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this is what we know

Jessica Harkness

We know Jessica’s home phone number was written on the back of the Francis Rubaiyat.

We know Jessica lived a within a couple of hundred yards from where the Somerton Body was found on December 1st 1948.

We know Jessica gave a copy of the Rubaiyat to Alf Boxall in 1945.

We know Jessica told the police she did not remember Alf Boxall (when asked in 2002.)

We know Jessica remembered being visited by the police in 1949 (when asked in 2002.)

We know Jessica recognised Paul Lawson’s bust of the Somerton Body.

We know Jessica lied to the police.

Alf Boxall

We know Alf Boxall served in the 2/1 North Australian Observation Unit.

We know that the 2/1 was not an Intelligence unit.

We know, when asked by Stuart Littlemore if Jessica knew of his involvement in Intelligence, Alf replied ‘Only if someone else told her.’

Prosper McTaggart Thomson

We know Prosper was discharged from the army for medical reasons.

We know his army records disclosed he suffered from hemoptysis.

We know hemoptysis can be treated with digitalis.

We know digitalis is a glycoside.

We know glycoside is a poison.

The Somerton Man

We know coroner Cleland was ‘prepared to find that he died from poison, and that the poison was probably a glycoside and it was not accidentally administered.’

We know the lividity exhibited on the body suggested he died lying flat, rather than with his head and shoulders supported by the sea wall.

We know the man lying by the sea wall was only seen between the hours of 7:00 and 7:45 pm on the evening of 30th November.

We know he was alive.

We know a man stood watching him from the road for five minutes.

The four witnesses

We know a man came forward in 1959 to tell the police he and three others had seen a well dressed man carrying a man along the foreshore of Somerton Beach about 10:30 on the night of November 30th 1948.

We know a police report was completed by Detective Don O’Doherty and lodged with the head of Adelaide CIB.

Mr Francis

We know there was no such person.

We suspect the entire Francis account was concocted to hide the real identity of the person who handed in the Francis Rubaiyat.


What we don’t know is if anyone has put it all together yet.


The Bookmaker from Rabaul


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