Our Chairman, Roy Howard, told us that Judge Derek Clarkson had related no less than five mysteries to us in three previous talks. Derek’s talks are always keenly anticipated and once again he did not disappoint.
Most of his hour’s talk concerned the mystery of Anne Anderson, the woman who claimed to be the Grand Duchess Anastasia, the youngest daughter of the Russian Tsar. She claimed to have escaped the murder of the rest of the Imperial family at Ekaterinburg ( now Sverdlovsk ) in 1918.
Anne appeared in Berlin in 1920 originally as “Fraulein Unbekannt” (Unknown ). She had certainly signs of ill treatment on her body but the Tsar’s mother and aunt did not accept her claims. Long legal cases followed over fifty years in Germany and the USA where she lived but her claims were neither accepted nor conclusively disproved during her lifetime. She died in 1984.
DNA tests on her bowel tissue afterwards disproved her claims but in 1991, when the bones of the Imperial family were recovered, Anastasia’s remains were missing.
Our speaker, Judge Clarkson, went on to talk about the familiar story of the Titanic to emphasise that the investigation of the remains of the ship since 1985 has shown that there was no massive gash in the side of the ship after the collision with the iceberg. Instead there were several small slits caused by a weakness of the steel produced by the Siemens-Martins process.
Derek indicated that he knew details of many other mysteries which he could relate on another occasion. This suggestion was greeted by warm applause. John Taylor