Sean Fantome

09 Mar

Dear Flynnmates,

a 1990 PARIS MATCH article about Sean Flynn`s last months in Cambodia titled: “Le Fantome de Sean Flynn”, draws its conclusions about what ultimately happened to the son of Captain Blood.

The main source is Tim Page`s quest together with an English broadcasting team to locate the tomb of Sean. The other two are the books “Dispatches” of Apocalypse Now and Full Metal Jacket inspirator Michael Herr and “Enquete sur un crucifié” of a certain Jean Lartéguy. The in depth coverage depicts a probable turn of events surrounding the disappearances of Sean Flynn and his correspondent companion Dana Stone on April 6th 1970.

While the Sixties were gearing up for a space conquering second halftime, Sean was looking for new ventures which could give his life meaning. All mundane things other youngsters are eternally longing for, had almost come way too easy for the charming and charismatic offspring of Ol`Errol and Tiger Lil`. He had six movies under an inherited swashbuckler`s belt, but with each outing on film his father`s shadow seemed only to grow larger. All of a sudden he was stuck with the sole role of playing Riviera heartthrob around the elusive beaches of tiny Saint Tropez. When his innate need for artistic expression urged venting, he set out to become a photographer. His first assignment was to cover the Vietnam War for Paris Match in 1966.

“The only true adventure in life is war and death, and I will live this adventure.” True to his word he participated in covert operations of the Green Berets, always in the middle of combat action. Young soldiers, who never had heard of Errol Flynn, kept questioning themselves, what had brought this good looking guy to this forlorn front line, while most of them had been drafted to go to war against their wills. Sean`s fierceness earned him the respect of military man, whose orders a free spirit like his could have never obeyed, had he become a soldier. Four fighting years on it seemed that he had completely forgotten his pledge to settle in Bali and the plan to built a house by the sea. He no longer felt the son of a Hollywood hero. He had found his true calling. Finally he had become the original instead of a remake of his old man.

The open door Mercedes with flat tires right in the middle of Highway RC No.1 has ambush written over it. Sean and Dana discuss how to proceed on their red Honda motorcycles. Dana argues the main road connecting Saigon with Phnom Penh, where the wife of Dana Stone was waiting, to be fairly safe. While Sean opts for a U- turn, Stone wants to press on to go get Louise. So they do. On the morning of April 6th the two daredevil reporters disappear five miles east of the village of Chi Phou. Around that time the 40th reconnaissance battalion of the North Vietnamese army was on retreat after an offense by the US army in that area . Officially Cambodia still is a neutral country. But by 1970 it had become a clandestine battleground between North Vietnam and the US. An extraterritorial, mountainous retreat for the North Vietnamese is another massive roadblock on the American way to victory. Hanoi would not, the USA could not admit a geographical extension of the war of the two Vietnams. Dana and Sean had stumbled upon a military secret not deemed ready to expose to the world.

Tim Page thinks the two are stripped off their shoes and made to walk barefoot on concrete for four miles to an adjacent temple. There they are interrogated, with Sean handling the procedure speaking French fluently. This will get you nowhere, when the North Vietnamese officer can still remember vividly the French as the last oppressor army from the Indochina war before. They then supposedly are turned over to the local Khmer Rouge chieftain of the village. After taking Sean`s Rolex watch the Khmer in chief sends them up north to a plantation in Songe Kaong. From there they are tossed from village to village like hot potatoes. First from Roko Khaor to Peu, later on to Kharach Chmar. A female political commissar called El Am Nas recalled Dana Stone having lost his glasses and being very sick. Their last stop comes at the village of Bei Met. Unsure what to do with two foreign non soldiers no side was claiming, Page speculates, they are executed at the banks of the Mekong River not later than June 12th of 1971.

Madame Nas said, despite an apparent undernourishment, Sean still handled himself gracefully under pressure. Not only his hair and height set him apart. His striking presence had not left him. He lived his dream and it showed.

Don`t look for his bones. Look for his soul on a solitary beach in Bali.


— shangheinz


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  1. Gentleman Tim

    March 10, 2021 at 8:11 am

    Ol`Errol and Tiger Lil`. War and death. Sean and Stone. V. Nam and K. Rouge. Bones and soul. Errol and Son.

    Superb, balishanghai! So great to have you back!



    So tragically, Sean’s time on Earth was running out in Nam………

    • shangheinz

      March 10, 2021 at 11:43 am

      Sean left much too young, much too soon, Gentlemarine Tim. And he saved some lives too along the way. See at the 5:03 mark- the man on the stretcher very probable is Tim Page.…

  2. Jack Marino

    March 10, 2021 at 8:16 am

    This is what I was told by an Australian who lives and works in Vietnam as a ‘bone hunter’. He digs up the remains of US Soldiers, Viet Cong, and Aussie soldiers. He sent me his report about where Sean Flynn and Dana Stone are approximately buried. He told me that Tim Page has all his facts wrong and throughout the decades he has changed his story from article to article.

    “MAC” told me that he met the guy who witnesses the killing of Sean Flynn and Dana Stone, they were all young men at the time.

    They weren’t killed by Viet Cong or Khmer Rouge, NVRA, or commies. They were stopped on the road by Cambodian ‘bandits’ who would rob or kill anyone including Khmer Rouge soldiers, just for the shoes and clothes they wore.

    These bandits and he used another name for them, ” jungle N word’ and they were naked and dirt poor. They grabbed Sean and Dana off their bikes and marched them. into the jungle about 50 yards or so, I don’t remember how far.

    The man who shot Flynn and Stone is still alive or at least he was at the time MAC was told this and shown the area where the bodies are buried. He was the chief of this tribe of bandits

    They were both shot and put into a shallow grave except for their camera and shoes. MAC believes from his questioning, he was told that Sean was buried with all his papers and press credentials still on his person.

    He sent me the report years ago and I don’t have his permission to publish it and I haven’t read it in many years. Tim Page was looking in all the wrong places.

    The last time I was in contact with MAC he was trying to get audio equipment that can penetrate the ground and look for remains buried in the ground, He has an idea where the location and where the remains are. Today I have no idea of where MAC is or if he is still working in the business he was in, finding remains of soldiers.

    • shangheinz

      March 10, 2021 at 11:50 am

      To give Time Page credit, it became an obsession to bring his friend Sean`s remains back home and have them buried.
      Maybe MAC is much closer to the truth- thanks for filling us in, Sockless Jack. Here is another source with a rather accurate approach:…

      • Ralph Schiller

        March 12, 2021 at 11:28 pm

        If the remains of Sean Flynn and his friend Dana Stone have not been located in 50 years, then they are lost in the fog of war.

        • shangheinz

          March 13, 2021 at 10:00 am

          Sean‘s Leica was found recently, RR. Maybe his last pictures on film will one day:…

          • Ralph Schiller

            March 26, 2021 at 6:12 pm

            Heinz, I can’t thank-you enough for this superb article from the Asiatimes. Film deteriorates very fast so unless someone processed the film 50 years ago it turned into liquid and then dust. As John Garfield said “Dust be my destiny.”