What more can be discovered?
The following has been gleaned from contacts arising from this page being posted on the internet.
William Malachi Robert Hornegold was born at Aston Road, Merton on 27th October 1906. His mother was Mary Jane Hornegold, formerly Broderick, and his father was William Hornegold, a professional gymnast. I'm told that the birth certificate can be obtained from public records so would seem indisputable, but it is said that there is also a baptismal certificate that is identical in all details except that it gives the date of birth as 27th June 1906, so there are discrepancies. Also it will be noticed that the third name is Robert, not Broderick as on the gravestone (more about this later).
Then, to further muddy the waters, someone who has done considerable research into the Hornegold family says that while there are two Hornegolds mentioned on this certificate (father and son) there was another birth in 1906 where there was also a father and son named William Hornegold.
The story goes that William Malachi Robert Hornegold got married in 1931 and had four daughters but was not of good character. A relative describes him as always striving for attention, a prolific liar, and someone who would make anything up to impress. The result was that several misdeameans culminated in a five year prison sentence in Wandsworth jail around 1948. His wife left him and, according to one source, emigrated to Canada; according to another stayed in this country.
When Hornegold went to prison, the story continues, Martin Bormann was already in this country. Whether he had been spirited out of Germany as the OpJB book claims, or whether he made a deal with the British to save his skin is not certain. What he needed was a new identity. It is said that the the man who went into Wandsworth Prison with the name of William Malachi Robert Hornegold, was not the man who came out with that name. The supposedly worthless, uneducated offender who, it is also claimed, held some admiration for the Nazis had, during his incarceration, somehow become a well spoken, bilingual expert in the gas and petrol industry. And in 1949 he, or someone else, got his name changed by deed poll as shown in this announcement in the London Gazette: - NOTICE is hereby given that by a deed poll dated 24th November 1949, and duly enrolled in the Supreme Court of Judicature on the 8th day of December, 1949, PETER MICHAEL BRODERICK HARTLEY, 16 Belfield Road, West Ewell, in the count of Surrey, Electrical Engineer, a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies by birth, renounced and abandoned the first names of William Malachi Robert and the surname of Hornegold. Dated this 16th day of December 1949.
........................................................................................ .....................................................................................Photo right - Peter Broderick Hartley
Who is this apparent 'new' man? Could he be Peter Bormann who has first undergone debreifing in order to not only discover the whereabouts of Nazi loot in hidden Swiss accounts but also to discover many other things he knew, such as the names of spies, traitors, defectors, Nazis fleeing the retribution of the War Crimes Court, and much more; and had undergone a complete make-over to prepare him for his new life in England? It has been claimed that William Hornegold, with plastic surgery, was a Bormann lookalike and was used as such, although a relative of his says he had no cosmetic surgery at all. Is it possible that the reverse is true, with Bormann having surgery to make him look like Hornegold cum Hartley? If so, what happened to the real Hornegold?
We now, the story goes, have a man named Peter Michael Broderick Hartley who starts to live a new kind of life. He goes abroad in pursuance of his natural fuels career and generally meets well-placed people and lives fairly well. Eventually he meets Johanne Russell (in the OpJB book she is called Johanne Nelson but the Nelson surname was apparently the result of a much later marriage). Johanne, or Hanne, as she also is known, (aka Nelson, Tonsberg ) claimed to be Danish and worked for the City Bank in Copenhagen during the war. Information from a German friend of someone who has investigated this matter for many years spoke to her back in the sixties and said she spoke perfect German and had a Rhineland accent! They add that the English police records of Peter M. B. Hartley state he spoke with German accent. They checked out the Danish records, and Hanne was divorced from Tonsberg (her first husband) sometime before the end of the war.
It is said that Hanne and Hartley did not live together but for a while Hartley lived in a house owned by Philip, Hanne's son from her previous marriage to a British intelligence officer. One day Philip reveals to visitors that in a room of the house there is a locked room full of German flags, documents and artefacts. He shows the visitors the room.but Hanne finds out this has happened and returns from abroad. She discovers that the visitors are more than they appear, they are enquirers after the whereabouts of Martin Bormann and have a newspaper journalist with them. The visitors are ordered out and the next day the house is boarded up and empty, in spite of it not belonging to her but to her son, Philip, who is said to have later died in suspicious cicumstances. At some point in their relationship it is said that Hartley made the claim to Hanne that he was Peter Bormann. Their liaison produces a daughter in spite of the fact that they never lived together.
Hartley later lived at a house called Little Beeches in Wray Common Road, Reigate, where he died in 1989. He was buried in plot 9169 in the Catholic section of Redstone cemetery, the grave was unmarked. The person who seems to have had charge of the burial is one of William Hornegold's daughters from his 1931 marriage. Possibly she had not seen her father for many years. Whether she had to identify the body is unknown. Perhaps it was she who put the gravestone there in the mid-1990s. If so why did she get the name wrong, putting Broderick instead of Robert and as a 2nd name instead of the 3rd? Perhaps because another discrepancy is that on Hartley's death certificate his third name was given as Roderick instead of Robert as on his birth certificate, and, knowing that Broderick was a family name from a generation before, she was thinking that she was correcting a mistake. Or perhaps there's more to it than that.