CLAIMED that Erroll had
been shot by British agents
four OF A SIX
PART SPECIAL ARTICLE by
- - A mystery voice
had informed Roddy that the chief suspect, Sir Jock Delves Broughton,
had actually been working for British intelligence so as to garner
information from Erroll.
role had been to establish friendship with Erroll upon reaching
Nairobi; thence he was to pass on such data as he acquired from
Kenya's Assistant Military Secretary himself, to "someone in
also promised to let me see a file of confidential correspondence
written over several years on the Erroll murder confessing that one
letter was from the Coroner on the Broughton case in 1941.
referred to a female agent in Nairobi yet having whetted my appetite,
Roddy suddenly seemed to have cold feet.
if stalling for time, he claimed to have temporarily mislaid the
papers but when I got back from England scouting for more information
on my new project, the 'missing file' had turned up.
to his word, Roddy handed over these confidential papers.
- - Sir Jock
Broughton with a Maasai girl
at Nderit Estate, Nakuru.
COURTESY - ERROL TRZEBINSKI)
was a hand-written four page letter from the late Kate Challis, who
had written in bold capitol letters on her opening page 'Confidential
and not for publication.'
then proceeded to spell out that Erroll had been shot by British
I gradually deciphered her scrawl, the following statement leapt from
the pale blue vellum: "When 'White Mischief' was being
filmed in Kenya, a neighbour who worked for M.I.5. [sic] during and
before the war, told me that as it was now over forty years ago, she
felt able to say that Erroll [sic] was a severe security risk
and he was shot, because unlike the Oswald Mosley Nazis who could be
interned, Errol's case was much more complex."
letter ended, "Don't reply."
for me Roddy had disobeyed Kate Challis's wishes; that somewhat
shocking statement catapulted me into a world about which I knew
nothing ... indeed a world of mirrors lay in wait.
editor, Emma put me in touch with the author Tom Bower, who provided
three useful contacts who might be able guide me through the maze.
long I was able to establish that the M.I.6. agent in Kenya was Joan
Hodgson, whose field had actually been Nairobi for years.
was even given a physical description by one of her many
I was informed was 'of medium height, slim, mousy hair going grey,
rather untidy looking and in no way smart, but with plenty to say ...
nondescript as are so many M.I.5 and M.I.6 personnel'.
eighteen months, three separate sources had corroborated this fact.
- - Diani,
wife, of Sir Jock
COURTESY - ERROL TRZEBINSKI)
publication a fourth affirmation has been made face to face with me;
Joan Hodgson 'made no bones about working for M.I.6.
offices were not far from the High Street Kensington fire-station.' I
felt duty bound to warn Merlin Hay, 24 Earl of Erroll, that he may not
necessarily like what I might unearth so as to write a full length
biography of his grandfather.
the 22nd Earl had actually been assassinated, then a full length study
of the man was necessary anyhow or we should never know why.
grandson, displayed faith in me, a total stranger so heaven knows why,
allowing me access to correspondence from people who had been prompted
to defend his grand-father's character from time to time over the
came from a retired Lt. Colonel John Gouldbourn, living in the north
Gouldbourn reluctantly agreed to see me, once I had made a few salient
points on the telephone.
had also warned me that I would be 'wasting my time travelling to
Lancashire' to see him.
the sitting room of his bungalow, while his wife went off to make tea,
Gouldborn had whipped out his military credentials from his breast
pocket as proof of his identity. I felt slightly embarrassed, and even
had simply never occurred to me that I could be interviewing an
things turned out, he was behaving impeccably, for my own sake.
Gouldbourn's warning, for that is what it had, been 'trust no-one'
showed just how much he knew what he was about.
contacts proved to incredibly valuable in due course.
at this point, they were simply names - people I would have to try and
trace, without a single address or telephone number.
suggestions as to how to go about what seemed to me to be an
impossible task were helpful:
could ring the Egon Ronay guide, there might be a forwarding address.
Try the Financial Times, etc."