Royal Navy captain accused of forgery

Captain Edwin Tritschler
Captain Edwin Tritschler

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  • Portsmouth court martial told documents falsified on HMS Illustrious
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A high-ranking Royal Navy officer accused of bullying and harassment forged the signature of the officer complaining against him on documents he hoped would help clear his name, a court martial in Portsmouth heard today.

Captain Edwin Tritschler, of Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS) Yeovilton in Somerset, is being tried at Portsmouth Naval Base charged with three counts of forgery.

It was sadly deliberate deceit quite out of character for a man holding the rank Captain Tritschler does

Prosecutor David Richards

The 48-year-old is accused of using a scanner and a computer to copy three signatures by his accuser, Lieutenant Commander Christopher Bovill, to place on documents he submitted to the service complaints process.

The false documents were designed to show that the defendant had provided clear management advice to his junior when they were serving on HMS Illustrious.

David Richards, prosecuting, said the defendant and Lt Cdr Bovill had a “difficult relationship” after the junior officer joined the aircraft carrier in 2007 having transferred to the Navy from the Army, where he had been a major in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (Reme).

Mr Richards said that as Lt Cdr Bovill “struggled” in his position as senior engineering officer, he accused Cpt Tritschler, who was ranked commander at the time and was head of air engineering, of bullying him.

Mr Richards said: “It is very clear the two men had a very difficult relationship. From Cdr Tritschler’s point of view Lt Cdr Bovill’s performance was substandard; Lt Cdr Bovill found Cdr Tritschler officious, abrupt and bullying.”

He added: “Lt Cdr Bovill made mistakes, however (he felt) these were dealt with in an unacceptable way by his superior, the accused, who he accused of humiliating and undermining him.”

The prosecutor said Lt Cdr Bovill, who is based at RNAS Culdrose, Cornwall, pursued Cpt Tritschler through the levels of the complaints process and when it reached the third level, Cpt Tritschler submitted the three documents bearing the signatures which are agreed by both sides to have been forged.

He added: “They appeared to show regular management advice and assistance from him to Bovill and they bear signatures of both men.”

He continued: “It was sadly deliberate deceit quite out of character for a man holding the rank Captain Tritschler does.”

Mr Richards added: “It is the Crown’s case it was Cpt Tritschler who generated these false documents to bring to an end, once and for all, what must have seemed the never-ending complaints process.”

In interview, Cpt Tritschler denied forging the signatures and said he remembered Lt Cdr Bovill signing them in his presence.