…it might be, simply because his name and address appear (lightly crossed out) on p.6 of the production notes for the 1978 Littlemore television piece on the Somerton Man.

If you search for barcode 7937872 at the NAA (RecordSearch, Advanced search for items, Item barcode, Search), you get to “C673, INSIDE STORY PART 2” – The Somerton Beach Story [Box 39] (hopefully this direct link should work). Page 6, point 10 looks like this:

Gerry Feltus gave the man’s name as “Ronald Francis” (a pseudonym), and said that he was a “businessman from Jetty Road, Glenelg” (The Unknown Man, pp.104-105): his brother-in-law had found the Rubaiyat in the back of the man’s Hillman Minx and left it in the glove compartment, from where it passed into Australian cold case legend. (The original Adelaide Advertiser story referred to him as a “city businessman”).

The man’s identity was never revealed, and his precise profession never disclosed: “But did it matter” (wrote Feltus, p.105) “if the discoverer was a doctor, chemist, dentist, jeweller, business person or a male or a female?”

Yet back in 1978, Littlemore’s production notes repeatedly describe the person who found the Rubaiyat not as a businessman but as a “doctor”.

OK, it should be clear that right now I can neither prove or disprove that this person was Dr Sarre. However, what I can say is that it would seem that the absence of any mention of his name in connection with the Somerton Man cold case is somewhat unjustified: the inclusion of his name and Jetty Road address in the production notes make him at the very least a person of interest to us.

But what is there to say about him?

Dr Malcolm Glen Sarre

Note that I don’t have hugely reliable sources for any of the following (nor any photos etc), so please feel free to leave comments with better information!

According to ancestry.com, Malcolm Glen Sarre was born 10th November 1919 in Adelaide to Reginald Sarre and Gladys Ruby Prisk: he died 4th February 2000, living in Somerton Park. On his Australian Army forms (540472), his next of kin is marked as Richard Sarre (I believe this was his brother R.R.Sarre). Dr Sarre married Mary Bailey (daughter of Mr and Mrs H.G.Bailey of Loudon Brae) on 1st November 1947. Their daughter Elizabeth Mary Sarre was born on 2nd March 1953 in Adelaide. Dr Sarre also had an uncle and aunt (Cr. J.J. and Mrs Andrew) in Devonport.

Incidentally, Dr Malcolm Sarre’s name appears briefly in a police gazette: on 9/4/1947, he had his Sunbeam Shavemaster electric razor (“value £6”) stolen from the Doctor’s Quarters in Adelaide Hospital.

But apart from a few fleeting mentions in newspaper columns (typically thanking him and his hospital staff for their efforts), Malcolm Sarre seems to have lived a private, nearly invisible life.

PS: Dr Richard Sarre

It seems highly likely that Dr Richard Sarre (who gave a 2014 talk at Holdfast Bay Rotary Club a few weeks before Professor Derek Abbott gave a talk on the Somerton Man there) is related to the late Dr Malcolm Sarre… but the precise details elude me.

8 thoughts on “Was it Dr Malcolm Glen Sarre who found the Rubaiyat?

  1. B Deveson on December 27, 2016 at 11:25 am said:

    From memory Dr Sarre was in partnership with a Dr Swann. I can’t remember if Dr Swann lived in Glenelg at the relevant time.

  2. Seems that Reginald Richard was Malcolm’s dad, who passed on in late ’43 and that he had a brother Phillip. He only made private in the army so it would appear that he may have been demobed on his unit’s return from the middle east at the end of ’42. It also appears that he only completed his medical studies before his marriage to Liz in November ’47 and so its unlikely that he would have been in private practise so fresh out of medical school by ’48 if that’s relevant to us. I note that his sunbeam was stolen from Adelaide Hospital in April ’47 which would seem to support his live in internship there. Its interesting to observe that he took a holiday with his wife to Davenport Tasmania in early November 1948, just a couple of weeks before the Parafield air pageant so we must wonder whether he made it back in time.

  3. B Deveson on December 27, 2016 at 8:26 pm said:

    The Times and Northern Advertiser, Peterborough South Australia 7th November 1947 page 3.

    “……. Dr. Malcolm Sarre who is to go into partnership with our ex-medico Eric Swann) ….”.

  4. milongal on December 28, 2016 at 2:41 am said:

    Random Statement:
    DA lists the investigating Detective as “Raymond Lionel Leane” – although there was a (Brigadier General) Raymond Lionel Leane who served SAPOL as Commissioner, he appears to have retired (as commissioner) in 1944. Given he was 70 by 1948, it would seem unlikely he was the 45-year old Detective Sergeant Lionel Leane (45 based on the doco notes saying he was 74 in 1977 – 15 years after RLL died).

  5. milongal on December 28, 2016 at 2:46 am said:

    (actually, the doco notes also refer to him as Det Sgt R Lionel Leane – curious).

  6. milongal on December 28, 2016 at 2:53 am said:

    I should’ve read the whole thing first….
    They actually had a check whether the 2 Leane’s were connected (I assume not, it’s crossed out at item 14 on the page the Doctor is struck out too).

    NB: As well as striking out Dr Sarre at item 10, they’ve replaced “Doctor” with “Chemist” at item 3….

  7. milongal on December 28, 2016 at 3:27 am said:

    There is something a touch interesting in the notes to the documentary….
    There’s a mention of Red Cross homes for Convalescent Soldiers – at Henley Beach and Glenelg/Somerton (these days it’s “Glenelg South” – which sits between Glenelg and Somerton Park). I think they’re referring to Red cross homes originally started by a “Lady Galway” – and moved from Henley to Glenelg in 1946 (see where this is going?). Supposing someone has been previously advised (say by a nurse who’s dealt with military personnel) that when they reach Adelaide they should head to Henley Beach. Suppose they arrive in Adelaide with a plan to head to Henley, only to find out that the home has moved to Glenelg?.

    Now some Geography. People always speculate that SM got off the bus at the corner of Anzac Hwy and Adelphi Tce (this I think is based on that being the closest that the St Leonard’s bus would have gotten to Glenelg – this doesn’t entirely sit well with me – that someone unfamiliar with Adelaide would know St Leonards is next to Glenelg – especially given that there were likely other buses that actually went to Glenelg (and I suspect terminated in Moseley St)….I digress). For SM to walk to Robert St from there (where the house would be) is 1.5km. 90A Moseley St (was that the address?) is about 300m further up the road; and Bickford St (which Wiki reports as where the Crippled Childrens home was) is a further kilometre again (roughly).

    This sort of fits in with seemingly anonymised clothing too (although I was starting to look at Keane’s that weren’t “T” – like JD Keane (there was a mention of ‘J’ by the “expert” who suggested KEANIC rather than KEANE).

  8. milongal on December 28, 2016 at 4:37 am said:

    Sorry for the continuous addendums….
    There is also a “Kapara Nursing Home” at 80 Moseley St(!), which apparently is where a witness who claimed SM had showed him ID with “Solomonson” lived.

    However – some of the detail at times is confusing (and clearly not by an Adelaidean) – like an insistence that SM must have turned RIGHT along the beach (from the end of Anzac Hwy) to end up in Somerton. Now, I’m pretty sure when I’m facing West and I want to go South, I turn LEFT.

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