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Photo Article: Finding Uncle David's Gold Watch which survived his death in Greece

Tom Winnifrith
Saturday 17 December 2016

My father gave this watch to me some years ago and has now and again asked where it is. "Somewhere" I replied truthfully if evasively. I feared greatly that it had been stolen while my possessions were stored in London at the pizza place. I knew at least one of the staff was a thief so why not? This loss preyed on my conscience as when they found the body of my father's Uncle David in 1932 it was by his watch and passport that it was identifiable, having lain at the bottom of a Greek mountain for more than a year.

The story of the death of David Cochrane on the mountain opposite Delphi, now known as Kokranos mountain by the locals, is one that I followed up on the ground a couple of years ago as you can read HERE in a series of photo articles.

Dad and I are perhaps the only folks who really care what happened. I could not find where his body was laid to rest. I suspect it was in the village of Desfina not Delphi. The exact circumstances of the death of poor David are still unclear. My father leans to the account provided by David's Oxford friends who were in Delphi when David fell. I believe the villagers who flat out contradict the young Englishmen.

The one theory debunked by the discovery of the body with money and the watch was that put about by Sir George Young, the father of the current Sir George and a relative even before his daughter (my step mother) married my father. It is complex. Sir George insisted in a rather pompous fashion and with no evidence at all, that poor David had been murdered by Greek bandits. I have a letter to the Times from the Greek consul in London engaging with Sir George on this racist canard. David just fell.

Anyhow you can read about the history of David and the photos I took on my quest to establish what actually happened HERE. The key thing is that the watch was found in a box I get out every year containing our Christmas decorations. As you can see it is now safe and sound, news I have relayed to my father as enormous feelings of guilt were lifted from my shoulders.

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About Tom Winnifrith
Tom Winnifrith is the editor of When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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