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the talent spotter

He called himself Frederick. A portly, almost elderly middle-aged man proficient in languages. A graduate of European universities, a lover of 17th century German poetry. A Jew and a socialist. One of the thousands of internees behind the wire in Australia.

‘All the fish will be in one pond,’ his controller told him, ‘ and Australia is quickly earning their disaffection.’

‘With what?’

‘It’s friends.’

Theo was the first. Theo, whose deep dissatisfaction with political systems of order and the weapons used to enforce it coloured his every conversation. Frederick, on their second meeting, suggested he go a little more quietly in the camp in future, so as not to be so easily noticed. And a haircut, a hat instead of a cloth cap.

‘I can help you find another hut, somewhere you are not so well known.’

After his discharge from the camp Theo needed papers of course, a detailed background, letters from Mutter and addressed from Bonn, pictures of his family, small and much-creased. An engineering certificate much like his original.

A suitcase of second-hand clothes. Shoes too. Frederick had his sizes.

Theo travelled to the world’s epicentre of weapon-making.

He never met Frederick again.

header pic is John Bingham.

15 Comments Post a comment
  1. John sanders #

    I’m starting to worry about my man Fred Reynolds Morris, with the Virginia connection (did anyone bother to check). He had been a government man all his working life in N.T and an intelligence officer in the recent war, working in the far north with indigenous agents the likes of Mordecai. In 1951 a chap bearing the same name ID gets pulled up in Canberra and takes a one pound fine with 8/6 court costs for unlicensed possession of a standard military revolver. Why didn’t Mr. Morris, former Int. operative just pull rank and tell the charge Sergeant to mind his his mucking business or he’d find himself on transfer to traffic control fairly smartly. How he got lumbered with the piece is not clear but the beak said that there seems to have been no ulterior motive and there was no confiscation order. Three possibilities here, first being that all is above board and suspicions are unfounded, another being a cover up for a government sanctioned hit on a former agent who has become a liability; or my personal prefered case scenario, being that Mr. Morris SM has met his maker on the beach, had his service weapon, personal papers and other things lifted. (he was an accredited photographer as well as being a fine horseman), and that it was his killer who was accidentally caught with the toggle ringed old Webley in the nation’s capital two years later, lucky not to be found out. Where was Herbert in ‘51?, missing that’s where and had been since mid ‘48 when he and his brother left Rum Jungle for parts unknown. David went to PNG and Xavier resurfaced in Cairns in 1952.

    September 9, 2017
  2. John sanders #

    With the above stated sanctioned hit, undertaken presumably by the big fellow’s field techs ‘Wally & The Major’, it would be part & parcel of their tradecraft process to later get a simply contrived cover court conviction recorded against a JD victim so as to keep him alive long after the use by date. Such a sanitization technique also keeps a handy throwdown piece available for a rainy day.

    September 9, 2017
    • Don’t flood the market, Johnno, it depreciates demand.

      September 9, 2017
  3. John sanders #

    What demand would that be Pete, there’s four of us left here, none over in VM Wallyworld and Web Sloths are calling for contributions now that Lamb is tied up with the Munro matter. Are Derick and his dream team onto something and how about Gerry chuckling to himself with the SAPOL file in his lap?; No Pete Misca and I need red meat and the market demand will need to adjust to the input, that’s how commerce operates.

    September 10, 2017
  4. I use Misca as a barometer, if she’s busy we are at maximum force.

    September 10, 2017
    • Misca #

      Had a busy day and couldn’t do much. Will try again tomorrow. JS – I found your Fred Reynold’s for a while and forgot to bookmark and lost him. I guess I’ll have to go back for another go…Would be nice if you’d make it a tad easier to get going on some of this chite.

      September 10, 2017
  5. Misca #

    John – A sanitization technique like that also makes it pretty much impossible to prove or disprove.

    September 10, 2017
    • john sanders #

      It took me a month to pick him up due to his obscure signature on Xavier’s Int. folio. He was born at Pine Creek N.T., did a bit of horse racing, comp. rifle shooting and went to work in the N.T. Administration, until his war service with Mil.Intelligence from ’42 to ’46. He may have worked as Cairns Council Eng. around the time of SM, then nothing til he gets caught with the Webley in ’51 in Canberra. Can’t track down his wife Esma and only other significant info. relates to an Imperial medal issued in his name about ’69. All seems OK but without subsequent history there must be an element of doubt.

      September 10, 2017
  6. JohnS – any of your names likely to have been a talent spotter in both Sydney town and an internment camp. Dates might be important.

    September 11, 2017
  7. John sanders #

    Pete: A couple of anti Nazis come to mind, Peter Von Kemperer 2/12/10, Alexander Graf 7/9/07 and Karl Jurk 6/7/05; All at Tatura and I think their early release orders were signed by Alan Dalziel. I’ve come across many others at camps 4, and 14, and 7, both for and agin the various Nazi/fascist/AFM factions but nothing of substance concerning my particular interest…A word of warning regarding PVK, you’ll be in for a late night.

    September 11, 2017
    • Thanks, any of these lads pass through the emerald city’s coffee bars back in the day?

      September 11, 2017
  8. John sanders #

    Mrs. Klodnitsky of the Russian club, whose no name husband worked in the usual Soviet trade attache role, threw a lot of parties at various addresses in Sydney and the Gong. Of course our usual suspects like Wake, his shadow Val Augenson the gang of five plus others like Clyde Holding, Jim Cavanagh the left wing S.A. Labor stalwarts, then there were M & B of Petrov Boomerang fame. As for the spotters I’d say Mrs K, big Bob and Augo were always after talent, but then I’m biased, In fact apart from Ming and those penis eaters Spry and Richards, there didn’t appear to be any bad people around from ‘48 onwards, right through until Howard.

    September 11, 2017
  9. Misca #

    Heh, I know the feeling. I admired you when I saw his signature on that page. : ) But, oh-so-satifying when everything clicks!

    Talking about months, I have spent far too much time on Pakie’s book (and would prefer not to go back to it) but did you notice that Gwen Graham’s signature is on the “Re-Opening Night June 8, 1945” page? If memory serves, George Marshall was found on June 3.

    September 12, 2017
  10. Ellen #

    I bet the Marshall family noticed.

    September 12, 2017
  11. Misca #

    Esma May was a Kirkpatrick, born in Sydney 1907 to Gordon Fitzgerald Kirkpatrick and Louisa Jane Evans. Esma died in Brisbane in 1987. Fred had already passed away in 1982 at Coffs Harbour and is buried in Canberra Cemetery. They had three sons.

    September 12, 2017

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