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October 1946.

The war over, Japan crippled, Germany a smoking ruin, England and her allies triumphant and the Pacific islands being relieved of the assets Lend Lease thought worthy enough to retrieve. They had their balance sheet and shareholders to consider.

Heavy earth-moving machinery, trucks, building materials, unused stores. Privateers amongst the salvage flotillas that crowded every harbour from Rabaul to Ambon. Boats of every size and description, their crews ashore, haggling for loads, using old Japanese barges to transport them back to the ship.

Men of every description, some of them off the WW2 recruitment books for whatever reason. Age, medical or physical conditions. Mental problems. Crossed eyes. Hundreds of thousands of men were kept out of uniform on both sides of the Pacific and many of them wanted to serve.

Some hired on as crew with the American Small Ships fleet** and were sent to the South West Pacific salvage grounds.

Lieutenant Alf Boxall could lean over the rail of the SS Crusader in 1947 and look down on it all. His was the biggest and newest ship in the fleet.


Alf liked a drink, and even in the most dismal, mosquito-infested port a night on the snort was well catered for. Rabaul in particular was known for its hospitality and it is reliably rumoured that a generous storage area in the Crusader’s hold was set aside for the resupply of liquor to these impoverished outposts.

Pallets of sturdy boxes, all marked. This one Johnny Walker, this one gin.

Blackmarket booze. Blackmarket everything. Men have written about MacArthur’s Small Ships Company and the conditions the fleet operated under and compared it to the American wild west.

And I can’t see Alf having a drink up there on his lonesome, booze likes company.

On the 16th of October 1946, Boxall flew out of Rabaul and two days later landed in Brisbane. I’m guessing he headed straight to the train station and bought a ticket to Sydney.

It was unlikely that Alf travelled from Rabaul to Sydney alone. It’s likely he was with others, some on leave, others after their demob or onto a new posting.


small ships crew on a drill

In 1949, Jessica told Detective Canney that ‘some years before she had given a copy of the Rubaiyat to Alf Boxall, who she had met on a couple of occasions at The Clifton Gardens.‘*

Some years before: 1946. A couple of times.

Alf was back in Sydney town in October 1946 after a lengthy tour in the South West Pacific and was on the books for a Lieutenant’s posting on the newly built Crusader, sailing date January 1947. No more rustbuckets, stinking bilges and ruptured steam hoses. Hot food every day.

Jessica became pregnant in October 1946.

Was there someone else on Alf’s flight, someone unregistered for war because of an infirmity? An gum-chewing, chain-smoking middle-aged American named Keane, distinguishable by the unusual and peculiar condition of his feet.

His name on a crew list somewhere.


**A-1 (S-182) Ajax Alacrity (S-34)
Altair (S-117) Alvic (S-35) Anshun
Apache (S-568, CSN-1) Aqua/Rena Star (S-170) Argo (S-86)
Argosy Lemal (S-6) Alamo Atlantic Trader
Australian Flyer Babilla (OL-2, S-236) Badal (OL-4, S-345)
Bangalow (OL-24, S-346) Bantam Barbara C (S-208)
Barraconda (S-61) BCL-3061 BCL-3065
BD-240 (S-240) BD-1156 Bella Gee (S-193)
Bellbird (S-120) Bergalia (S-144) (not acquired) Billy Jo
Bingarra (S-98) Black Fin (S-9) Bloomfield (S-43)
Bobby Bonwin (S-23) Booralee (S203)
Bopple (S-147) Brianbarb (S-160) Brit Phos “Uno” (S-69)
Brit Phos “Dos” (S-70) Brit Phos “Tres” (S-71) Bronzewing
Bulimba (S-148) Bundaberg (S-101) Camille (S-202)
Canonbar (S-149) Carawa (ST-16, S-220) Caribqueen
Cecilia (S-59) Charles Cam (S-10) Charles W. Pasley (CI-S-DI)
Chippewa City of Fort Worth City of Philadelphia
Civic (S-165) Cobargo (S-137) Colorado
Comara (S-138) Contessa Coorabie (S-30)
Coringle (S-31) Corrimal (S-150) Coweambah (S-96)
Cranwin (S-24) Crystal Star (S-8) Darwin (S-109)
Davenport (S-209) Dawn Defiance (S-204)
Desikoko (S-129) Destiny (S-84) Deutgan (S-108)
Director II Diana (S-211) Dolphin (S-28)
Dover (S-25) Duluth (S-963) Duncan (S-173)
Eldorado (S-198) Ellin (S-168) Ena (S-33)
Erina II (S-151) Esther Johnson (S-216) Eva (S-53)
Evaleeta (S-3, Q-156) Excel (S-128) Excelsior (S-225)
F-73 (S-515) F-95 (S-561) F-96 (S-633)
F-117 (S-557) F-119 (S-563) F-122 (S-589)
F-126 (S-543) F-129 (S-566) Fauro Chief (S-66)
Forster (S-122) FP-47 (S-430, CS-2) Free Selector (S-54)
FS Boats (Freight Supply) FSA-Boats (25 x 62 ft and 50 x 38 ft) FS-1 (S-275, Nabilla)
FS-2A (S-377, Adina) FS-2B (S-273, Wagnup) FS-7A (S-378, Allie)
FS-8A (S-379, Aldinga) FS-9A (S-429, Alkira) FS-10A (S-480, Alkoo)
FS-11A (S-481, Alkooni) FS-11C (S-256, Tarni) FS012A (S-482, Allara)
FS-12B (S-532 Wangary) FS-13A (S-541, Aleena) FS-14A (S-624, Allinga)
FS-17A (S-707, Anaroo) FS-19A (S-709, Apa) FS-20B (S-700, Wehla)
FS-22A (S-854, Arilpa) FS-23A (S-855, Arira) FS-27
FS-117 FS/FP-143 (S-586) FS-172 (S-775)
FS-130 FS-195 (S-971) FS-258 (S-1037)
FS-267 (S-1111) FS-390 (S-877) FS-528
Gee Bee/G.B. (S-210) General MacArthur (S-44) Geoanna (S-382, TP-249, CS-1)
Gertrude (S-124) Gwendolyn (S-190) Greer
Grey Lag H-9 (Bower) H-11
Haere (S-118) Half Rufus (S-217) Hanyang (X-8)
Harold (S-58, CS-3) Helen Dawn (S-56) Hilda Norling (S-62)
Hinemoa (S-194) Hokitika (S-130) Hunanui (S-131)
Illawarra (S-171) Iluka (S-97) Inverness (S-187)
International Iona (S-179) Irak (S-161)
Irma (S-119) Isabelle Star/Potts (S-123) J-548
J-549 J-676 Jack Cam (S-29)
Jack Pot (S-126) James Oliver James Wallace (S-90)
Jane Moorhead (S-63) Jacqueline Marie (S-7) J.E. Gorman (S-965)
Jessie (S-68) Joellen (S-184) John C. Calhoun
John Jacob Astor John I. Nolan John Reid Cam (S-95)
Jomaro (S-213) June (S-92) Jupogi (S-82)
Kaiulani (S-106) Kalbar (S-186) Kalowa (S-114)
Kapaiapoa Karsik/Karsig Katoora (S-140)
Keith Cam (S-12) Kelton (S-11) Ken (S-80)
Kia Ora (S-185) Kimbriki King John (S-13)
Kintore (S-154) Kiparra Kittahn
USS Klang Koala (S-112) Kookaburra (S-113)
Koomeela (S-26) Koondooloo (S-181) Kooraka (S-4)
Kurimarau (S-105) Lady Linda (S-183) Lady Betty (S-166)
Lokatoi (S-1) Leeta May (S-2) Lena Gladys (S-102)
Leprena (S-64) Lindisfarne (S-5, Q-154) Lodestar (S-39)
Lorinna (S-135) Louise (S-197) LST-228
LST-530 LST-975 LT-20 (S-548)
LT-125 LT-129 (S-595) LT-133 (S-687)
LT-140 LT-219 (S-571) LT-226 (S-588)
LT-348 (S-574) LT-451 LT-530 (S-662)
LT-644 LT-645 LT-784
Mac (S-176) Mactan (S-188) Maetsuyker
Maggie (S-104) Maiala (S-174) (or Miala) Maigre (S-224)
Maiwara (S-146) Mako (S-158) Margaret Twaits (S-52)
Margaret Rose (S-172) Marjorie Jean (S-57) Marrawah (S-178)
Mary Ellen (S-175) Masaya (S-85) Matonga (S-339, TL-25)
May (S-91) Melanesia (S-134) Melcustoms (S-100)
Melinga (S-139) Merri Chris (S-42) Michale (S-169)
Midge Miena (S-115) Mina (S-214)
Minnamurra (S-60) Minnow (S-107) Minston Brae (S-14)
Mirrabooka (S-15) Miss Lorraine (S-215) Moa (S-16)
Moa Moa (S-143) Mokatam Mongana (S-27)
Moreton (S-88) Morewa (S-281) Mosquito
MT-112 Mulcra (S-141) Muliama (S-159)
Muscoota (S-196) Nambucca II Nanagai (S-164)
Nancy Narooma (S-38) Nelcebee (S-32)
Nemesis (S-201) Newcastle (S-111) Nobby (S-45)
Nomena (S-40_ Norena Noora (S-136)
Norab (S-206) Norena Norindies
Norlago Norwest (S-103) Octorora
OL-1 (S-222, Baan) OL-2 (S-236, Babilla) OL-4 (S-345, Badal)
OL-6 (S-411, Bagoo) OL-21 OL-6A (S-360, Dannevirke)
OL-7 (S-412, Bahloo) OL-8 (S-857, Balal) OL-9 (S-858, Balerang)
OL-10 (S-859, Balemo) OL-12 (S-884, Ballarat) OL-21 (S-313, Banda)
OL-31 (S-664, Barah) Olga Star (S-17) Ozark
P-92 P-308 Pacific (S-55)
Pax/Sunset (S-205) Peggy Love (S-192) Pelorus (S-36)
Pemmican Point San Pedro Poonbar (S-155)
Potts/Isabelle Star (S-123) Priscilla Protector
Pulganbah (S-142) Q-127 (S-546) QS-2 (S-898)
QS-3 (S-649) QS-14 (S-609) Rapaki
Raymond Rena Star (S-170) Repatri (S-83)
Rhea (S-110) Ripride (S-18) Roxana (S-257)
Rufus King (see Half Rufus) Saint/St. John (S-19) San Antonio
San Christofolo (S-65) San Jose (see TP-242) San Nicholas (S-163)
Say When Scot Sea Arrow
Sea Hawk (S-162) Sea Mist (S-75) Seagull (S-125)
Sea Rover (S-127) Shangri-La (S-51) Sidney (S-226)
Silver Fin Silver Quay (S-46) Silver Arrow (S-74)
Silverwater Simoon (S-76) ST-1 (S-347, Coatesville)
ST-3 (S-349, Canterbury) ST-10 (S-396, Christchurch) ST-12 (S-398, Clive)
ST-14 (S-400, Cook) ST-17 (S-277, Carbanup) ST-18 (S-279, Carbeen)
ST-19 (S-278, Carbethon) ST-21 (S-706, Carcoola) ST-22 (S-340, Carinya)
ST-26 ST-27 ST-38 (S-848, Chullora)
ST-40 (S-850, Cobadong) ST-42 (S-341, Cobarup) ST-43 (S-342, Cobbora)
ST-46 (S-1018, Cobacup) ST-66 (S-1019, Coonatto) ST-68 (S-1021, Coonong)
ST-72 (S-1025, Corio) ST-74 (S-1027, Cowal) ST-75
ST-76 (S-1029, Cowlong) ST-131 ST-145
ST-179 ST-309 ST-357
ST-381 (S-577) ST-405 (S-648) ST-468 (S-583)
ST-472 (S-641) ST-729 Stella Maris
Spitfire (S-191) Stuart Thorpe (S-426) Sunbeam (S-89)
Sunshine (S-67) Swan (S-199) Swartenhondt
Swordfish (S-180) Tassie MBL III (S-77) Tassie IV
Tassie MBL VI (S-78) Tee Bee (WT-12, S-200) Terralinna
Tiger (S-50) Timoshenko (S-41) TL-57 (S-476, Mirreh)
TP-102 (S-750) TP-109 (S-679) TP-112 (S-765)
TP-117 (S-864) TP-109 TP-119 (S-996)
TP-121 (S-975) TP-129 (S-863) TP-130 (S-870)
TP-140 TP-242 (S-487, San Jose) TP-243 (S-486, Bennehaven)
TP-244 (S-508, Ardito) TP-245 (S-485, San Giovanni) TP-246 (S-551, Sea Tern)
Tolema (S-47) Torres (S-87) Tropic Bird
Tuhoe (S-132) Tung Song (S-152) T.W. Drennan (S-610)
Two Freddies (S-20) Uki (S-177) Ulladulla (S-21)
Valiant (S-73) Valkyrie (S-133) Valola (S-94)
Van Heemskerk Vaquero (S-207) Van Heutsz
Veebeebe (S-81) Veesa Veiya (S-48)
Venture Vim (S-72) Volador (S-385, CSM-1)
Volunteer (S-93) Wannon (S-153) Warilda (S-212)
Warren (S-121) Weeroona (S-195, CSQ-1) Weerutter
West Texas Weenonah (S-49) Will H. Point
Will Watch (S-116) William Foster Cowham Willyama II (S-22)
Wingo (S-37) Wombat (S-79) Wongawill (S-167)
Wortanna (S-145) WST-2 (S-387, Eucla) WT-2 (S-292, Koroki)
WT-6 (S-298, Korokai) WT-12 (S-788, Kokako) WT-19 (S-733, Kahka)
WT-23 (S-516, Kanuka) WT-31 (S-286, Kargatta) WT-35 (S-299, Karlta)
WT-40 (S-415, Karoolup) WT-45 WT-46 (S-289, Katak)
WT-52 (S-304, Kerabin) WT-57 (S-329, Kiamah) WT-58 (S-330, Kiana)
WT-63 (S-229, Killara) WT-67 (S-223, Kimbriki) WT-73 (S-231, Kiparra)
WT-74 (S-232, Kittahn) WT-77 (S-235, Kolodong) Y-1M?
Y-3 (S-363) Y-4 (S-364) Y-5 (S-365)
Y-7 (S-367) Y-11 (S-491) Y-13 (S-243)
Y-15 (S-245) Y-18 (S-369) Y-19 (S-243)
Y-20 (S-383) Y-21 (S-427) Z-17 (S-189)
Zoie (S-99)

We’ll never know if Boxall knew of a man named Keane because Stuart Littlemore didn’t ask him that question either.


Littlemore on the right exiting a Sydney courthouse, smiling as he pushes a woman out of his way. Eddie Obeid (pictured) his client on the day. The verdict not good on Stuart’s resume and worse for Obeid’s immediate future.

*GF 107


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