A Grave at Redstone Cemetery.
  
Martin Bormann, Hitler's right-hand man.The grave at Redhill Cemetery
 

The Background Story
     A book called 'Op. JB, The Last Great Secret of the Second World War', by Christopher Creighton, relates the story of the removal by British special forces led by Ian Fleming of Martin Bormann, Hitler's second in command, from Berlin just before its fall to the Allies at the end of WW2. The purpose of the operation. it is claimed, was to use him to recover billions of pounds appropriated by the Nazi and deposited in numbered Swiss bank accounts and elsewhere. According to the book Bormann lived at Highgate, London, from 1945 to 1946. The name he used there is not given. He was then moved to an English village where he lived with Captain Peter Grant and his Austrian wife, Marlene Schuler Grant, as her father, Martin Schuler. There he (apparently) died and was buried in the village churchyard in 1956.
      But in 1989 Creighton, the book's author, says he was taken to the Surrey countryside and after a pub lunch was driven to a cemetery of a country town. There he was taken to a patch of mown grass in the Roman Catholic section and told by Susan Kemp (a senior British intelligence operative) that this was the grave of 'Piglet' (the code name used for Martin Bormann during OpJB). Creighton says, however, that he was being used by M section in order to plant a false trail. Creighton goes on to say that in 1996 Susan Kemp finally revealed that in fact Prime Minister Anthony Eden had ordered that Bormann be removed from Britain. He had been taken to Paraguay where he died after a long illness in 1959. He was buried there but later exhumed and reburied in Berlin where his remains were found in 1972.
     The following is from the BBC News of Monday, 4 May, 1998: - A body unearthed on a Berlin building site in 1972 is Adolf Hitler's right-hand man, Martin Bormann, it has been reported. Experts said at the time of the discovery that the remains were those of Bormann, who helped to organise the Holocaust. They concluded that he died on May 2, 1945 - possibly in a poison suicide - as the Soviet army invaded.
     But rumours persisted that Bormann had fled the country for South America before the end of the war. The German authorities ordered genetic tests after a British book asserted that Bormann had been spirited away by British commandos after the war to help them track down looted Nazi gold. An 83-year-old relative of Bormann supplied the samples for the DNA comparison. The Welt am Sonntag newspaper said German authorities were now certain Bormann had committed suicide. Bormann's family now intend to cremate the body.
     A newspaper in Paraguay reported in 1993 that Bormann had lived in that country for three years, had died in Asuncion on February 15, 1959, and was buried in a nearby town.
     As one of the top Nazi suspects, Bormann was charged with war crimes and found guilty and sentenced to death in absentia in 1946 by an international military tribunal in Nuremberg.
      Meanwhile, according to the book OpJB, from 1952 a double was used by the British Intelligence Service as part of a scheme to confuse Bormann hunters. The books says that his name was Peter Broderick-Hartley. In 1960, somewhere in the south of England it is claimed, a man named Peter Broderick-Hartley began an affair with a Danish woman, Johanne Nelson. He told her he was Martin Bormann. They never lived together because he lived with a housekeeper called Hilda (also Amy Gant) whom he could not break free from, but Johanne Nelson did bear Broderick-Hartley a daughter. Their relationship lasted until his death on 20 June 1989. He was buried in the unmarked grave Creighton had seen at the 'country town cemetery'. Johanne Nelson did not attend.
     A futher BBC News item from Monday, 4 May, 1998 says:- Hapless reporters have travelled the globe in search of Hitler's confidante. More has been written about Martin Bormann since his disappearance in the dying days of World War II than during his lifetime as right-hand man to Adolf Hitler. Bormann joined the Nazi movement through the Freikorps and the German Nationalist Party, came to Hitler's attention early on and was rarely far from his side. In 1943 the mysterious man - described variously as "banal", "vulgar" and "a boot-licker" - became Secretary to the Führer. Unlike other prominent Nazi leaders like Goebbels, Goering and Himmler who enjoyed fame and notoriety, Bormann preferred to keep a low profile.
     "Figures like him are easily overlooked," wrote Jochen van Lang, Bormann's biographer. "He was never the hero of dramatic scenes, never stood in the limelight." Bormann maintained unlimited access to the Führer even when he withdrew from public life and took refuge at his country home at Berchtesgaden. Hitler's confidante took advantage of his leader's self-imposed isolation to run the Chancellery - and effectively took control of the Reich. Any minister wishing to see Hitler had to approach Bormann first.
     He was last seen on May 2, 1945 crouching beside a German tank near the Berlin bunker. At the Nuremberg trials after the war, Bormann was condemned to death in absentia for his leading role in the extermination of the Jews - and the long search for him began. The British and German press became obsessed in their quest for the man so close to Hitler, who was godfather to Bormann's first son, Adolf. Over the years, journalists, Nazi and bounty hunters were led from the remote jungles of South America ... to deepest Surrey. And at each turn the stories surrounding his whereabouts became more fantastical. Several would-be Bormanns were spotted and even arrested - a Guatemalan peasant in 1967, a 72-year-old German living in Colombia a few years later.
     The wild and imaginative stories about Bormann continued even after the discovery in 1972 of two skeletons near the Lehrter railway station in Berlin. The authorities said the men were probably Bormann and Ludwig Stumpfegger, one of Hitler's doctors. Splinters of glass cyanide capsules were found in the jawbones. It is believed they escaped from Hitler's bunker, were trapped by crossfire and killed themselves. Although the German Government was satisfied with this theory, they locked up the remains in a cupboard at the Frankfurt Public Prosecutor's Office. Family members were prevented from taking them away until there was final identification. Even the British historian Hugh Trevor-Roper admitted in his book 'The Last Days of Hitler', that there was no firm evidence that Martin Bormann was dead.

    In 1995 The News of the World told the story of a certain Peter Broderick-Hartley who had lived and died in Reigate, Surrey. The paper claimed he was, in fact, Martin Bormann, who had had plastic surgery. In 1996, a British publisher paid £500,000 for rights to a book claiming that Winston Churchill smuggled Hitler's lieutenant to England in 1945 to get access to Nazi gold held in Swiss bank accounts. The author of the James Bond books, Ian Fleming, was also said to be involved.
       Now, DNA tests seem to prove the skeleton found in Berlin is indeed that of Hitler's henchman.

 
       The News of the World article claims that Peter Broderick-Hartley, otherwise Martin Bormann, had lived and died at Reigate. An enquiry to Redhill Cemetery for information about an entry in the record book for Peter Broderick-Hartley produced the reply that 'No information about this entry other than the grave number can be given.' This tells us two things, firstly that there is such an entry, and secondly that there is something unusual about Peter Broderick-Hartley. Remember that these are public records. The kind of information that might be normally available could be about funeral arrangements.
         So we at least seem to have achieved some kind of a result. But there is more, for a look at the gravestone (and Creighton says that the grave he was shown was unmarked) reveals that the name upon it is not that of Peter-Broderick Hartley but of William Broderick Malachi Hornegold. Here is another major departure from the norm, as the name on the headstone is not supposed to differ from that in the register.
        

Note: - In 2007 Reigate Borough Council instituted a programme of safety checks on headstones at Redhill Cemetery. Any found to be unsafe have had extra support affixed in the form of a wooden post driven into the ground behind the stone and an attached strap around the stone. In the picture the post and blue strap can be seen. Those concerned are to be contacted regarding remedial work. If this does not produce results then the headstones concerned will be laid down.

Conclusions are difficult to arrive at as evidence is uncertain and contradictory and fact and fiction may well be intertwined. Questions, however, readily spring to mind. Among them is that if it is true that Bormann was brought to this country then did he indeed remain here for the rest of his life? If he did, and changed his name to Peter Broderick-Hartley, then whose were the bones identified as Bormann's in Berlin in 1972?
         If he did leave the country and died in Argentina in 1959 then the same question has to be asked. And if so, why was a double required to pose as him living under another name in England?
        And why is there secrecy surrounding the entry in the Redhill cemetery records - and why does the grave name differ from that in the record entry? If it was put there at a date other than that of the burial why did the authorities not check the name?

 

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.  

 
So there, in the absence of any alternative explanation, is the story. I know that the birth and death certificates are public records but am not claiming that any of the above is factual, I am merely passing on what others have told me. I have not named those others but have seen impressive records kept by some of them that give credence to their claims. I do not have any corroborative evidence myself . There are other stories; one being that Bormann did not come to this country alone but brought his wife and four daughters with him (Hornegold also had four daughters). Many of the people concerned are dead and it seems that the truth may never be known. My interest is from the Redhill and Reigate local history viewpoint only.
      So the question remains about the real occupant of the grave at Redhill. Is it a man named Peter Broderick Hartley as the records say, or is it a man named William Broderick Malachi Hornegold as the headstone says? Or is it William Malachi Robert Hornegold? Or is it Martin Bormann? The high probabilty is that we shall never know.
     Unless you know better.
                  If you can add to, or debunk, any of the above please contact author.
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www.redhill-reigate-history.co.uk