Page last updated at 13:44 GMT, Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Mary Rose crew man's recreated face goes on display

The face of Bosun
The Bosun may have been partly responsible for the ship sinking

The reconstructed face of a crew member from the Mary Rose is going on display at the ship's museum in Portsmouth.

The face of the man, thought to have been of a rank known as Bosun, was created by forensic artists from a skull recovered from the wreck.

It was given to the Mary Rose Trust to be displayed along with other objects found on board the fated warship.

The Mary Rose sank on 19 July 1545 with the loss of more than 400 lives, after 34 years of service.

Only a handful of the crew and soldiers survived and Henry VIII was reported to have heard the screams of the drowning men as he helplessly stood and watched from Southsea Castle.

Gunports open

Archaeologists believe the man was a Bosun because he was found with the emblem of this comparatively senior status, a Bosun's call - a whistle.

There are many theories about why the ship sank, but evidence from the wreck itself suggests the ship put about with its gunports open, was hit by a squall and went down.

Ensuring that the gunports were closed would have been the Bosun's job, which has led researchers to suggest that this man was "at least partly responsible for the disaster".

The Mary Rose settled deep into the silty bed of the Solent, which preserved the many thousands of unique artefacts in excellent condition.

The wreck was discovered in the 1960s and in 1982 it was raised to the surface to be restored in dry dock in Portsmouth.

John Lippiett, chief executive of the trust, said: "It is great to have the opportunity to see what the Bosun looked like after all these years and to welcome his arrival in our museum."

A new £35m museum building to house the wrecked ship is currently being built and is due to be complete in 2012.

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