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Nessie And Official Secrets!

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In 1959, Dr Denys Tucker was at the height of his powers. A wartime pilot turned eminent zoologist, he was the Natural History Museum’s chief scientist and a world authority on eels. Then he publicly declared that he had found the Loch Ness Monster.

Within a year, Dr Tucker had been sacked from his job at the museum and found himself at the beginning of a legal battle to try to regain his post which pitted him against, among others, the Archbishop of Canterbury. He was aged 39 and he never gained an academic post again.

The extraordinary story of the dismissal of Dr Tucker – and his obsession with proving that “Nessie” was a long-lost plesiosaur – briefly made headlines at the time and was even the subject of a Parliamentary debate. But after a closing of Establishment ranks, the scandal rapidly dropped out of view.

Now new light can be cast on this twisting affair. Papers kept out of the public eye for 50 years reveal the alarm caused by Dr Tucker’s legal cause in Whitehall and the attempts to ensure that museum trustees – led by the Archbishop – were not dragged into the witness box.

The file, obtained by The Independent under the Freedom of Information Act, shows that senior officials were deeply concerned at Dr Tucker’s High Court claim for wrongful dismissal and worried that if he won “HMG will never again be able to fire a civil servant, except possibly for sedition or larceny”.

Until his death five years ago in France, the fish expert continued to believe he had been the victim of a conspiracy to push him from office.

Dr Tucker declared in the mainstream and scientific press that he had witnessed what he believed to be an “unnamed animal” on a visit to Loch Ness. In his opinion, the creature could only be an Elasmosaurus – a sub-species of the long-necked plesiosaurs that swam the oceans 80 million years ago.

Dr Tucker wrote to New Scientist: “I, a professional marine zoologist, did see a large hump travelling across flat calm water on 22 March 1959, and do quite unashamedly assert that it belonged to an unnamed animal. I am quite satisfied that we have in Loch Ness one of the most exciting and important problems in British zoology today.”

I'm not certain why these files where kept out of the public eye official embarrassment isn't a legitimate reason.

Totally farcical.

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