I've reproduced the relevant extracts from my conversations with E.L. below. To provide some context (because the recordings are over 1hr30 in length) - I was asking E.L. which colleagues he remembered working with at Battlecrease, and what work he had conducted at the house.
EL: Arthur was there, because he was the one that started all these small jobs out and about, you know.
[Continued] (A later section of the conversation).
JJ: Can you remember any electrician with the initials ‘J.K’?
JJ: Does that ring any bells?
EL: There was another, a younger electrician but, I can’t think of his name.
'J.K.' were the initials given to me by Pete Rigby - whose account is reproduced in my chapter. To ensure that I wasn't contaminating or influencing E.L., I did not alter those initials during the interview. Nevertheless - who was this younger electrician?
D.S. Thomas recalled the following: 'It may be of interest that at some stage a young apprentice, whose name I can’t recall was meant to have been working with them [Rigby & Lyons] at Battlecrease.’ (Colin Thomas, 15th May 2017). Clearly, this 'younger electrician's' name was proving difficult to remember...
Well - I had the following from James Coufoupoulos. 'I was quite young at the time’. JC also confirmed that he had ‘worked at Battlecrease doing ‘a rewiring job’ alongside ‘Arthur Rigby’. (James Coufopoulos, 5th October 2015). That is supported by the timesheet for 9.3.92.
So, what work did Eddie remember doing at the house? Perhaps that could give us some indication of who Eddie & DS Thomas were referring to? I made a point of asking Eddie this question during each interview, and in each case recieved a similar response.
JJ: Ok, can you tell me what the work you did at Battlecrease House was?
EL: It was something to do with, I think it was storage heaters or something.
JJ: So first of all, could you maybe give me an overview of the work that you did at Battlecrease House?
EL: Oh yeah, God [inaudible]. Basically, it was some heaters.
JJ: Ok. I don’t know if you can remember, but what did Scotland Yard ask of you?
EL: They just asked my story.
EL: You know, ‘what you done there’? And I said; ‘well we had the floorboards up'
EL: Yeah so, I think I was, we worked on the first floor, the ground floor and then I think there was a
cellar underneath. Now whether we were just bloody looking in the cellar, I think it was just full of
boats or canoes or something. We were looking maybe, just for ways to get cables in or something, I
don’t know. I don’t think we actually done any work in the cellar.
EL: I think we had floorboards up, on maybe the first floor.
EL: I think we just were sent there [Battlecrease] maybe to get us out the way for an hour, a couple of hours
because they maybe didn’t have enough work, or it was one of them places you know. I think I was only there
a day or two, I can’t remember. It’s that long ago I can’t even think what, I just know it had something to do
with putting the heaters in or something.
JJ: Ok. I think it was ‘overnight storage heaters’?
EL: Yeah could have been. Yeah, could have been.
JJ: Ok, and would that involve taking the floorboards up?
EL: I think it would have done yeah. Yeah, probably would have done.
So, by his own admission - Eddie remembered working at Battlecrease alongside Arthur Rigby & 'a younger electrician'. He also remembered that it involved 'something to do with storage heaters', which necessitated the removal of floorboards on the first floor, and running cables into the house. If we are to believe Eddie's account - there must be a corresponding timesheet.
The timesheet for 9.3.92 records that both Arthur Rigby and James Coufopoulos were tasked with installing the wire for the storage heaters on the 1st floor of the house. According to Colin Rhodes, this definetly would have necessitated the removal of floorboards on the first floor. We can also see that '15 floorboard protectors' are listed under 'materials' on the timesheet. According to Colin Rhodes - these were essentially plates that were used to protect raised floorboards. So 9.3.92 is certainly one option.
The next timesheet for Battlecrease is dated 9.6.92. This involved the installation of the storage heaters on the first floor. According to the timesheet, however, this did not require any floorboard protectors - nor did it involve Arthur Rigby or our 'younger electrician'. The two individuals on the timesheet are Graham Rhodes & Jim Bowling (Eddie's pal). Eddie had no trouble remembering their names during our conversations: - i.e. "The only one I ever kept in contact with was Jimmy Bowling, because I worked with him on another firm."
The only other timesheet where Eddie's name appears is dated the week ending 21.7.92. Arthur Rigby's name is nowhere to be seen, and the description of work conducted reads; 'Alternator LT Wiring + DB. Check Low Tests - Ground Floor'. This cannot be the work Eddie described during our interview.
So where does this leave us? If Eddie's identification of the colleagues he worked alongside at Battlecrease and his description of the work they conducted is accurate, that brings us back to the 9.3.92. So why isn't his name on the timesheet? I think Eddie provides us with the best answer;
"I think we just were sent there [Battlecrease] maybe to get us out the way for an hour, a couple of hours because they maybe didn’t have enough work, or it was one of them places you know."
Colin Rhodes painted exactly the same picture - 'We took Bowling and Lyons on for a specific contract which was in Skelmersdale, which is miles away from here [...] and they were on that particular contract for quite awhile. So, it was nearing the completion of it, then they were back here, and were available to just help out at Riversdale.'
Eddie is not recorded on the Skelmersdale timesheet on 9.3.92...so where was he?
Given the details of his own account, and the corresponding timesheets, I'm opting that Eddie was at Riversdale Road helping colleagues Arthur Rigby & James Coufopoulos install the wire needed for the storage heaters. As far as the timesheets record, this is the only day in which floorboards would have been raised in the first floor of Battlecrease House.
There you have it - my reasoning for concluding that Eddie was present at Riversdale Road on the morning of 9.3.92.
** Just to pick up on a previous question - r.e. when did Eddie start working for Portus & Rhodes:
Eddie was able to confirm with me that he started working for Portus & Rhodes in late 1991 - referencing a p60 form from January 1992. He also noted: 'And I never went out, I finished in ’92 as well.'
Best wishes, James.
Now you're looking for the secret, but you won't find it, because of course, you're not really looking. You want to be fooled.