Roger de Coverly wrote:
Paul DuprÃ© wrote:Maybe not, his second marriage was in 1941 - to a much younger and probably wealthier lady, so this does sound plausible.
During the war years, I would imagine there was little organised chess. So if all the BCF did was to continue to exist, it could function with officials out of action, although Stammwitz didn't become Gen Sec until 1953.
Stammwitz was involved in correspondence chess organisation with the BCCA in the war years, and again in 1951 when the ICCF was established to replace the failed ICCA. He was also General Secretary of ICCF for a time but resigned mid-term.
This is discussed at some length in my book 'Correspondence Chess in Britain and Ireland, 1824-1987' where I show that Stammwitz actually did a lot of damage as well as good work.
During the course of my research, both Bernard Cafferty and Peter Gibbs told me about the bigamy allegations. However, I did not put this in the book, partly because I felt I had sufficiently damned the man on the basis of proper documentation. Also, because I was unwilling to quote Keene anecdotage.
I did establish that when Stammwitz remarried his first wife was still alive.
After some further investigation, it was not possible to find a record of the case, since there was no appeal, and therefore one would need to know which court and approximate date. Maybe somebody based in the UK could get access to the appropriate indexes and trace the case. That would be well worth doing. It was probably in London or the Home Counties.
I was able to narrow the date down to the period shortly after WW2. Around 1945-6 Stammwitz seemed to be absent from chess activities for a while. He resigned as BCCA General Secretary in mid-1945 pleading a job promotion but is listed as OTB match captain throughout these late 1940s years.
The Times Sat 8 Sept 1945 had BBC radio listings for the next day (Sunday) with a 30-min programme at 7pm "This is the Law â€“ Bigamy". (It was repeated on the Home Service on Sun 16 Feb 1947.)
Maybe the first wife heard one of these broadcasts and decided to take action? The war probably led to more bigamy cases through separations and genuine cases where people believed their spouse killed in bombing.
The Times, Wednesday, Nov 13, 1946; mentioned that in the November session which had just begun at Central Criminal Court there would be trials of 15 cases of bigamy. (That might be a bit late for this case.) Around that time, I saw one appeal court judge said that the most serious aspect of bigamy was when a man "gained possession of a virtuous girl by the pretence of being her husband" but each case had to be judged on its merits.
In another case, the magistrate reprimanded a registrar who had married a man who had simply made a declaration that he had not seen his wife for over seven years and believed her dead. He showed the beak a guidelines document from the General registrar which, the magistrate read. He pointed out that this did not give him leave to marry in such cases; it only said that such separations might provide a defence in bigamy cases.
Another judge was quoted as saying that getting married twice was as easy as getting a dog licence and the law needed changing, as people could just give false names.
In 1928 Stammwitz gave Alan Francis as his forenames (leaving out his third given name, Bertie) but in 1941 he was registered as Alan F. R. X. Stammwitz.
I think the Ritson Morry cases are well documented as stated elsewhere in this thread.