In the small office upstairs at the newspaper, Samantha showed Charlie the record of the court martial proceedings and the notes she had made comparing them with the entries in the diary.
‘It’s a very different account to that written by my grandmother about what my great uncle, Johnny Faulkner told her.’ said Samantha, thumbing through the pages of the leather bound diary.
‘If the diary records the true story of what happened, then the evidence and the witness statements against him in the trial were just a fabrication of lies. In fact, it makes the verdict smack of a cover up!’
‘Give us your reasons, Sam.’ asked Charlie.
‘Well, for one thing, why did Anthony Barker turn so quickly against his close friend? The diary confirms what Dave Brockelhurst said that they went to the same school and university and joined the same RAF squadron. It records that they both flew in France during the early part of the war and took part in the Dunkirk evacuation. You’d have thought Barker should have stood by his friend of many years and not attacked and vilified him?’
‘Friends fall out, you know, in times of worry and stress, which those two must have experienced, especially during a war.’
‘Yes, I accept that, boss. Barker says in his statement that he saw your uncle attack the Czech pilot’s Hurricane and suggested it was a case of mistaken identity.’ Samantha flicked through the diary, put her finger on a page and showed Charlie the relevant entry. ‘But here it confirms the statement Uncle Johnny made that he shot the Czech pilot down because he was trying to take the Hurricane with its secret radar to the Germans in France.’
‘How can you prove that?’ asked Charlie. ‘Barker swore under oath he observed the Hurricane with the secret radar crash into the sea.’
‘But Dave told you they found and identified the Hurricane fitted with the secret radar in Romney Marsh with the maps and camera.’
‘That’s right, he did.’ agreed Charlie.
‘I reckon Barker knew the Czech pilot was a spy and told the enquiry it crashed in the sea, so that the RAF couldn’t salvage it and find the incriminating evidence.’
‘In my book that makes my uncle a hero and Barker a traitor in cahoots with the Czech spy.’ stated Samantha.
‘Maybe.’ acknowledged Charlie.
‘Look here, another entry in the diary says that a Squadron Leader Long, their flight commander, had evidence that supported Uncle Johnny’s claim that he was innocent. But he was killed in a hit and run accident near the airfield only three days before the trial.’
‘That’s worth checking out and as it was in the local area, there might be something in the archives about it.’
Samantha made a note to check them to see if there was any mention of the accident.
‘Hey up, it’s getting late.’ he said, looking at his watch. ‘Better call it a day.’
Just at that moment, the phone rang and Charlie answered it.
‘Hi Charlie, its Dave Brockelhurst from the museum. I have something here you might want to see for that story you’re doing.’ he said over the line.
‘Hi Dave, I’m just finishing up here. How about I come up now?’
‘Great, and if you want we can go for a pint afterwards.’
‘Sounds good. Hang on a sec, Dave.’ said Charlie and turned to Samantha.
‘Have you got anything planned for this evening?’
‘No, I’m just going home and chucking a pizza in the oven.’
‘It’s Dave, he wants to see me and suggested going for a drink and some grub afterwards. There’s a pub close by the museum.’
‘OK, sounds like a plan.’ agreed Samantha.
‘Hi Dave, sorry about that. Sam’s coming as well and we’ve got something to show you.’
‘All right, I’ll see you soon, then.’ he replied and ended the call.
‘OK, Sam, let’s take those to show Dave and see what he makes of them.’
Samantha gathered up the records, notes and diary and put them in her bag and they went out of the office.