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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 7:34 pm 
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Alex Holowczak wrote:
Seeking confirmation, I spoke to the President of the Warwickshire Chess Association, who knew Ritson when he was still alive. He said that Ritson was in prison between 1945-46, because his court appearance appeared in a legal textbook, and the case was from 1945.


Edward Winter has chapter and verse in CN 6736 with contemporary reports.

http://www.chesshistory.com/winter/winter73.html

Quote:
The appeal was therefore dismissed, and the Court held that the sentence of 18 months’ imprisonment would run from the date of conviction, namely from the first day of the assizes (25 July 1945).


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 7:35 pm 
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John Saunders wrote:
West London CC, according to the 1970 Grading List, but others may know better.


John, I should've asked earlier - what was his grade.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 8:30 pm 
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Roger de Coverly wrote:
Alex Holowczak wrote:
Seeking confirmation, I spoke to the President of the Warwickshire Chess Association, who knew Ritson when he was still alive. He said that Ritson was in prison between 1945-46, because his court appearance appeared in a legal textbook, and the case was from 1945.


Edward Winter has chapter and verse in CN 6736 with contemporary reports.

http://www.chesshistory.com/winter/winter73.html

Quote:
The appeal was therefore dismissed, and the Court held that the sentence of 18 months’ imprisonment would run from the date of conviction, namely from the first day of the assizes (25 July 1945).


Thankyou. The part of the story that I was told in my earlier conversation was this bit:

Quote:
One of the grounds of appeal was that when he was committed for trial by the magistrates’ court the magistrates, as they were obliged to do, asked him the question laid down by statute: “Do you wish to say anything in answer to the charge? You are not obliged to say anything unless you desire to do so, but whatever you say will be taken down in writing and may be given in evidence upon your trial.”

In response to that question he took the opportunity to make a speech, lasting some three hours, as an advocate on his own behalf. He now appealed on the grounds that because every word of his speech was not taken down and certified, the committal was irregular and the whole indictment should have been quashed.

The Court of Criminal Appeal held that the procedure of calling upon the accused to make a statement if he chooses at that stage in the proceedings, where the magistrates are considering whether or not a case is made out for committal, was never intended to apply to a man making an oration as an advocate on his own behalf. They therefore dismissed this ground of appeal.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 11:08 pm 
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Alex Holowczak wrote:
....who knew Ritson when he was still alive.

Colemanball alert!

He wasn't likely to have made his acquaintance after he had died! :oops:


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 11:09 pm 
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Sean Hewitt wrote:
Alex Holowczak wrote:
....who knew Ritson when he was still alive.

Colemanball alert!

He wasn't likely to have made his acquaintance after he had died! :oops:


:lol:

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 11:22 pm 
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Paul Dupré wrote:
John Saunders wrote:
West London CC, according to the 1970 Grading List, but others may know better.


John, I should've asked earlier - what was his grade.


The 1970 SCCU Grading List:

(curiously, the graders mispelt his name - it should have two 'm's)

Stamwitz, AF (West London) 145 (and his previous year's grade was 152)

(He had not met the threshold of 30 games in the previous two seasons but must have played at least ten games in 1969/70)

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2012 1:00 am 
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John Saunders wrote:
The 1970 SCCU Grading List:

(curiously, the graders mispelt his name - it should have two 'm's)

Stamwitz, AF (West London) 145 (and his previous year's grade was 152)

(He had not met the threshold of 30 games in the previous two seasons but must have played at least ten games in 1969/70)


Thanks John,

I had a feeling I had seen his name before somewhere - found a copy of Thames Valley League grading list 1965/66 which shows him as being 7B, with last year as 7A. What would that be in today's money.

Also, he's down as (H&H - Hayes) which I assume would have been Hayes & Harlington in those days.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2012 1:13 am 
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The old 7A grade would be equivalent to between 145 and 152, and 7B was between 137 and 144.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2012 8:05 am 
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Baruch Harold Wood, and William Ritson Morry, were childhood friends, attending the same school in North Wales.
Do we have a psychologist on the forum ?


Last edited by Gordon Cadden on Sat Aug 18, 2012 7:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2012 12:20 pm 
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"Baruch Harold Wood, and William Ritson Morrey, were childhood friends, attending the same school in North Wales."

And WRM represented Chess in their legal battle with Jaques, so they were not at daggers drawn then. As Oscar Wilde said, when discovering Carson would defend the libel case, "No doubt he will pursue his case with the added bitterness of an old friend."

I have read WRM's appeal statement - it did go on a bit.

(corrected, as Wilde made the comment when Carson was defending Queensberry)

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Last edited by Kevin Thurlow on Mon Aug 20, 2012 12:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2012 1:13 pm 
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I think that they also made up to some extent in their mutual old age.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2012 5:43 pm 
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Roger de Coverly wrote:
Paul Dupré 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 – 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.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2012 8:30 pm 
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I had some contact with Alan Stammwitz since I joined the BCCA when he was its secretary and I was at school, and later when he became BCF secretary.
My general memory of Stammwitz is favourable as I found him hard-working and professional, ready to respond promptly and constructively to queries and problems. He was as I recall bespectacled and below medium height while his second wife, who came to events and took an interest in chess matters, was much taller. He was probably over-conscientious, as on the occasion when I wrote him a letter of a couple of paragraphs on some matter and got a two or three page typed reply arguing the pros and cons in minute detail.
I guess my favourable opinion of him as a BCF official may have been in contrast to his successor Frank Chetwynd, the first BCF paid secretary, who was notably indolent and who was a regular drinking companion to William Winter during the BCF congress at Buxton 1950, held a few doors away from a pub.
This was also the occasion when Winter was playing an adjournment against Stefan Fazekas and they reached a position which was obviously headed for B+wrong coloured RP. After Faz rebuffed Willie's draw proposals two or three times, Willie stood up and announced loudly "You can go on trying to win this till the cows come home, Dr Fazekas! I'm going for a drink". Willie departed to the pub, returned rather unsteadily 20 minutes later, sat at the board, and noisily banged down his king from g8 to h8. A large crowd gathered round and Faz blushed and agreed the draw.
I did once ask Stammwitz about his time in prison and he replied to the effect that it had been by far the worst period of his life. The story I heard was that his defence at the trial was that he had forgotten about the first marriage when he contracted the second, a defence which brought some ribald comments about absent-minded chessplayers in the tabloid press. But I guess that the real story was more complex than that.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 10:58 am 
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The following family history information may be of interest;

Alan’s parents were

SHELLEY ALBERT STAMMWITZ who was born in Jan-Mar 1880 in Richmond, Surrey. He married FRANCES BLANCHE MACKENZIE in July-Sept 1894 in Brentford, Middlesex; she was born April–June 1882 in Richmond, Surrey. In the 1911 Census, they lived at 241 Upper Richmond Road, Putney, Middlesex. Shelley was an Electro-Therapeutist with a practice at 310 Regent Street, London.

Shelley died on 3 August 1945 aged 65 at Sunny Meadow, Oxshot Road, Leatherhead, Surrey. Frances died on 23 August 1961 in Twickenham Nursing Home aged 79.

They had two children in 1911, both of which were still living; ALAN who was born on 29 May 1906 in Wandsworth and SYLVIA MAY STAMMWITZ, who was born on 01 May 1910 and was 11 months old at the 1911 Census. Sylvia died in Exeter, Devon, in April 1989 aged 79; there is no record of her having married.

Another child, HUGH S STAMMWITZ was born Jan-Mar 1912 in Wandsworth. There are no marriage or death records for Hugh.

Alan married twice.

1. To LILIAN MAY JACKLIN in April-June 1928 in Croydon, Surrey. She was born on 25 March 1904 in Brighton, Sussex, was living in Steyning, Sussex, at the time of the 1911 Census and died on 28 November 1986; she was living at 33 Lygen House, Palace Road, Fulham, which provides sheltered accommodation.

Alan Stammwitz (mother’s maiden name Jacklin) was born Jan-March 1935 in Brentford. He died within the same three-month period.

2. To CECILIA JANE FOBESTER in Oct-Dec 1941 in Eton, Buckinghamshire. She was born 27 November 1913 in Chelsea and died in May 2003 in Haywards Heath in Sussex.

Lyn A Stammwitz (mother’s maiden name Fobester) was born Oct-Dec 1943 in Brentford, Middlesex. He married Jeanette S Brown in Jan-March 1969 in Hounslow, Middlesex. They had one son, Robin James Stammwitz, who was born in July-Sept 1981 in Hammersmith.

Both of Alan’s wives retained their married name until their deaths.

Roger Mylward


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 12:03 pm 
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Alan had another brother, Geoffrey, birth registered Q2 1919, surname incorrectly given as Stammitz.

Hugh was awarded the B.E.M. in 1942:

London Gazette wrote:
651142 Acting Flight Sergeant Hugh Shelley Stammwitz.
947276 Corporal Thomas Barkas.
One evening in March, 1942, an aerodrome in Malta was attacked and heavily bombed by about 50 enemy bombers and fires were started including those on a petrol bowser, an aircraft and an ammunition lorry which were close together. Flight Sergeant Stammwitz and Corporal Barkas immediately went to the scene and dealt with the fires, continuing to do so despite the heavy bombing, until all the fire extinguishers were empty. Corporal Barkas, with other members of the fire party, then proceeded to a site where a large number of incendiary bombs were burning (some of them were of the explosive type) and extinguished many. The leadership and courage displayed by these airmen set an excellent example.

The 1947 electoral register shows Sylvia, Hugh and Geoffrey all living with their mother at 73 Lansdowne Road, Kensington.

I can find no marriage or death records for either Hugh or Geoffrey.

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