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following sanders

John Sanders isn’t in a hurry, his is the leisured pace of a man who knows his path, the rest of us, bar Misca, read his comments as clearly as a player does jigsaw pieces when they’re scattered on a table.

I picture him in a small riverside bar in unoccupied Vietnam, sitting on a stool with his back to the wall, a drink beside him, watching the river traffic, chatting with the lovely waiting tables and happy to pingpong us around within the boundaries of his imagination.

Where to start with all this information Sanders is spreading about?


Xavier Herbert, Sadie Herbert, David and Phillis Herbert, Jimmy and Joy Hawkins.

Helmut Hendon aka Heinz Hoenig.

Bob Wake.

George Marshall: Of course assuming that he was a sociopath no reason was necessary, perhaps George fell into that category

Gwen Graham.

Ronald (George) Richard’s plant in the AFM (Nip) Four out of Perth in March ’42.

Australia First.

Percy Williams: but his other victim Percy Williams was merely to get the man out so Xavier could get his former job back.

Jimmy Hawkins: he had just undertaken a rudimentary course in Malay.

George Thomson’s brother Gaston: who worked at HMAS Rushcutter during the relevant period, a very tall and able seaman who could well have been Alf’s conduit to Jess. There’s some suggestion of possible organized crime and a particular merchant seaman mate of the aforesaid swabbie who whilst no longer with us, is still frequently spoken fondly of amongst sydney’s well connected inner suburban, colourful businessmen.

Tatura Internee Camp.

Hay internment camp: I’m with Gordon on the tie which is for Hay internment camp; 4 being Tatura and 14 Loveday,

Errol Canney.

Wolf Cohen: a photo of the time depicts WOLF, Sadie and her sisters, presumably shot before leaving England still exists. We could try to get hold of her own interview with Eric Waite before her death to see if that sheds light on her early years before Xavier. It’s also quite likely that her nephew David Herbert circa. 48/50, son of David Francis & 2nd wife Joan is still with us; He was known to be communicating with her from PNG. De Groens Bio and even Sadie’s published letters could also help if we want to play my still confidant hunch right out. Good luck.

Sadie Cohen:  she arrived in Australia apparently alone on the El Kantara (Alcantara) mid 20’s? as Sarah Cohen or Norden. Mother was a cockney from London (not Ontario) with maiden name of Rosenthal and she had sisters E & T, also other relatives Harry & Millie. 

Walter Klod Clayton.

Parafield Air Pageant in ’48.

Alf Boxall.

George Thomson’s brother Gaston: Alf’s conduit to Jess

Alfred Hughes: The “Constable Alfred Hughes” who was involved in the murder investigation was almost certainly Alfred Hughes of the CIS who is now known to be a Soviet agent. He essentially killed any investigation into communist/Soviet activities in NSW during WW2 and protected communist agents such as Frances Ada Bernie – Doc Evatt’s private secretary during WW2 and probably one of the most effective Soviet espionage sources during WW2.

Jessica Harkness.

Mr Francis.

The Rubaiyat: Wasn’t Alf’s rubaiyat an English/Malay version?

The Tamam Shud slip: There wasn’t any tamam shud slip per se.

ASIO: The contents of the file that was archived in the NAA concerning the Communist Party of Australia activities in Glenelg in 1949 seems to have been sent back to ASIO if I am reading the “exceptions” notice correctly. This immediately raises the question “why is this still of concern to ASIO”. Is it related to matters that are still of active operational concern? Any sources from 1949 are either dead, or at best in Zimmer frames. What is ASIO covering up?

ASIO ‘sent’ Cleland to find the Tamam Shud slip.

The Somerton Man: SM was pure vengeance and also retribution for the death of a friend Another remote possibility is that the victim was Sadie’s bum of a husband Wolf Cohen who can’t be traced. Not by me anyhow. 


“… who would be the most likely category of person(s) to warrant self perceived retribution of a mad man. His many associates of varying persuasions and diverse backgrounds, who suffered indignity, hardship, property disposession etc. through the war years at the hands of hardline people in authority would be included. I think mainly however, that his own alter ego was the one friend he was really out to avenge most of all.” JS

first the trees, then the forest

Items of note:

If we could get hold of things like X. Herbert’s letters and personal codes which he was known to have (which are in the public forum but not here in VN), this whole proposition could be surely expedited. Go for it people and take all the glory, I’m not selfish.

Arthur Dibley was an aboriginal rights supporter from the disgustingly wealthy Stephenson/Palings group of musical instrument and recording families. He was also associated with writing publishing and was of use to Xavier in this regard. Being a constant companion of the great man during his persuit of copy, he may well have gone with him to the Parafield Air Pagent in ’48 as both men were keen on aviation… Bob Wake had his own mainly disinterested agenda with connection to the likes of Kiwi Klod and Co., knowing full-well that it was all a load of red baiting codswallop. You’ll also have seen his ficticious account of dog-watch on a house at Helensburgh in ’49 which could only have been Inky Stepenson’s holiday hut. I seem to recall Bob’s son talking about going to an air pagent with his dad and uncle Augo when he was twelve (Val Wake bn.1935)… All I know about Wolf is that he was a gambler and a wastrell but whether he was an Aussie, Brit or Euro, I have no idea, though he could well have been in ww1(Sadie bn. 1899)…I have nothing more to offer on George or Shirley but they won’t fet past if they show themselves again.

can tho

Comments down to JS, BD and Misca. Pic is Can Tho.

43 Comments Post a comment
  1. john sanders #

    Pete: No need for haste; but as soon a I nail my own pennant to the masthead, the fog will lift and all will become clearer. You could actually compare it to the X. Herbert auto-bio. ‘Disturbing Element’, upon which my posts are loosely based, mostly truth but perceived as fiction in some quarters. The time may yet come when I reintroduce the much vaunted Godless Soviet NKGB (sick), or even old Prosper’s grand theft Auto lads in a related threadline; but if purchance my input is no longer desired (by popular vote), I’ll cheerfully turn my barstool inwards and make out that I’m looking once more at a wall of human flesh. It’s all the same from this perspective.

    September 4, 2017
    • Just tell me when I get it wrong .. ok?

      September 4, 2017
  2. Misca #

    Herbert Bovyll Chandler. This guy:

    Owner of the Newsletter Printery that publishes the Tribune.

    ASIO files were found in his home and were reviewed at the Royal Commission in 1953.

    September 4, 2017
    • john sanders #

      Misca: Every Kiwi I ever met was either Kevin, or Ted (Edmund), so when I see NDPs, the likes of Walter Seddon & Peace Joy Clayton aka Klodonsky and Herbert Bovyll or Herbert Reymus Chandler, I get to thinking about how smelly things can get in Denmark. At least I managed to figure out fairly smartly how they came up with HRC, but Bovyll is a real humdinger. Could Wally’s missus P.J. have been our Joy of introductory fame, surely she was not going to say “Hi Alf, Hi Tom, fancy a Peace”.

      September 5, 2017
  3. Misca #

    Well at one point in the 1700’s a Mr. Chandler met a Miss Bovyl and one lucky individual down each subsequent line was gifted with the romance of it all. It morphed throughout the generations Bovyl, Bovill, and Bovyll) but it stood true and strong. Some families like those traditions.

    I would imagine that the Gowland Brothers and Sisters enjoyed their names – Peace Joy, Dimpsy Maude, Glory Page, Jack Valentine, Lancelot McGregor…Patricia and Max show up in the mix but I suspect that, unbeknownst to ASIO, they were acquired relatives.

    I suppose anything is possible; she could have made the introductions. The entire family was “politically involved” and she was about the same age as “Jestyn”. Hey, it also sounds like a name our Peace Joy would be inclined to invent. I am inclined to believe that the entire “Joy” name was made up. I think it was most likely Musgrave’s wife who made the introductions. Tom lied his way throughout that interview. He claimed he wasn’t married at the time that the incident occurred but he was already married in 1939.

    Come to think of it, Nancy Isabel Wyles is also a good possibility.

    September 5, 2017
  4. Misca #

    “Toe bone connected to the foot bone
    Foot bone connected to the heel bone
    Heel bone connected to the ankle bone
    Ankle bone connected to the shin bone…”

    September 5, 2017
  5. That’s how I did it, and I reckon Sanders is putting together another legend using the same method.

    September 5, 2017
    • john sanders #

      Misca: One gets the feeling that DG Spry was out to stop Wake working for the Doc and Alan Dalziel under the auspices of Asio’s ‘Boomerang’ umbrella. You would have noted reference to Augo in the surveillance notes. Valdemar Augenson was Sydney born, about 1902 and after attending Duntroon Mil. Col., he got involved in shady activities with his lifelong mate Big Bob Wake. During the ’30s he worked as chief surveyor for D.C.A. and flew all over regional Aust. setting up defence based airfield assetts for both civil & military operations. In 1940 he and Bob chartered the soon to be internment camp sites, which the latter then established at behest of his boss, Brig. Bill Simpson who was Doc. Evatt’s old school pal. Two others mentioned in the Wake ASIO file, Eric Baume the journo and Lib. pol. W.C.Wentworth were known to be supporters of AFM in its day, and of course unsurprisingly are amongst those known to have been confidants of X Herbert right up until the time they all sadly passed on in the 80s or thereabouts.

      September 5, 2017
  6. Misca #

    JS – Do you think that Xavier knew Jessica?

    September 6, 2017
    • john sanders #

      Misca: Jessica remains after all, our ultra enigmatic conundrum. She doesn’t seem to have had any varifiable case based history before she arrived at our doorstep. What’s even more intriguing, the investigating police do not recognize her as being connected to the case, which seems initself just as weird. If I were pushed I’d have to say that she and SM were not known to each other as old Sydney aquaintances from anything I’ve yet heard. I’m likely to be proved wrong on that score and it wouldn’t surprise…PS. Did you know that H.B. had a twin brother.

      September 7, 2017
  7. Misca #

    John – At first I thought you asked if I knew Xavier had a twin! Now THAT would be something. Do you mean H B Chandler? If so, yes. His mother seemed to churn out twins. I think they may have had three sets in the family. I thought his twin was female? Agnes Ethel Chandler. She died very young. I am trying to sort out HB’s mother. She was a Catherine Cusack. Same last name as Dymphna Cusack…So, wondering if they were related?

    P.S. You didn’t answer my original question.
    P.P.S. Did Xavier have a twin?

    September 7, 2017
  8. Misca #

    Ok then John. They are in fact related. Dymphna’s father James (1858-1935) was Michael Cusack’s brother. Catherine Cusack (b.1878) married David B Chandler. They were HB Chandler’s parents.

    …The wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round…

    September 7, 2017
  9. Misca #

    Sorry. Sounds complicated. It’s not. Dymphna Cusack and HB Chandler’s mother were first cousins.

    September 7, 2017
    • john sanders #

      Misca: Tried to set that straight earlier but couldn’ t get out. Jessica was not nearly sophistcated enough for Xavier ‘Australia whos who’ no less in his army application. I guess you know about X’s affair with Dymphna Cusack in the ’40s and he continued as a friend afterwards. Now I’m trying to figure out whether H. B. Candler, my Wellington born seaman from neutral Bay was ‘Tony’s twin. Wellington NSW and Wyalong where he was born are not far apart and they sound similar in any case. Maybe Harry’s office people just assumed Wellington NZ for his birth place; though of course that doesn’t explain the almost one year age gap, unless mum had a hangfire delivery.

      September 7, 2017
      • john sanders #

        Chandler Pete.

        September 7, 2017
        • john sanders #

          Misca: No Xavier did not have a twin, but his mother had a pair that died in infancy. Henry Chandler’s twin brother may have been Alex.

          September 7, 2017
  10. Misca #

    Oh. Forgot to mention but HB Chandler’s grandmother was Catherine McMahon.

    September 7, 2017
  11. Clive #

    McMahon, eh? That’s interesting-is this the source of Robin’s middle name?

    September 7, 2017
    • Misca #

      : )

      September 7, 2017
  12. Misca #

    John – I would be happy to try and help but I’m confused about your “seaman from neutral bay”. You have called him Herbert, Henry, and Harry. If you can be more clear about where I can find reference to him, I can see if I can suss him out.

    September 7, 2017
  13. John sanders #

    Misca: Forget about that, its two days gone and no longer relevant perhaps. Does the Reynolds and Gregory family have the right Australian connectors with a Morris element peeking through to satisfy the Isham/Jefferson lineage and would you think that ’08 might pass for a DOB. I can’t find my man just yet which is fine. Xavier and he were not pals and nor were Herbert’s Darwin Nippon buddies that he and his boys rounded up on 8/12/41 then put into the camps 4 and 14 at his direction. If it does happen to work out, we can cancel out just about every other category of intrigue associated with the SM mystery, but it’s probably just another straw grasp on my part. No need to get as overly excited as I am at the moment, tomorrow is just another day and things will become clearer I trust. I’m not holding out, just being carefull that‘s all.

    September 7, 2017
  14. Misca #

    I found him. Not a twin. He was born in NZ. Not sure if families are related. If it’s possibly important I can check?

    September 8, 2017
  15. Misca #

    OMG. That was a frickin long file. I gave up at page 114 of 169. Did I miss something of particular importance? Please let me know…I just can’t keep going on it anymore!

    September 8, 2017
  16. John sanders #

    Misca: No not much, It was just all home grown spy versus spy crap, with the usual left/right politicking and the old reds in the bed squabbling. Give the files away and read the latest Evan Whitton ‘Can of Worms’…And forget also about Llieutenant Fred Reynolds Morris, the Inteligence Officer who pissed off Xavier in ’42. It‘s ’51 according to the Canberra Times and he’s just been charged with having an unlicensed Wembley (sic) revolver in O’Connor. He had worked with Norforce in N.T during the war, his buddy Fred and a group of native assistants. The partner hailed from Brighton Beach just metres from Somerton and so I had old Fred who was a Darwin lad, going to pay a surprise visit on young Fred Andrew Gubbins whose birthday was on 2nd December. You wouldn’t believe how crap happens when you think you might have solved the case; I guess it‘s not likely that stuff like this is being planted to throw a false trail or two, though nothing would surprise.

    September 8, 2017
  17. Byron Deveson #

    Pete, something different while we all digest.
    AdelaideNow published an article by Lynton Grace 29th April 2015 that includes a photo of “Jo Thomson” that shows her aged about 14 (?) in a school photograph. The school looks fairly high quality judging from the brick work etc. and I think that one of your readers might be able to identify the school. The odd sized bricks would seem to be a possible clue.
    If we can identify the school where Jessie (“Jo Thomson”) was attending circa 1935 then we might then be able to discover if she went by the surname Harkness, or something else. If it is “something else”, as I suspect, this would open up a new line of inquiry.

    September 8, 2017
    • john sanders #

      Misca: I guess it’s possible that the bloke picked up in Canberra with the revolver could have been someone else with Mr. Morris’ identity papers, not forgetting that SM was sans anything like that. For one thing he was a long way from his home turf, so at least we should have a peek at his non online service docs and get a look for our selves. You’ll remember just a couple of weeks ago, I commented on the halter tie ring & strap from the suitcase and how it could be attached to the lanyard ring of a Webley revolver; very same model of course so how weird is that.

      September 8, 2017
    • Byron, is there any way I can get to that without paying a sub?

      September 8, 2017
    • Misca #

      The pic shows up for me at this link:

      Be warned. There appears to be some writing on the photo or pavement at the bottom of the pic.

      ; )

      September 8, 2017
  18. John sanders #

    I remember the photo coming up on Derek’s site about 8 months back. The setting didn’t look right somehow and did not look like depression generation kids to me; too tidy, too healthy though the school appeared somewhat suburban Marrickville if that’s possible.

    September 8, 2017
  19. Clive #

    Pete, Just type on Google Jessie Harkness at school and a photo should appear!

    September 8, 2017
  20. Clive #

    Looks as if the girls are wearing some type of wide collar (?), is it some kind of Quaker school perhaps?

    September 8, 2017
  21. John sanders #

    Mordialloc College Melbourne circa. 1964 is my opinion.

    September 8, 2017
  22. John sanders #

    The kid standing under the far fourth window looks a lot like Robin to me so we‘ll amend the year to ‘62, say about August/September just before the hols. When he was two months off his fifteenth birthday. Someone is having a lend of us; Can you guess.

    September 8, 2017
  23. Misca #

    Very weird.

    I actually thought that the boy directly behind Jess looked a lot like Robin and assumed that maybe it was one of her brothers!

    You are correct JS. See here:

    …But the picture on their website is marked 1937 and the windows are looking about the same as on the other photo so, the timeframe would seem correct.

    September 9, 2017
  24. Misca #

    Also…Second row, the second boy in from the left…I think he looks like a young version of SM. Is there any way to access alumni information?

    September 9, 2017
  25. John sanders #

    No doubt the kid is Robin, so did the family move to Victoria from S.A. or was there a split and who is the little cutie with the halo sitting down in front of Beatle Rob. You can bet London to a brick it ain’t our Jessie circa, ‘35. There‘s so much history missing from this yarn, almost as if we’re not meant to get to the Taman (sic).

    September 9, 2017
  26. John sanders #

    Don’t let us create any conundrums with this one, the hairstyles give it up and you can see that Robin in particular wears his long which is early sixties trend, certainly not proper for mid thirties and Jessie‘s school days. Now have a look at Robin Thomson ballet gallery and you can compare features with him as a young man OK.

    September 9, 2017
  27. John sanders #

    I can’t say this with any real authority but it seems logical to me that Jessica went to school in her birthtown of Marrickville, most likely the girls intermediate level highschool, otherwise why do her nursing in Sydney as opposed to Melbourne. In those days Marrickville was the hub of social and cultural awareness mainly in development of the arts for the new up and comers, women especially thanks to the input of certain well connected suffrugettes the likes of ‘red’ Jessie Street. The council was very pro Russian in those heady days and organised such ventures as Soviet Friendship Societies, aid under the auspices of it’s hugely popular ‘Sheepskin for Russia’ drive and like charitable collections. It was also a centre for development of the arts like ballet and music, boasting it’s own full symphony orchestra and free dance classes run by the council from its huge town hall Oprah house. That’s where our Jessie would have gotten her grounding in dance appreciation, meeting with the likes of young stars like Paul Hammond who was a local boy of her age and who went on to become arguably one of Australia’s most celebrated exponents of ballet. In 1938 Red Jessie, who was married to Sir Kenneth, Street, took her daughter on a long tour to Europe and Russia, her mission being to promote women’s emancipation and world peace. She was also thought to have had an enterage of a select group of young ladies of non privileged background. Being a pal of Marrickville city Mayor, H.T. Bradock (a N.S.W.future Premier), I can imagine her taking a teenager from the burroughs of her own daughter’s age, someone like her own namesake, young Jessie Harkness who would have been ideally suited as a candidate for worldly wise development. That would seem to fit in with Robin’s mother having a grounding in sophistication and for her claimed knowledge of base Russian language skills.

    September 9, 2017
    • john sanders #

      BD: Jean Moyr Harkness.

      September 9, 2017
  28. JohnS … were the Nackeroos trained up for carrier pigeon work?

    September 10, 2017
    • john sanders #

      Not sure how pigeons would handle the thermals north of Capricorn especially during the ‘wet’. I’m sure some of the old Brits in the unit would have been familiar with that mode of messaging. Magpie geese would carry a bigger payload but you would expect some problems getting them to coop.

      September 10, 2017

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