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13 The Francis family’s generations of silence

Picture four people out for a drive in a Hillman Minx. A family, two in the front and two in the back. A pleasant drive to the beach at about the time a man was found dead at the bottom of a set of steps that lead to the sand.

December 1948.

About six months later this conversation was said to have taken place after the driver read an article in the newspaper about the search for a  Rubaiyat with a hole in it’s back page.

~~

‘Do you recall.’ Francis asked his brother-in-law, ‘when we all went for a drive in my car ….

you were sitting in the back ..

with your wife

and when we all got out ..

the book you were reading ..

you put in the glove box of my car …

~~

The story, as it goes, is that Francis handed the book to DS Leane the next day and after a chat, asked that his name be kept out of it. His wish was granted and today, seventy years on, we still don’t know who he is, or was.

We also don’t know who his wife was, or his brother-in-law, or, indeed his wife, Francis’ sister. No only that, the code of Somerton Silence seems to have enveloped all their families as well because even after all these years, not a word has slipped out from any of them.

Nothing from any of their cousins, nephews, aunts or uncles. Nothing from mum or dad, granddad or nana, nothing from their children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren.

No-one leaked.

Not a drop.

.. down to you, Clive

47 Comments Post a comment
  1. The man had not only a Rubaiyat but The Rubaiyat, and convinced the police at the time enough for them to go running to all their friends in the media. What’s there not to like about him?

    January 28, 2018
    • He must have been Adelaide’s Godfather to command such silence from his family and friends for seventy years …. and now, probably from the grave.
      But no pictures of The Rubaiyat, Nick, not a one. The only acknowledgement of its existence was from two of GF’s reliable sources. They got anonymity too, bloody stuff is contagious.

      January 28, 2018
  2. GF seemed to have the individuals’ interests at heart when he disguised their real names. Leane’s reason for giving Francis anonymity was an instruction to do so. GF made that clear to me in a reply to my email years ago. I don’t think he had it mind to change the situation in any way when he wrote the book. Wouldn’t have been the right thing to do.

    January 28, 2018
  3. Byron Deveson #

    Gordon, it is possible that “JH Upton” was a lady pharmacist. Or maybe a chemical type chemist “Jim Upton” rather than a pharmacist. I seem to remember that there were several chemistry chemists living in Glenelgy/Somerton in 1948. From memory one chemist lived adjacent to 90a Moseley Street.

    The Advertiser 30th December 1944 page 7
    “Pharmacy Board Elections.
    …..Candidates who did not secure election received the following votes: …… J.H. Upton 133 ……”

    The West Australian 23rd August 1947 page 16
    “Women Pharmacists’ Dinner.
    ……. mesdames ……. J.H. Upton …..”

    The Mail (Adelaide) 17th November 1951 page 12
    Stainless steel etching claim Mr. Rod Lightfoot, of Blackwood, claims he has discovered a secret formula which stains stainless steel. A young etching expert, Mr. Lightfoot said today he had worked two years on the project and tested more than 100 formulas. He produced a sheet of
    stainless steel with a series of advertisements stained in black on its diver face. Mr. Lightfoot said his discovery resulted from a request from a Sydney friend for a black etching on a stainless steel X-ray component. ‘My uncle, Glenelg chemist Jim Upton, has made inventing as a hobby — his best effort was a vacuum pump, which now has world patents— and he gave me the clue which led me to success,’ said Mr. Lightfoot…..

    January 28, 2018
  4. So why isn’t that email in the post?

    January 28, 2018
    • Because it was meant for me, and me only. If you want to read GF’s official response, go to page 388 of the Bookmaker and you will read what GF asked me to write.
      You see, I’m as susceptible to influence as he is.

      January 28, 2018
  5. Mike, the Francis legend is made up of 29 pieces of information, all in order, a long thread of mistruths that can be likened to the body of a snake, with Francis as its head.
    Well, as we all know, when you chop off the head the body dies.

    January 29, 2018
  6. Gordon Parham was married to Nellie Keane. Their whole crew were related to the Doolette’s/Wytkin’s. One big CLUSTER. Check out Pardey. He married Gordon’s daughter. “Apprentice Engineer” at the Municipal Tramways Trust when the war began. He went to the observer school in Mallala and a gunnery school in Port Pirie before he was stationed at Lake Boga.

    April 7, 2018
    • Otis Pierce / Pearce .. young American homosexual millionaire ballet dancer. Misca, where is this guy? He needs finding.
      https://tomsbytwo.com/2018/02/11/alosha/

      April 7, 2018
      • Not sure. I looked into it a while back and thought it was most likely a dead end but honestly didn’t spend much time on it.

        April 7, 2018
        • He’s the right height, got the calves, probably the suntan, the wedged toes … lots of the bits fit.

          April 7, 2018
          • Yes. I followed that. Took me nowhere but certainly doesn’t mean that it’s not worthy!

            April 7, 2018
  7. Gordon was a chemist. At the right time and place. No one has paid any attention to him.

    April 7, 2018
    • If SM was dealt out with glycoside and carried to the beach from nearby, then what’s to say he didn’t die on you know who’s lounge after being given a dose of you know who’s heart tonic?

      April 7, 2018
      • Try to shift your narrative just a little Pete. I don’t have the answer but I am presenting some new information here.

        April 7, 2018
        • It won’t be lost, Misca, I can carry it all up on a new post once we’re done here.

          April 7, 2018
  8. Suffice it to note that everything I posted above (in that short paragraph) was very difficult to research and took me hours and hours of work.

    https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/196437294?searchTerm=%22Ross%20Pardey%22&searchLimits=

    April 7, 2018
    • For this we thank you, as always … but can you make a narrative out of it?

      April 7, 2018
      • You forget. You said I was a burrower. I’m not a writer.

        April 7, 2018
  9. If the book was found in Pardey’s car and Leslie Francis “botched” and stated such, would the powers-that-be have covered for Pardey?

    April 7, 2018
    • Here is where you might interject as a narrator Pete.

      April 7, 2018
      • Was Pardey really Francis in your scenario?

        April 7, 2018
        • Have you removed my sub-comments? If so, why?

          April 7, 2018
          • I want to keep on your message here … that was just some temporary chat

            April 7, 2018
            • Nope. Those were my comments on the record. On the board. If you remove them, I will leave.

              April 7, 2018
        • Nope. Pardey was not Francis. He is/was a relative.

          April 7, 2018
  10. Botched …. what’s that mean in Australian? You Canucks speak another lingo

    April 7, 2018
    • Fucked up.

      April 7, 2018
    • We don’t speak another language. Generally, we try to be polite.

      April 7, 2018
      • I went to Canada once, stayed in a motel room in Nanaimo for a month, broke, no car .. in winter. Everyone I met was very polite and the clam chowder was outstanding.

        April 7, 2018
  11. BTW – Pardey (in later life) was friends and colleague of Mark Oliphant.

    April 7, 2018
  12. If you remove my comments, I will leave.

    April 7, 2018
  13. Thank you.

    April 7, 2018
  14. This is what we’ve got from Misca …

    Gordon Parham was married to Nellie Keane. Their whole crew were related to the Doolette’s/Wytkin’s. One big CLUSTER.

    Check out (Ross) Pardey. He married Parham’s daughter. “Apprentice Engineer” at the Municipal Tramways Trust when the war began. He went to the observer school in Mallala and a gunnery school in Port Pirie before he was stationed at Lake Boga.

    Gordon was a chemist. At the right time and place. No one has paid any attention to him.

    Pardey (in later life) was friends and colleague of Mark Oliphant.

    If the book was found in Pardey’s car and Leslie Francis “botched” and stated such, would the powers-that-be have covered for Pardey?

    Pardey was not Francis. He is/was a relative.

    https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/196437294?searchTerm=%22Ross%20Pardey%22&searchLimits=

    April 7, 2018
  15. Misca #

    Where did everyone go?

    April 11, 2018
  16. It’s all over, Misca, nobody has any more to add that might move it along. Gordon is still finding code, Pelling has been submerged by the facts and I’m still hoping for something on Pierce, until then ….

    April 11, 2018
  17. Misca #

    Any news from DA?

    April 12, 2018
  18. Misca #

    Have you looked into any of this?

    April 12, 2018
  19. We had a change of SA government recently and DA might think there’s a better chance of exhumation .. in the meantime he’s trying a DNA analysis on a hair lifted from the bust.

    April 12, 2018
  20. Don’t give up yet Pete you still have lots to offer.

    As for what I am up to, I am sifting through once again, all of the surviving evidence.

    The latest update I have for you is that we now have 3 different and valid images of the ‘laundry marks’ one of which clearly shows that the first number, 1171/7 is actually 7171/7. as you will notice it’s a palindrome. Interestingly when you multiply the second set of numbers, 4393/1 by 7 it gives you 307531, which is interestingly close to the final set of numbers being 3053/1, the only difference being that pesky number 7 again.

    Not being a mathematician I have enlisted the help of one, of course, if you know of one that would be good as well.

    Not yet published is Clive’s digging in which he found that the first number, 71717, was linked to a ship that had departed Fremantle in April 1948. Still digging on that one, may or may not be significant.

    Another commenter has put forward a case that the numbers actually represent months of the year.

    It seems possible that the laundry marks ain’t laundry marks at all.

    April 12, 2018
  21. Sitting in a hotel room, drinking dark rum and overlooking Victoria Harbour, imagining SM perched up on the bow of a sampan crossing over, on his way to the Sailor’s Home.
    Time off.

    April 12, 2018

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