Despite this week’s lingering yellow downpour from Troll Land, the same period has seen a surprisingly large amount of good stuff concerning the Tamam Shud cold case / cipher mystery emerging into the light.

The first thing I rather like is Pete Bowes’ line of reasoning concerning the Unknown Man’s glass saucer, one of many curious things found in the suitcase he checked into the left-luggage room at Adelaide railway station on the morning of his death.

But why a glass saucer? Pete combines this with the Unknown Man’s fit-looking physical makeup (and hence a healthy diet, though the only thing we actually know for sure that he ate was a pastie) and his 18 (!) removed teeth to deduce that the Unknown Man must have had a dental plate fitted in his mouth, despite the fact that none was found at his autopsy. For Pete, the likeliest function of the glass saucer is as part of a bedtime ritual – taking his plate out and placing it on the saucer for the night.

I’m actually strongly convinced by this line of reasoning: and it has the ring of domestic routine to it that humanizes the Unknown Man, that helps stop us from treating his situation and life too abstractly or theoretically.

But, but, but… what happened to the Unknown Man’s dental plate? Given that it wasn’t in his mouth or his suitcase, I think there are two major scenarios to consider…

Plate scenario #1: the Unknown Man coughs his plate out while vomiting, but nobody notices its absence until after his body has been moved to the beach later.

Plate scenario #2: the Unknown Man dies, but the people in whose company he dies consciously decide to remove his plate to prevent his being identified by it before moving his body to the beach.

Up until now I haven’t really thought it hugely likely that name-tags or labels were removed from the clothes he was wearing: but add in the absence of a hat and the missing dental plate, perhaps this does all indeed amount to a pretty solid overall scenario to consider. Lots to think about there, hmmmm?

The second big idea of the week came from Cipher Mysteries commenter The Dude (see here, here, here, here, and here). Why oh why, commenteth The Dude, is it that people keep yakking about Jestyn (based on the presence of her phone number on the copy of the Rubaiyat eventually linked to the Unknown Man) when it is surely just as likely that the phone number refers not to her but to her partner-and-soon-to-be-husband Prosper Thomson? After all, Prosper used the same number for some of his taxi- and car-related small ads, even if the phone number was itself listed in the phone directory as “Sister J. E. Thomson”.

I completely agree that there are numerous permutations to consider; and suspect that the main reason people put forward such fanciful (and often ridiculous) theories about Jestyn is probably because she gave a copy of the Rubaiyat to Alf Boxall, making it easy to build up a romantic conceptual castle on top of the various fragments. But the existence of two copies of the Rubaiyat falls well short of a proof definitively connecting them: it was, after all, a popular book at the time.

Back in the real world, however, I contend it was far more likely that the Unknown Man was known just as much to Jestyn as to Prosper. It’s surely hard to keep really big secrets in a tiny little house. 😉

But The Dude goes further: given that Prosper was a car dealer and ended up in court several times for forging (or dealing in forged) car documents at a time when there was a lot of interstate car theft and fencing going on in Australia, might it be that the Unknown Man was a fellow car crim (say, from a different state), and that all the stencilling equipment in his suitcase was actually for altering car number plates?

It’s a perfectly viable hypothesis (and far more realistic than any spy hypothesis I’ve heard floated about the case over the years, for example), and one that might even be testable if we could somehow reconstruct the car ring associated with Prosper from people named in court appearances etc. The Dude is already away looking for this kind of thing, good luck with that whole line of inquiry… 🙂

But what if the truth is even simpler? After all, one of the long-standing mysteries about the Tamam Shud case which nobody ever talks about these days is whether it relates to Keith Waldemar Mangnoson at all: for it was Mangnoson who shouted out loud that he had worked with the Unknown Man in Renmark in 1939, and named him as “Carl Thompsen“.

As nearly everyone knows, though, when the Mangnosons ignored the warnings to keep quiet, things turned out very badly very quickly for all of them… but that’s another story entirely (for now). I really don’t know whether these threats were real or hoaxes: but I can’t help wondering whether all these pieces might be connected in a rather more direct way than is usually suggested.

Basically, might this “Carl Thompsen” have been a misspelled / misremembered cousin or relation of Prosper McTaggart Thomson? Might he also have been a trusted out-of-state fellow crim in the same interstate stolen car fencing ring? As always, the police have probably already followed this trail and it could all be no more than a coincidence… but I thought I’d mention it here, just in case someone has already gone hunting for all this (which normally seems to be the case).

Of course, the reason I call this the “Thompson Twins” hypothesis is that the 1980s UK pop group was named after the Tin Tin characters Thompson and Thomson (the original French bureaucrat pair were “Dupond et Dupont”), and here we find ourselves with our own Thompsen and Thomson to work with. “We are detectives, we are select”, you might say (though perhaps a little optimistically)! 😉

99 thoughts on ““Thompson Twins” Tamam Shud hypothesis…

  1. T Anderson on October 27, 2013 at 7:02 am said:

    I agree he about the dental plate and saucer. I disagree about the notion you need a good diet to be fit, that part isn’t actually true. I also think it’s unlikely he was a clear Thompson relation, his identity would be a “secret” that would be shared by too many people to stay hidden. Then again, my opinion about that is just that, an opinion.

    I’d really like to know where we find the combination of soft hands + stencil kit. In my mind someone in the military, or someone working on the docks with freight would have rough hands. Maybe taking part in some shady car theft ring really is the answer?

  2. It was true in 1948 that a good diet meant good teeth T.Anderson. We didn’t have gyms and personal trainers and the like, and 1948 was five years after the war ended, times were not easy.
    You have to observe Balint’s Law, and place him in the period he lived.

  3. Dude, with the number plate amendments using the brush and knife and scissors, there was no sign of any paint on the brush, or none mentioned, and it certainly looks clean. I don’t see how changing a number plate with powdered chalk would work, particularly in wet weather.

  4. TA: Gloves

  5. The dude on October 28, 2013 at 4:07 pm said:

    Obviously if the theory is correct SM would have carried his essential tools of trade and bought the consumables i.e. paint being cheap and easily available as the need arose. No way would he have hauled paint in his suitcase. He went to the trouble of carefully taping up his cutting tools so as not to damage the other items in his suitcase whilst in transit.

    Also Nick in another bizarre twist to your Thomson twins theory Clive M finished up in the same mental facility that Jess worked in at is most likely the same time. I think most people have stayed away from this angle due to the tragic circumstances. Much more fun to think about spy/love stories.

  6. The Dude: that’s the thing about real life trolls don’t seem to get – that it’s almost always stranger than you expect, but in ways you can’t predict. 🙂

  7. Saucer might have been an ashtray, too.

  8. Diane: no burn marks on it, though. Using a glass saucer as an ashtray seems a bit precious, too?

  9. T Anderson on October 28, 2013 at 8:16 pm said:

    I don’t think you’d need to carry your own ashtray in 1948 would you? Has anyone tried to find frequency maps for his ear and dental traits, or attempted to use physical anthropology to give us any hints? It might seem like a distraction, but it’s something that doesn’t require hounding the family and friends of “jestyn” and her son. At least if we could just cross reference surnames for those two genetic traits we could chase even more phantoms!

  10. I was under the impression that dentures should never be stored dry but always kept moist which is why people put them in a glass of water?

    SM was missing his two lateral incisors (the teeth next to your front teeth) and it would apparently be highly unusual for a person to lose both of these through accident or extraction, and it is more likely that he was born without them. People with no lateral incisors have a vampire look because it makes their canines seen more prominent.

    Anodontia is not growing any teeth at all, which is not the case with SM. Apart from the lateral incisors he was mostly just missing his back teeth. Dr Dwyer said that from looking at SM’s mouth he was not under the impression that he was in the habit of wearing a dental plate. I would assume that dentures were probably not as well made in 1948 as they are now and that Dr Dwyer knew what signs to look for. I am sure that lots of people throughout history have managed to eat without back teeth, so if SM still had most of his front teeth he may not have felt any need to have dentures.

    Glass can usually be kept burn, mark and stain free by simply washing. I always use a glass bowl to mix chemicals like hair dye or food that can permeate, like garlic for example.

  11. Mr Mangnoson had long standing mental health issues. If SM was a person that he thought he knew called Carl T. then why did nobody else come forward to corroborate his story? The police followed up on the other possible identifications so I am sure they would have gone to Renmark to make enquiries, though it had been 10 years since he had seen him so perhaps everyone had moved on.

    The police did find the source of the threatening phone calls – “…police questioned a young Largs North woman about having made calls threatening violence. Detective Bond said the woman would probably be charged with having given false information to the police.” They also thought that the ‘masked man’ was the same person who had previously harrassed a young widow.

    Note that it was Mrs Mangnoson who made the link to her husband’s identification of the Somerton man after the threats. I cannot find anything which says that either of those people mentioned him in their threats. It seems that there were just as many trolls around in 1949 as there are today.

    Not wanting to crucify anyone else in this saga, but I would have been more interested in the movements of Neil “I had a dream” McRae. Did the police really believe that?

  12. TA, I’ve tried (am trying) to find the repository that contains every dental chart ever made in this country – from about 1930 to 1948.
    I suspect that this may be a difficult task, nevertheless once I have them all I have no doubt that SM’s teeth profile will be amongst them.
    This may take some time ..

  13. Pete: a truly heroic archival search to undertake! Good luck! 🙂

  14. Debra: Keith Mangnoson did indeed have mental health issues, but – if I remember the inquest report right – they seemed to have stemmed from (or been sharply exacerbated by) an incident when he was lost in the woods in 1940. In 1939 in Renmark, he was still basically lucid. I’ve got another post on this to make very shortly…

    As to whether the threat-makers were trolls or not, it’s hard to say: but unusually they made their threats to a number of people at the time, not just to Keith Mangnoson himself.

    I also suspect that the presence of the Saturday edition of the newspaper on the beach (with a picture of Keith and Clive on the front cover, and describing the ongoing search) indicates that someone had been to the beach and met Keith there…. probably Neil McRae. But that’s another story!

  15. Debra, with great respect, I cannot imagine anyone with a name as attractive as yours dipping their clackers into a tumbler of warm water before retiring for the night – myself, on the other hand, being a salty old duffer of about 1944 standard, know that water immersion breeds bacteria on such items, just like real teeth.
    Leaving you with breath like an Afghan’s armpit, with respect, again.

  16. Pete: I am of the generation that was bombarded with flouride as a child so my clackers aren’t removable (and I don’t glow in the dark either).

    Good luck with the dental records, heroic indeed.

  17. The dude on October 30, 2013 at 12:16 am said:

    My dad is of that generation and growing up he always kept his plate in a glass of water overnight.

  18. Furphy on October 30, 2013 at 1:41 am said:

    G’day Nick and guests. I posted a few times under a different nickname at Mike Dash’s Smithsonian discussion (may it RIP) about SM and have more recently been taking in the related threads on this excellent site.

    Anyway, something was nagging at me about the combination of physical characteristics shown by SM and the contents of his suitcase (assuming that they weren’t “augmented”). It fell into place when T Anderson asked where “we find the combination of soft hands + stencil kit”. There is one that I know well: wool classers. They handle yards and yards of lanolin-soaked wool every working day, out of the sun (inside shearing sheds) and they also stencil classifications on wool bales. This also squares with the cops’ suggestion that SM was a “bushie” and if the detectives concerned had not worked with sheep/wool themselves, that industry may well not have occurred to them. In 1948, every shearing team would have employed at least one wool classer and in South Australia it would have been a relatively popular occupation. (Except with their wives and girlfiends, because members of shearing teams tend to have bad cases of “Sunday too far away” 😉

  19. Plate Scenario #3: add hat, poison,and scraped knuckle ..


  20. Furphy: one of the nice things about the Somerton Man’s suitcase is that is has a certain “accidental time capsule” feel of authenticity to it. Coroners read body logic, codicologists read manuscript logic, police detectives read object logic (a tag, a label, a thread), but it seems that only fictional detectives read suitcase contents logic – put all the pieces together and what story does it tell?

    Hence Conan Doyle was faking it with Sherlock Holmes: only in truly extraordinary situations can you eliminate everything else leaving just the improbable truth.

    All the same, “soft hands + stencil kit => wool classer” is a very tempting inference to make. Right now, I think I’d place it just behind the car crim scenario (because of the small screwdriver and Prosper’s convictions) but way ahead of all the spy scenarios. 🙂

  21. Nick, well we can have it both ways 😀 Because I forgot to mention that shearing and hence wool classing is quieter in late spring and summer, when a multitude of mixed sheep-grain farms are harvesting wheat, barley oats etc, from October to late December. Trying the handles of parked cars and driving them across state borders may have appealed as an part time, holiday job?

  22. The dude on October 30, 2013 at 5:16 pm said:

    Problem with the wool classer is that someone in Adelaide would have been waiting for him to arrive and noticed him missing. The lack of anyone coming forward is a problem in this case. A guy like that would be missed.

  23. I would have thought that a professional car thief would keep his tools in his pockets, not packed away with his pyjamas and dressing gown. There is also the matter of possible apprehension, long-time keeping of a special little kit of tools, and they do look like they were well looked after with their protective coverings, might be a little on the incautious side if the local plod happened upon them.
    Every time I’ve had a car knocked off they’ve left the coat hanger wire lying on the road where the car used to be.

  24. – and the police, how so it that they didn’t make the connection dude? My thinking is that they would be very familiar with that type of crime, and the methods used to commit same. Police are not entirely without acumen.

  25. The Dude, why would anyone necessarily have been waiting in Adelaide or anywhere else? SM could have been in Adelaide as a stopover of several hours en route to Perth, Sydney, Melbourne… (Has anyone checked what interstate trains were leaving that night?) And shearing – like the military – is an industry that has always attracted all sorts, including loners (by choice or accident) and those on the run from one thing or another) . The industry is both transitory by nature (whole teams move from one property to another every few weeks) and individual members move from one team to another.

    Another thing; the fact of SM being overdressed for the beach, on a day that was at least warmer than average, also fits the profile of a bushie in the big smoke. In 1948, country people tended to “dress up for town”. They also tend to feel extemes of temperature, both hot and cold, less than townies.

  26. The dude on October 31, 2013 at 2:06 am said:

    Well firstly one would only carry the tool kit at the time of the actual deed which would likely be in the dead of night and not wander around all day with the tool kit lest the local plod does happen upon them.
    Interesting you say about the coat hanger because he also had 2 coat hangers in his case if I remember rightly?
    Good question re the cops and I would say the same about a number of other areas where they failed to follow up such as the dental records you have alluded to. It would appear that they went off tap when they made the Rubiyant connection and as I have suggested from the beginning this red herring has led people down the wrong path.

    Lets face it mate its 65 years ago and they still don know jack about who he was , how he died or who killed him so its fair to say this was not the SA coppers finest hour.

  27. last question, why did he take a train when he could have pinched a car in Melbourne?

  28. The dude on November 1, 2013 at 1:27 am said:

    Defeats the whole purpose Pete you know that. If you don’t like the theory Pete thats ok but come up with a decent reason as to why. I get the sense that you like many others are so invested in the casablanca like theories of cold war spy’s. Marta Harisi , love children and love that couldn’t be that you actually believe it as fact. Perhaps you don’t like these types of theories because it takes the romance out of it for you.

    The fact that it could all be a lot simpler than that ruins your epic.
    Or are you just annoyed that after all the work you’ve done that someone else came up with a better idea than you have.

  29. The dude on November 1, 2013 at 1:36 am said:

    Furphy some good points there. He could have been on a stopover but why did he have Prosper and Jessica’s number and given he caught the bus to Mosley st where they lived I am convinced that he was in town to see either of them.
    The wool classer theory is plausible but I question the lack of work clothes boots etc in his case and I still think that a guy like that who was travelling within such a network would have been known and had enough connections that someone would have identified him.
    Im not sure where you are from but I live in Adelaide and a visitor from Melbourne being over dressed is not unusual . its a running joke in Adelaide because we often blame Melbourne for sending us their crap wether.

  30. Hi Nick, Your “Thompson Twins” theory and Keith Mangnoson sounds interesting-I’ve contacted the editor of a local paper to request any information on a “Carl Thomson/Thompson” working in Renmark area. Not sure, after all these years whether anything will come out but, you never know!

  31. Clive: thanks for doing that, but note that I’m not quite finished going through the evidence yet… http://ciphermysteries.com/2013/11/01/keith-mangnosons-first-near-death-experience If we can’t track down Winifred Lilian Bridger nee Williams 🙂 , our next step forward is probably to look at the statements & claims Mangnoson made to police about “Carl Thompsen”, now that we know a little more about Mangnoson’s early life as a wood cutter.

  32. Dude, now don’t go getting upset and sulky – making up stories is a fine and commendable pastime, but mate, you have to play the part of a copper as well as make things up. This means you have to know your ground, and have done some research, otherwise you’ll get the shits with a fair question an all your effort goes pear shaped.
    So – what’s not to say that a cargo masters’ tools have a double purpose. This is the guy who loads and unloads all manner of cargo, crates and trucks.
    What’s not to say he has had to start up some motor that hasn’t ticked over for a couple of months, and has a buggered ignition.
    So get back into the game mate .. we’ll knock this bastard over in two weeks.

  33. The dude on November 1, 2013 at 6:07 pm said:

    Pete Im just looking for a decent point and one that proves me totally wrong because Im just interested in the truth at the end of the day. If your genuinely keen on achieving the same end please point out the flaws rather than throwing banal questions out that you already know the answer to. Given how much research you say you’ve done Im surprised that you haven’t shot this idea down in flames by now.
    Im surprised at how hard youv’e tried to get me to respond to you to be honest and how annoyed you seem about a simple idea i have put forward. You don’t seem to be so concerned with the various nut jobs purporting to be everything from the Pope to Jestyns long lost fariy godmother and connecting the SM case to everything bar the Kennedy assassination

  34. The dude: what you (and indeed Furphy and Pete, to name but two) have constructed with historical honesty and genuine empathy are all sensible and internally consistent stories, relatively untainted by the fog of romanticism and outright speculation that so often seems to fall on this subject.

    The problem is that the process of disproving (let alone proving) any such story is slow, painstaking, and occasionally expensive. Even though it’s a long haul, the first step on each journey of a thousand miles is asking “what single piece of evidence should I be looking for?”

    For example, for anyone looking for Carl Thompsen, there’s a reasonable chance (say, 50% or so) that at least one mallee woodcutter who worked around Renmark in 1939 and got through WW2 intact is still alive (though without much doubt in their 90s). There are also plenty of names listed in the news report, so that forms a reasonable starting point.

    Or, if you think that the missing link between Jestyn and the Unknown Man was Prosper’s car business (and perhaps some kind of dodgy car crim activity), then I suspect that police reports and court cases might be where you should be looking. I don’t know how useful the South Australian Police Gazette might be to this kind of search, but you should certainly be aware of its existence. There may even be true crime histories that cover this period and prove helpful, My Life As A Crim etc. 🙂

  35. The dude on November 2, 2013 at 2:56 am said:

    Thanks for the tips Nick. I will follow them up as suggested I have discovered some very interesting details and for reasons you would understand am not going to spell them out in this forum for the moment. I have initiated a dialog with Gerry F.
    My goal is simply to look at this from a fresh angle outside the Jestyn/spy /love child angle which may still all be true I guess.
    Im reminded though of the strange case of Herman
    Rockefella. Herman was a rich Aussie busness man who vanished on a business trip a couple of years back. Being an international business man and mega rich all sorts of theories abounded. The cops set up a phone tap expecting a ransom call and thousands of police hours were poured into looking at former business partners, deals gone bad , international enemies etc.

    The truth turned out to be much simpler. It seems old Herman liked a bit of extra marital action and was calling in to swingers networks under a false name and outside the knowledge of his wife , family and friends. Things went bad during one such tryst and Herman found himself dead in a strangers back yard and even his killer had no idea who he was. If not for massive electronic media coverage and modern investigative
    techniques old Herman would probably have disappeared forever.. By virtue of his own secretive actions and travelling incognito he became an unwitting accomplice in covering his own murder. He basically told no-one where he was going or who he would be with because of the dodgy nature of his business. He covered his tracks.
    Could the same be true of SM? Surely if he was in Adelaide for legitimate purposes that he would have told someone and said person would have come forward.
    And if he was in town for legitimate purposes why did he end up dead in such peculiar circumstances without a soul coming forward or checking with the Adelaide cops about their friend, husband , room mate who went to Adelaide for 2 days and didnt come back?

    Why was he carrying the number of a local car dealer of questionable repute and finished up dead a few hundred meters from said car dealers house?
    Given the tools he was carrying were ideal for the purposes suggested and PTs history, if anyone thinks that angle is not worth at least a cursory look fair enough. Just give me a good reason why not please.

  36. Comin’ back at ya Dude .. I have a mate and I asked him one of your questions, like, what do I need to start a truck that won’t start? … I’ll stick with trucks Dude, you’ve got the cars.
    So he said:
    (1) Plenty of time
    (2) Battery terminals, check
    (3) Distributor cap, check – ditto points & connections
    (4) Coil, might need a scrape with a small screwdriver
    (5) Carburettor, open and clean top half, drain fuel from bottom half and clean, might have to unscrew that.
    (6) Charge the battery
    (7) Hit it and go

    Good luck with it, and I’ve borrowed a bit already, thanks.

  37. I’m back on here after a few weeks absence reading Gerry Feltus’s book. It was an excellent read and goes to show all the effort the police really did put into the case.

    In regards to a possible plate, I have recently had a front tooth removed and a plate made. I suffer from anxiety and a fear of choking, and find that wearing the plate makes me gag. It’s also hard to eat because I have an overbite (my back teeth don’t touch with the plate in.) I can’t recall off the top of my head if the unknown man had an over bite, but if he was anything like me and couldn’t tolerate a plate being in, then he may not have worn it often, or taken it out when eating the pastie. And I’m sure his would have been a lot bigger and bulkier with that many teeth missing.
    A plate does not need to be kept in water, and is taken out at night to reduce bacteria and mould. I leave mine in my handbag when I’m not wearing it.

  38. T Anderson on November 5, 2013 at 9:19 am said:

    I don’t think I’ve entirely put my whole opinion out there. I have a very strong opinion, that i have no attachment to in any way (i really don’t care if I’m right, I have no stake or emotional investment in this case. I feel like I’m the only one here who hasn’t put his cards on the table so here goes.

    When I first saw Abbott’s findings about the nurse’s son having the same two easily observable mendelian traits as the unknown man, I immediately assumed paternity.

    Having admitted that, why am I so easily swayed by a photograph that i don’t even remember seeing anywhere? Simple, I’ve read some of the information Abbott and his students have put out and I trust (and wait to verify) him. Having a (moderately)firm grasp on genetics as well as population genetics I would need his appraisal to be conclusively disproved, or another candidate put forth with those genetic traits to budge on this issue.

    Next up, I have no doubt he killed himself. Why? Taman Shud, Care was taken to put the book somewhere it wouldn’t be exposed, the fact he put Taman Shud in his pocket provides plausibility he couldn’t destroy it due to personal meaning, but he didn’t want it tied to him due to the Nurse’s number.

    Everything points to him being from out of town, then he ends up on a beach within walking distance from the house of his ex-lover and mother of his child. It makes sense he had no hat, dental plate, wallet. You can’t wear a mens hat lying down, dental plate may have been identifiable but just as easily it’d be more comfortable without it. Wallet is identifiable so its out.

    If there is somewhere i’m not applying Occam’s Razor, or if i’m missing something that refutes what i predicate my assumptions on then feel free to set me straight. All of these possible stories are out of thin air, some of which are directly refuted by the evidence we have. A link to Prosper’s shady deals? First refute Abbott, then explain Alf Boxalls copy because the existence of his copy sets a precedent. The juicyfruit gum he couldn’t chew with his dentition calls into question if everything in the suitcase was even his.

    That’s my position on the case, I felt it only fair i state my position clearly, I don’t have enough information to know where he came from, only that he seems to have had a purpose being where he was.

  39. Furphy on November 6, 2013 at 6:33 am said:

    Speaking of Occam’s Razor, what if, hypothetically, a few or several of the popular theories about SM’s identity are true or partly true, i.e. he invented aliases and/or stole several different names, possibly belonging to or easily confused with real people? Such characters tend to avoid paper trails (except the minimum that they need) and are, therefore, notoriously hard to identify. We could call it the “Don Draper hypothesis” (after the fictional character in _Mad Men_ who is accidentally assigned the identity of a dead comrade while shell-shocked, but then runs with it for reasons of self-advancement, to the point that even his first wife doesn’t find out for several years :-). If _Mad_Men_ is to be believed, it was surprisingly easy to pose as a dead guy in the 1950s, if one has the right documents and avoids one’s own family, as well as his family, neighborhood and profession…) The thing about this hypothesis is that it doesn’t even have to feed into the organised crime or espionage scenarios, because there are lots of more mundane reasons why people do this (e.g. debtors, defaulters, bigamists, illegal immigrants, etc. Even one Australian Prime Minister, Chris Watson, concealed the fact that he had been born Joh(a)n Christian Tanck in Chile!)

    To take two popular identifications of SM as examples, “Carl Thompsen” and “Robert Walsh” (a.k.a. “Bob Morgan”) as an example, these men are described as woodcutters active in the Riverland region (i.e. Renmark and Morgan, which are only 115 km/70 miles apart) during the 1940s. Not really a big stretch is it? The “Bailey” who disappeared from Mildura in August 1948 may fit in here too.

    Moreover, if SM was some kind of itinerant conman the “Don Draper hypothesis” makes even more sense: we wouldn’t be talking about two or three identities, but many more.

    The suitcase, which is connected to SM by a slender (Barbour 🙂 ) thread at least, also supports this theory: e.g. the conflicting/ambiguous name tags (“Kean/Keane/Keanic/Keaniz” etc) and the removal of the luggage stickers but he may well have bought/stolen it and all/some of its contents second hand, even if it they weren’t “doctored” post-mortem (by an assailant or bent copper).

  40. The Dude on November 6, 2013 at 6:42 am said:

    I’ve always felt that Alf Boxals involvement has been over stated. Sure she gave him a book but he had had no contact with Jestyn for years. He would never have agreed to the interview with Stuart Littlemore if he had anything to hide. btw Littlemore so badly botched that interview it was almost criminal.
    Like T Anderson I don’t care if I’m right or wrong but if Robin is SM s son then SM now has great grandchildren and surely they would be over the issues and pulling out all stops to get to the truth which they do not , to my knowledge , appear to be doing.

  41. B Deveson on November 6, 2013 at 11:38 am said:

    The Baileys are proving to be very elusive. And the address given in the newspaper reports (Lion Avenue Mildura) does not exist. This may just be an innocent typographic error for Lime Avenue, but I feel uneasy with this explanation because there do not seem to be any records for a suitable Mr or a Mrs P Bailey living in the Mildura district that would fit. Mr Bailey was described as an Englishman, 57 years old (as at June 1949). (The News (Adelaide) 22nd June 1949 page 20, and The Advertiser (Adelaide) 23rd June 1949 page 3).

    The reason why I think it is worthwhile trying to trace the Baileys is because Mr Bailey went to Melbourne “for eye treatment” in August 1948. He was reported to have then gone to Adelaide in November 1948 and “since then she has heard nothing of him.”

    At autopsy it was noted that SM had pupillary anomalies that could have been caused by eye injury or disease.

  42. B Deveson: surely this should have been “Lime Avenue, Mildura”? It’s right in the centre there, you can’t miss it. 🙂

  43. Katie-Dee on November 6, 2013 at 7:12 pm said:

    Your post about the ASIO listening station in Somerton Park seals the deal for me – they were obviously listening in on Jestyn’s radio communications. A local will understand that there is F-all at Somerton Park beyond a few bungalows and a miserable stretch of beach; precious little reason to engage counter espionage measures there unless you are trying to flush someone out….

  44. Would love to hear opinion, or interested if any further research has been done on this…

    “I think that he suicided ….. suicide because back about 100 yards from where he was sitting on the seat, I found a hypodermic syringe.”
    “So what happened to the hypodermic syringe, do you remember?”
    “It’s all down there in the place, still.”

    Conversation between Detective Lionel Leane and Stuart Littlemore in 1978 Inside Story Doco.

    Has anyone followed this up? BDeveson, you made mention of this a while ago on Smithsonian I see… have you un earthed anything more?

    Sorry to go off thread topic Nick.

  45. Furphy on November 7, 2013 at 1:00 am said:

    Trove has references to a “PS Bailey” being the director of a river transport company called Murray Shipping in the early 1940s. The company appears to have serviced Morgan and Renmark among others, and to have had vessels serviced in Mildura.

  46. B Deveson on November 7, 2013 at 1:09 am said:

    Somerton had its own branch of the Communist Party of Australia (CPA) and there were several CPA heavies living in the Somerton Park/Glenelg area. I tried to get to see the file: “CP of A (Communist Party of Australia) South Australia, Glenelg Branch” dated 1949. Series number A6122, Control symbol 624, but was told it was closed because of security concerns. I am fairly sure this file was previously open to some degree, but the archives now seem to be restricting material relating to the CPA.
    I know that there were open files relating to the woman who was probably the most influential spy of WW2, but these files are no longer available. Her actions probably prolonged the war in Europe and definitely prolonged the Pacific war. It is know that the Russians gave the Japanese details of the impending attack by the Australian forces at Balikpapan in 1945, and also passed on a lot of other intelligence information to both the Japanese and the Germans. Only light Japanese resistance was expected at Balikpapan, but the Japanese heavily re-inforced and 444 Australians were killed in the battle. This woman’s son is a high profile politician.

    I think the listening post probably used land lines to tap into telephone lines before they reached the local exchange. I think that by 1949 it was common practice for the security services to covertly adjust the telephones of targets so that the line was continuous open (by replacing one insulating washer with a dummy washer from memory). That way the telephone line was continuously open and any conversations within range could be intercepted.

  47. B Deveson: Married women were generally known by their husband’s name so I would expect “Mrs P Bailey” to be the wife of “P”, however the only men with that initial amongst their first names living in Mildura were still alive well after 1949.

    I think Mrs P Bailey may well have been Priscilla Wagenknecht/Bailey who lived in Lime Avenue from the mid/late 1940s. She was born at Wilcannia NSW in 1894 and she and her sister Rosalie were at Wilcannia in 1943. In 1949 they both show up at 142 Lime Ave. Mildura where Priscilla now has the surname Bailey. Her entry is crossed out and marked “See Wagenknecht”. On a separate page of alterations and corrections to the roll she is noted as “nee Bailey”.

    Priscilla marred Stephen Robert Bailey at Broken Hill in 1947 (see Barrier Miner, 9 June 1947), but unfortunately for her, he wasn’t Stephen Robert Bailey and he was gaoled in November 1949 on two counts of bigamy. The full saga is in the SMH, 1 November 1949, page 5 – you honestly couldn’t make this stuff up! The article says that he left her after six weeks of marriage, but a death notice for her brother in 1948 refers to them as a couple so perhaps he was returning home occasionally. She may also have been like the many other women with missing husbands and just living in hope and taking a punt that the unknown man might be hers.

    The only problem here is that the age does not tally. Stephen Bailey aka Frank Monash was 48 in 1949, whereas Mrs P. Bailey said her husband was 57. The problem with trying to research women is that they changed their surnames to suit the occasion, and it is possible that she had taken up with someone else entirely but still called herself Mrs Bailey.

  48. B Deveson on November 7, 2013 at 1:17 am said:

    Katie-Dee, I do feel that there is some sort of espionage dimension to the SM case. My reasons for thinking this are as follows:

    The “code” and the various bits of apparent espionage trade craft that have been previously discussed.

    The secret pocket in SM’s trousers. It was not a standard fob pocket and it escaped detection for several months. Prof. Clelland had difficulty in re-locating the pocket and this confirms that the pocket was very well concealed. The pocket must have been skilfully added by a tailor, and sewn in such a way as to hidden from a fairly detailed investigation. How many ordinary people go to the trouble of having secret pockets added to their clothes? Hiding things in clothing is trade craft that is as old as the hills.

    Dwyer mentioned diphtheria toxin could account for the pathology observed in the post mortem.
    “If a man had access to diphtheria toxin, that certainly could be a possible explanation, but it would be very unusual. He would have to have access to a place where diphtheria toxin was being manufactured. A very small amount of that could cause the haemorrhages.” Dwyer also mentioned that he “… did not think there was any injection of curare or tubariu …” I note that diphtheria toxin at the time was only manufactured in bio-weapons laboratories and the lethal dose in humans (LD50) is 0.1 microgram per Kg of bodyweight.

    The authorities established a “listening post” in 1949 almost on Jestyn’s doorstep (500m away). Coincidence?

    The security services opened a file on the Glenelg Branch of the Communist Party of Australia in 1949. Glenelg is adjacent to Somerton Park. Coincidence?

    In 2001 I noted that there were three files dealing with the SM case in the Australian Archives. Unfortunately I did not look at them at the time and when I checked recently the three files were no longer listed. Why would these files have been removed?

    The “espionage hypothesis” would be strengthened if some of the police involved in the case were members of the Special Branch. But that sort of information could be difficult to obtain.

  49. Helen Ensikat on November 7, 2013 at 4:31 am said:

    Nick, B. Deveson:

    I’m wandering off on a real tangent here with the Baileys, however for what it’s worth, I checked out the Victorian BDM. There aren’t many Bailey deaths between 1949 and the close of records, and only one woman. She happens to be from Mildura, and with that and her age, there seems a chance she may be the Mrs P Bailey from the article:

    Family Name: BAILEY
    Given Name(s): Lavinia
    Sex: Female
    Event: DEATH
    Father’s Name: FOSTER Thomas
    Mother’s Name: SHERWELL – Eliza
    Spouse’s Family Name: [blank]
    Spouse’s Given Name(s): [blank]
    Age: 72
    Birth Place: ARARAT
    Death Place: MILDURA
    Registration Year: 1959
    Registration Number: 23576

    On an even more tenuous note, I’m sure I saw some social notes about a Mr & Mrs Bailey from Renmark motoring to Adelaide (which I only noticed because Renmark had recently come up in relation to ‘Carl Thompson’) but I can’t find the article again for the life of me.

  50. Katie-Dee on November 7, 2013 at 9:34 am said:

    Who is the woman you say was Australia’s biggest spy during the Second World War?

    What archived files have been removed from view which dealt with Somerton Man??

    Most perplexing!

  51. Katie-Dee on November 7, 2013 at 9:48 am said:

    Give me a hint, this is the first I’ve heard of any of this.

  52. The Dude on November 7, 2013 at 10:31 am said:


  53. B Deveson on November 7, 2013 at 1:15 pm said:

    not just Australia’s. Probably the person who had the greatest impact on the 20th century, although very few are aware of this. Frances Ada Bernie nee Scott, code name Sestra (sister) of the NKGB. Confidential secretary to Doctor Evatt 1944-45.
    Most of the really important matters of value to the USSR passed her eyes – not just Australian material. Top grade allied material relating to both the European and Pacific wars. And allied codes.
    See “Breaking the codes” by Desmond Ball and David Horner and comments by Prof. Ball at the time of printing (1998). Unfortunately the most interesting files have been indexed in some misleading ways and some seem to have disappeared from the filing system. But perhaps try Gluck and Garrett.
    Be careful.

  54. Yes Nick, I loved the circus bit too, it is a story with a bit of everything. I think I might add him to my “list of interesting people”.

    B Deveson: The NAA are very helpful with requests to find records, just go to the ‘Contact Us’ link and then ‘ask us a question about records in our collection’. As they hold over 39 million records and less than a quarter have been catalogued, you would probably need to give some sort of vague idea of the general area you were looking at. Obviously the records would have been generated after some sort of interaction with a Government department, maybe have a look through their guides and factsheets and see if any of the series descriptions jogs your memory.

    Helen: Lavinia’s husband was named Benjamin and he predeceased her in 1954.

    Furphy: The ‘P. S. Bailey’ you have found may be Percival Summerson Bailey. He lived a long life and died in 1974 aged 91.

  55. Debra: once again, thank you so very much for all that! I wonder what Frank Monash did in the circus? He certainly had his own brand of disappearing act. 😉

  56. He was an electrician, so the mind boggles, but maybe he wasn’t actually performing. I think he “borrowed” the identity of a real person, an electrician named Stephen Robert Bailey, so he may have worked with him at some stage. Frank enlisted twice in WW2 and adjusted his age. The second time he was discharged after about a week, so they must have found out that he was the same person who had been previously discharged. There is always that one Sergeant Major who never forgets a face!

    I don’t think his name was Frank Monash either *sigh*

  57. Katie-Dee on November 7, 2013 at 7:01 pm said:

    Wow, there is virtually no information available on Frances Ada Bernie. I wonder why….

  58. Katie-Dee on November 7, 2013 at 7:21 pm said:

    Whose mother was Frances Ada Bernie/Scott? I understand Scott was the married name.

  59. B Deveson on November 8, 2013 at 4:52 am said:

    Gluck/Garrett. Scott was her birth surname. Married? or adopted? by Bernie. Then married Max Gluck 1945 using the name Scott . Name then anglicised by deed poll.
    I note that that the files now come up when “Bernie” is used as a search term. Several years ago these seemed to be invisible if one searched on “Bernie”. We should leave it at that. You can email if you like; I am not hard to find. Redmud

  60. Katie-Dee on November 8, 2013 at 8:07 am said:

    Peter Garrett’s mother went by Betty, though, and his daddy was another Peter, unless those were changed as well

  61. The dude on November 10, 2013 at 8:28 am said:

    Anyone have a clue as to how Prosper T was in the position to be advertising in the houses wanted for a new bungalow and offering up to 2000 pounds CASH in 1949?
    2000 pounds being about 6 to 7 years full time salary at the time.
    6 months earlier he was hawking himself out as a casual driver for weddings and sporting events.

  62. now you’re getting hot dood

  63. The Dude on November 12, 2013 at 9:40 am said:

    Anyone got an answer? it’s nicer to think about love story’s and spy’s I guess, just curious about that.

  64. The dude on November 24, 2013 at 1:04 am said:

    Jestyns daughter Kate and wife and daughter of Robin are on 60 minutes tonight.
    So much for the decedents wanting privacy.

  65. Hi Nick, Just a flashback but, Neil McRae “who had a vision”, do we know what his background was? Was he retired? working? member of any clubs? etc

  66. John Jurgens on February 20, 2014 at 11:29 pm said:

    Hello all. I have just today become fascinated with this mystery so I am an absolute beginner and I definitely defer to the many astute minds I see here who have been investigating this for a long time. It strikes me that it would be very interesting to know where and when SM consumed the pastie that was found in his stomach. With Jestyn perhaps? Any thoughts?

  67. First time commenter, long time reader of this blog, but have been mostly focused on the Beale and Feynman ciphers.

    However, this is certainly a fascinating mystery that I’ll probably get sucked into despite the long odds of it ever being resolved due to the sketchy details and passage of time.

    However, I’d love to get everyone’s take on one thing: do most people think the suitcase is really the unknown man’s?

    I apologise for repeating the same bad pun and idea from a couple of the above comments above, but I agree that the thread connecting the dead man to the suitcase is tenuous, and wouldn’t a man with a dental plate tend to shun chewing gum?

  68. I want to know what happened to the receipt for the luggage checked in at the Adelaide Railway station as the cloakroom was able to produce the stub date stamped 30th November,1948.

  69. borrowed and returned, some junk already inside.

  70. Ed1966 on January 30, 2016 at 8:48 am said:

    New to thread and in no way an expert. Re the spy versus other theories, I lean to the spy for the reasons set out below.
    1. Posing of the body – criminals would dispose of the body properly or make a public example (shotgun to the back of the head) but are unlikely to pose a body in such a manner. By the way what’s with one butt on the lape and one behind the ear ?
    2. Rubiayat – I would suggest that this was popular enough to not be overtly suspicious but able to be presented in such a way as to identify the holder to others. Not sure why Jestyn gave the copy to Alf, however, it’s turning up in at least two matters centering on her is too much of a coincidence.
    3. The number identifies the house she lived in and he is found dead close thereto. Hard to believe this is all random.
    4. I think that Mr. Francis is a fiction and it is interesting to note that the police readily agreed his identity should be kept secret. Why would a wealthy chemist/doctor need his identity covered ? and why would the police agree ? More likely that someone removed it from SM’s possession at some stage. I think it unlikely he tossed it himself unless he thouhgt he was being followed, e.g. saw someone on the train platform and decided to take the bus.
    5. Her reaction at sighting the body cannot be construed as promoting any argument, however, it is suspicious, as is the fact she wrongly identified it. Whether father or other relative there appears to be evidence of physical similarities.
    6. Death by natural cause ? Of course possibe, as is his seeming to be exceptionally fit…but odd.
    7. Genuinely confused – the body is lying there but then the witness saying a man was carrying another along the strand…did he get up in his near death state and have to be carried back ? or can we discount the man carrying a body witness account ?
    In short, it looks like professionals tracked and killed him – removing most evidence in the process. He is linked to a woman closeby his death, and her children.
    Just my two cents worth & best to all !

  71. Ed, there was only one cigarette, and at what stage did Jessica wrongly identify the body?

  72. Ed1966 on January 31, 2016 at 1:57 am said:

    Pete – It may have been something on another site and incorrect, however, I was sure it referred to one on his lapel and another tucked behind his ear. Let me re-read, but it struck me as very odd. When I say the body – did she not say after looking at the bust that it was Alf ? As mentioned, new to this, so apologies if too many rookie mistakes, but there is a lot of material to sift through.

  73. Fair enough, it took me four years plus. Wikipedia had the cigarettes wrong, I fixed it a while ago. The police were the ones disappointed Jessica didn’t recognise the bust because they thought it was Boxall, It would have been a tidy close to the case. She was shocked because it was someone else.
    Everything I know comes from Gerry Feltus’ book or the coronial papers, I used to speculate like crazy just to give Nick the shits. I was younger then.

  74. Pete: …but since your 70th birthday you’ve calmed right down?

    Must’ve been quite a scare, nearly dropping dead from blowing out all those candles. 😉

  75. My hair nearly fell out.

  76. Pete: I’m surprised they didn’t catch fire, never mind drop out.

    Some of those anti-grey comb-through products can really catch light big-time, if you know what I mean. 😉

  77. Ed, if you’re still there, this is what we have to put up with when we invite a cryptographer to the Somerton party. It’s very difficult keeping the old lad on the right page.

  78. Pete: you drank nearly all the vodka I brought, didn’t notice you complaining. 😉

  79. Ed1966 on January 31, 2016 at 1:44 pm said:

    Pete & Nick – still here. Just attending to another similarity with SM – I have a newborn. Not as polished as vodka but happy to provide as much ruou de as you like if you come to Saigon. Take care all & look forward to reading more (and maybe contributing, albeit down the track on that one…). Cheers, Ed

  80. Ed: if so, good luck with determining the paternity. 😉 [Only kidding]

    By the way, if you want to know more about the Somerton Man, I would strongly recommend buying Gerry Feltus’ book “The Unknown Man”: lots in there for everyone, I think it’s safe to say.

    Incidentally, I nearly made it to Vietnam in 2015, and I hope to make a second attempt in 2017, so perhaps see you then! 🙂

  81. Ed1966 on January 31, 2016 at 2:19 pm said:

    Nick, it may be SM & Harold Holt’s shark’s love child, but I am good with that. Re Unknown Man – I am getting my sister in Brisbane to get one and also Pete’s when it comes out. Also, the offer is made in earnest so please let me know if you are coming to Vietnam.
    All the best, Ed

  82. Ed: 🙂

    Thanks for the offer, very much appreciated – as I said, the chance slipped through my fingers in 2015 but I’m still hopeful that I’ll get to Vietnam in 2017, will definitely drop you a line if it starts to look likely. 🙂

  83. Ed1966 on February 9, 2016 at 8:15 am said:

    Back again – a few quiet moments over Tet !
    I was wondering why Jestyn swooned on seeing the bust – as the photo of the man on the beach was already in the newpapers, the bust (which doesn’t look like the beach body) must be of different man, no ? Also, what was your final opinion on Lawson’s note “original body” ?
    Chuc mung nam moi ! Ed

  84. Ed1966: to be honest, I tend to put body-switching theories close to the bottom of the pile (and then leave them there).

    Even though (as we know now) Jestyn knew the man (or at least, knew who he was), the scenario where she didn’t know that he was also the Somerton Man before coming to the morgue seems perfectly reasonable (if not fairly likely) to me. Whether or not that means she had last seen him alive or dead is another matter, though – personally, I suspect that when she had last seen him, he was still alive (just)… but I would admit that this is a very weak inference.

  85. Ed1966: remember that the Glenelg Rubaiyat was handed in many months after the Somerton Man had been found on the beach, and that Jestyn (as I recall) went into the Morgue expecting to see a plaster cast of Alf Boxall’s upper torso – as a result, it seems reasonably likely to me that she didn’t know anything about the other Rubaiyat before that date. That is, I suspect she connected the Rubaiyat the police had told her about only with the one she had given to Boxall.

  86. Pete, thanks for the posts and yes body-switching theory may be reaching (perhaps the Saigon winter heat). But bear with me – she sees the photo of the unidentified man in the newspaper (of course I don’t know her reaction upon reading the newspaper at home), but it surely wouldn’t have a been a shock months after. Also, in his interview Lawson described where everyone was standing, positioning of the bust and how he removes the covering – like a magic act rather than police work…why not just show her the photos ? Easier to use for identification than a plaster cast…
    Anyway, let me stew on it over my break & hope all is well with you.
    Best regards, Ed

  87. Ed1996: the Glenelg Rubaiyat was connected to her (via a phone number), and she was connected to Boxall through the Rubaiyat that she had given him, which is the kind of two-way thing the police look for to “close the (evidential) loop”: so I don’t see it as at all problematic to infer that she (prompted by the police) was probably expecting to see a plaster-cast of Boxall’s torso in the Morgue.

    Of course, it was (as was quickly apparent) not Boxall at all, but instead someone else she knew but who (I suspect) she was not expecting to see there.

    Perhaps, speculations and inferences aside, we can agree that something about what she saw there greatly surprised her: the issue is then what the nature of that surprise was.

  88. When isn’t a person shocked when a shroud unveils the face of someone they loved, even when they know what they are about to see?
    There is room for human emotion in this discussion, surely.

  89. Nick, yes agree 100%. Sleep deprivation not conducive to coherence. Cheers !

  90. Pete: maybe she did, maybe she didn’t – all we have is her surprise, everything else is our surmise.

    Apologies for the accidental poetry. 😉

  91. Milongal on February 9, 2016 at 10:31 pm said:

    It occurred to me some time ago that we always seem to assume her reaction meant she knew SM. What if she was aware of his existence but didn’t specifically know him. That is, what if she had recently seen him (eg someone her boyfriend/husband was doing business with), but didn’t really know who he was. Then seeing him dead makes all sorts of ideas come into her head (not least of which is that she might be sharing a bed with a killer) which causes a reaction – she recognised the person as someone she had seen (most likely with someone she knew), but the person themselves is not necessarily someone she knows.

    But I think Ed makes an interesting speculation about the reaction assuming she had seen a picture in the paper – but comparing pictures of bust and photo I’d be more inclined to believe she hadn’t paid that much attention to the story in the papers (which might suggest she wasn’t expecting anyone to turn up dead – although a front page photo would likely be displayed on ‘most every newsagent).

    I can’t help but think identifying any body might be a difficult experience for some. Seeing a corpse for the first time might make some feel faint – and may even make them reluctant to view it again…but it seems an odd reaction to seeing a bust….

  92. John sanders on November 21, 2016 at 4:58 am said:

    Milongal: Could be on the money there. Lets say SM and Prosper met by chance at Fisherman’s Bend the day before, our lad to meet up with Messrs. Clayton, Rice, Anors whilst Jo’s old man was checking on things to do with his prospective Holden dealership. It just so happens that 29th was GMH’s roll off day with our PM on hand and arguably Australia’s most momentus celebratory event; sufficiently important as to warrant a union holiday for the workers of Holden and its brother company Commonwealth Airlines Co. Later on the night train to Adelaide they bump into each other again and SM is introduced to George’s good lady where they strike up a reporte which culminates in the phone number being written down on Jo’s little book of poetry that they shared some interest in during the long boring night. If we’re not impressed with this case scenario then lets substitute Melbourne for Broken Hill. Prosper as we know is a classic car enthusiast and likewise the Pruszinskis of that town, (dead Fred’s brother Don is still into it and world renowned) who being of a certain nationality are known to SM through their mutual support of a particular relief charity. Needless to say there is one of those ‘hail fellow well met’ opportunities and subsequent night train to Adelaide where the book plays its unforseen deadly role the following day. As you may detect, my real interest is to keep the ball rolling, pending the upcoming book release ‘Curse of Curtin’s Cowboy’ for release 30th instant. My next post God willing will tell you how SM willing gave over his new Tudor Oyster timepiece to Prosper and a little known co-incidence concerning a connection between Jo Thomson’s phone number and T.A. Keane (the younger). Oh there is also a possible family link between Jo’s mum Ellen and T.A. Keane (the older) ‘s wife Liz with the maternal Lee link. I’m not so good at that caper so I’ll have to rely on Byron or some body who may be interested to follow it up. Cheers all and try to stick it out if you have the nerve.

  93. John – Any thoughts on Joy Denbigh Stuart French? Your research appears to be quite impeccable and I would be very surprised if she did not have the pleasure of TS’s acquaintance.

    Why do you call out his “2nd” wife as being in a bigamous marriage? Was it not he that might have done so without her knowledge?

    T A (the younger) and (the older)…Could you please provide a first name? Older wife Liz – who is she? I would be happy to explore as I have the maternal Lee’s figured out quite precisely.

  94. John sanders on November 23, 2016 at 4:04 am said:

    Misca: So (why?) Look all I know really is that Joy could have known our TS from the Sydney/Melbourne horse racing scene or perhaps even the popular ‘arty-pinko’ social set like Pakies and Petrushka cafe but you already know that. She would most likely have left us by the time Jo came on the scene and she was not in the same age group anyway. Sad that she died on her way home and somewhat similarly to our Charles Mikkelsen one year before if we are to assume that the historical evidence is sound. There’s always the chance that she knew SM’s first wife Annie Marie of the London Ballet whose father was a career military man like her own father and the pair were about the same age. Young capt. Stuart-French ADC to His Excellency GG of NZ in 1937 may very well have seen TS performing during a tour to the shaky isles that yes but alas we gain nothing much by hypothysising. Marie Elizabeth O’Brien was T.A. Keane’s good lady and her mother was Emma Clare Lee hence the possible connection to Jo’s mum Ellen Lee but who knows these leads don’t pan out most of the time; we seem to have a proliferation of O’Briens, McMahons and the like popping up all over. The other thing about TM’s bigamous marriage to Marie in 1937, I believe to be the case because he had not been present for his daughter Patricia Jean’s birth in 1935 and she was raised as a S******** along with her brothers. If mother had passed on soon after her birth than our man is innocent of all charges your honour and my apologies to the Court if I suggested otherwise; in any case sweet voiced Margaretta Marie could never have been part of any such deception and its nice to know she ended up with a better man subsequently, he of course being the West Beach pharmacist of RAF pathfinder credentials who wouldn’t hurt a fly personally (unless something to do with his new spouse’s antecedents resurfaced in say late November 1948 and sparked off a dormant PTSD attack).

  95. John sanders on November 23, 2016 at 7:39 am said:

    Misca: A little faux pas on my part with regard to SM which should have been TS and the word ‘year’s should be below 1937. The RAF chap Edwin seems to have been much younger than his bride who was a professional Tivoli performer by the early 1930s when he would have been around ten. Sorry if I wasn’t much help.

  96. B Deveson on November 24, 2016 at 12:15 am said:

    Misca noted that Thomas Erskine Cleland, the coroner for the SM inquest, acted as a solicitor for Horace Pile’s (Horace Allan Pile) wife Rivka in a 1954 court case. Pile was a senior member of the South Australian Branch of the Australian Communist Party at the time.

    “Pile moved to Adelaide in what ASIO thought were ”unusual circumstances” in 1951. He was immediately elected to the Communist Party’s state executive committee. A year later he became a full-time party organiser before becoming state secretary of the Ships Painters and Dockers Union.
    Significantly, Pile was also involved with the party’s ”illegal apparatus”, a network of members who avoided open political activity so that the party could operate clandestinely if the government moved to make its activities illegal. Prominent South Australian communist lawyer Elliott Johnston recalled more than four decades later that ”Horrie was sent to us by the Central Committee … to help set things up to keep the party going [in South Australia] if Menzies had succeeded in bringing in a ban.” “A spy named Horrie”.

    It was SOP for the Communist Party in Australia to only engage fellow traveller legal representatives so Cleland’s engagement for Mrs Pile is clear evidence that Cleland was an accepted fellow traveller, although probably a clandestine one. Which is to say that the communist sympathiser involved in the police SM case recently mentioned by Paul Lawson was probably the coroner Tom Cleland. That goes a long way in explaining why the inquest wasn’t thoroughly carried out. And I wonder about Tom’s cousin John Cleland, the chap who found the piece of paper torn from the ROK.

  97. John –

    Rough day for me so I will be brief. With a good rest, I’ll happily elaborate. Mother “S” may not have passed on early; she may well have lived long. Perhaps instead, she decided to move on/get-the-hell-outa-there? The children may have spent some time with maternal family but not much…In fact, in searching out their roots, they don’t seem to remember it. They don’t even seem to really know about one another…One of the son’s in particular (who was only registered with his Mother’s maiden name) clearly grew up in an orphanage until he turned 16. The descendants are out there asking about it. Patricia Jean, strangely, is the only one registered under both parents’ names. (Listed not as both but as “either or”). Sweet Margueretta sure robbed the cradle didn’t she? And her second-go-round knocked out quite early – (Pause for thought). Why do you imply that there is no record of death or burial for TS.? There is. Yes, they’re a bit strange but how would one go about pulling off a fake death/burial? The wife signed for the book, the company signed for headstone and the undertaker filled out the forms. If it was all fake we would have quite a double whammy on our hands wouldn’t we? Fake death followed by death of an unknown man…Which grave to dig up first? I’m still sufficiently intrigued to pursue it and I am particularly perturbed by the lack of recognition, response of his peers. That to me is most perplexing. So much respect for the man and his trade while alive and absolutely NOTHING when he dies. Very strange that. I will follow any lead you provide.

    A little bit of excitement – look up his 1929 trip from Sydney to London. The “first wife” is there with him. Just scroll up above his name and there she is; all resplendent in her mother’s maiden name.

    Why do you think the Ruskins are important? Certainly, they may have known him but why are you interested in them particularly? Why is the connection important? Shed some light and I’ll put in the time.

    The horse was owned by E F Luke. He was also a jockey. I really don’t think that there’s much worth going after there.

  98. John sanders on November 24, 2016 at 10:01 am said:

    Misca: One rough day is just meant to keep us on our game and to appreciate the many good ones we’ve enjoyed. Yes I know all about the plot at Andersons Bay and have seen the ‘died suddenly’ death notices and am inclined not to refute their veracity necessarily but there are unanswered niggling questions like cause of death for one and even the identity of the deceased. I could spend time explaining the age old substitution scandles re ballet star name recognition importance to promoters, suffice to say that in 1911 the superstar Najinski had star billing on three continents the same day so whose to say that the deceased was our man, and just look over there with old Tibor if you can believe that mess up. Pamela Ruskin connects with the Melbourne Jewish community, also the Australian Ballet along with her husband publisher Alfred who may have worked at 115 Hospital with old Tom Keane and just may have done a short run of a certain book we all know and love. She worked as a cypher clerk with naval Intelligence during the war so something might be going on thats all. You will have noted as I did that Annie Marie was a Spanish speaker and presumably her Polish speaking spouse would have had to assist her at times with English of which he was apparently very proficient. When did your Joy go to Spain, what was her business and did she learn Spanish, also was she a suspected insurgent as my Teddie was thought to be in Sydney. I’d like to know why she interests you so much but I won’t press you on that matter and have a great one tomorrow.

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