Horsham author helps solve mystery of missing man ‘eaten by tiger in India’

A Horsham author’s book has helped solve the mystery of a man who was ‘eaten’ by a tiger in India in the 1930s but then led a double life in the UK.

Nigel Winter, second from right
Nigel Winter, second from right

An international documentary charted the journey of the granddaughter and great-grandaughter of Dougie Masters, a captain in the Indian Army, as they attempted to piece together the mysterious double life he led as Alec St John Masters in England.

He was one of three Triumph Motorcycles executives who drove from Land’s End to John o’ Groats in 1953 in the famous ‘Gaffers Gallop’, which was the subject of Nigel Winter’s 2011 book as he recreated the journey almost 60 years later.

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Nigel, a partner in the family department at Horsham law firm Rawlison Butler, was contacted by filmmakers who travelled to Handcross to interview him about his book in November 2012.

He said the family were delighted to have shed some light on Dougie’s life in England and he was happy to have played a small part in the documentary.

Nigel added: “It was a nice thing to do, something for a very nice family and good to do something for them.”

On their return to Australia the film crew and family members were able to show Dougie Masters’ daughter Angela the first pictures of her father she had seen since she was a little girl.

Nigel said: “She [Angela] looked like a lovely lady and they all seemed like a happy family. They both seemed like family orientated people.”

However Nigel is hoping that the documentary will help unearth moving footage of the Gaffers Gallop taken by sponsors Esso, and galvanise the motorcycle industry into looking for the ‘final piece in the jigsaw’ as he described it.

He explained: “For Christmas wouldn’t it be great if we could present her with a film of her father in motion?”

He added: “It’s very nice to have written a book but the icing on the cake or the cherry on the top would be if we found the film.”

A keen motorcycle owner for the past 30 years, he said that his book ‘Travelling with Mr Turner’ had been very well received since its publication.

Nigel added: “What started with the Gaffers Gallop they were pioneers in social and literal mobility.”

To watch the documentary visit youtu.be/oXhDdXgfDlM

Copies of Nigel’s book ‘Travelling with Mr Turner’ can be ordered off Amazon.