8:00am Tuesday 10th April 2007
By The Page Turner
The hunt is on for an Oxford man who could help pinpoint the location of a hoard of sunken Nazi gold.
Terry Hodgkinson, a scriptwriter for Oxfordshire-based detective drama Midsomer Murders, is planning a TV documentary about a search for a £10m haul of gold and diamonds, known as Rommel's Gold.
The treasure supposedly came from North Africa during the Second World War and was deliberately sunk - or hidden in a cave - off the east coast of the French Mediterranean island of Corsica by the Germans in 1943 after Field Marshal Erwin Rommel's Afrika Korps was driven out of North Africa by British and American forces.
It has never been found, despite many attempts to locate it, including an expedition led in 1963 by Lord Kilbracken. Among the crew taking part was a chief engineer called Dan Eden, believed to be from Oxford.
Mr Hodgkinson, 64, said: "Over the years, there have been many attempts to find it, but without success.
"In 1963, an expedition headed by American Ed Link went on his boat, Sea Diver, to try their luck.
"On board was Lord Kilbracken, who wrote a series of daily articles for the London Evening Standard on the progress of the search.
"Despite using all the modern technology of the time, and even avoiding threats from the Mafia, they failed to locate anything.
"The chief engineer on the Sea Diver was, according to Kilbracken, a man called Dan Eden, from Oxford.
"I'm trying to trace Mr Eden, if he's still alive, in order to film an interview with him in a future programme, or his family.
"It's difficult to guess his age, but he could be in his 70s or 80s. Even if he's dead, his family may still have very useful paperwork.
"It would be great if we could find the gold while filming the documentary. The bullion would be returned to the French government, but whoever finds it gets 10 per cent of £10m, which means I could afford to retire from writing Midsomer Murders.
"Mr Eden might not be able to help us find the gold, but he could explain why the 1963 mission was abandoned and problems with the technology."
As part of the documentary, Sue Kilbracken, Lord Kilbracken's widow, will be visiting Corsica to watch the search.
Mr Hodgkinson, whose wife is French, has a home in Corsica and has spent time researching the story with the editor of the island's main newspaper, Corse-Matin.
He said: "At first, I thought the story would make a good script for Lovejoy. I pictured Ian McShane bobbing about in a boat, but then I realised it didn't need to be fiction and would make a cracking documentary instead."
Lady Kilbracken said she was looking forward to taking part in the documentary and retracing her late husband's footsteps. Lord Kilbracken died last year, aged 85.
She said: "He was quite a character and he has left a treasure trove of material for us, which reads like a James Bond novel.
"We have the paperwork which shows us where X marks the spot and it would be wonderful if we could bring the treasure up from the sea bed."
Mr Hodgkinson is in talks about the project with a number of TV companies, but no date has yet been set for filming.
If you know anything about Mr Eden or his family, call the Oxford Mail newsdesk on 01865 425500 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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