Flt Sgt John Fraser
Report from the Daily Telegraph:
A military historian denied stealing a logbook belonging to the widow of one of the heroes killed in the 1943 Dambusters mission.
Alex Bateman – a former employee at the prestigious Harrow public school [*SEE BELOW] – was writing a book on the Dambusters raid at the time, and was also working on a documentary.
The 48-year-old persuaded Doris Fraser to hand over the £20,000 piece of memorabilia, which had belonged to her late husband Flight Sergeant John Fraser, for his research.
Sergeant Fraser was one of two men to survive a plane crash during a mission with the famous 617 squadron in the Ruhr Valley in 1943.
After the war, Mrs Fraser and her children began a new life in Canada, but offered to help Bateman when she spotted a newspaper ad about his work.
Mrs Fraser posted him the log book in January 1996, and it is claimed repeatedly asked for the log book to be returned before reporting him to the police.
Bateman appeared via video link [*SEE BELOW] at Wood Green Crown Court to deny one count of theft today.
He was bailed ahead of his trial in the week beginning January 9 next year.
Prosecutor Nicholas Cribb today asked for a video link to Canada so Mrs Fraser, now 92, and her daughter Cherie, 66, [*SEE BELOW] can give evidence at trial.
Bateman, formerly of Harrow, denies one count of theft.
It is important for readers of this blog to understand that they should not make public statements which could prejudice the trial. For that reason comments on this post are disabled.
UPDATE: Further report from the Harrow Times.
* FURTHER UPDATE: There are several errors of fact in the Telegraph’s report above.
- Alex Bateman was never an employee of Harrow School. He had worked as an archivist at Harrow High School, where he had previously been a pupil.
- He did not appear by video link at the hearing reported above. He was present in court.
- Mrs Fraser’s daughter in Canada is called Shere, not Cherie, and is 60.