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The Dented Cup

After lengthy consultation with Gordon Cramer, and a lucid distillation of the recently uncovered facts, we are now in a position to award this cup to those who have not, until now, incorporated as an irrefutable fact in the logic of their theories the certain knowledge that the man in stripes was not the man in plain.

In addition, we award the cup to those have not met the striped announcement with shouts of joy. Their hopes for coherence in a more personal fiction possibly damaged.

Many of the High and Mighty of the Somerton Man world were gathered in Adelaide recently to be tantalised by the notion that someone in the audience knew who Mr Francis was, only to witness the Abbott Feltus feud simmer anew.

Nobody who had the mike that night spoke of the certainty of two bodies because nobody that night was sure. The O’Doherty witness ten years on, enough time for most to doubt its accuracy. But now we are sure. We have the document. Gordon Strapps in the audience somewhere, sixty-nine years on.

Just a minnow in the scheme of things was Gordon, until now.

So, congratulations, your cups are available for pick-up.


7 Comments Post a comment
  1. Byron Deveson #

    Pete, In my defence I can say that so many things struck me as wrong, peculiar or impossible about the SM story that I have always (since 2001) thought that it contained very little truth.
    Adding to the steaming pile of manure I offer the following.

    There is something odd about Frank Kennedy, the journalist who identified the source of the “Tamam Shud” slip as being the final words of the ROK. Kennedy seems to be both well known and well connected, but otherwise invisible. The feeling in my water is that Frank was mixed up with the intelligence crowd somehow. Right from the start (2001 for me) not a single line of the SM “story” has rung true with me. That I why I have always though that the intelligence services were involved somewhere. And that is why I believe that SM is Charles Mikkelsen. His supposed death aboard the Tirranna in 1940 and all. Charles’ story in Australia just doesn’t ring true either. It is phoney as a three dollar note (Yes, I know).

    I noted that the State Library of South Australia offers an “Ask us” service (AskUs) so I did.

    My questions were as follows: “I am interested in discovering more about the South Australian journalist who went by the name Frank Kennedy (which is perhaps not his real name). He is mentioned in “Other times: The life and work of Max Fatchen” by Andrew Mail. page 119.

    “The senior journalist on this assignment was Frank Kennedy, the police reporter who became a local journalistic legend.” (reporting on the Maralinga atomic test in 1956).

    I note that there was a radio entertainer in Adelaide 1939 by the name of Frank Kennedy.

    1966 Frank Kennedy, of the Advertiser, interviewed PM Harold Holt.

    I have looked at the various State and Federal electoral rolls for the period 1940-1960 but I have not found a Frank Kennedy who would fit the identification.

    I would be grateful if you could offer any advice.”

    I received a prompt and courteous reply form Anthony Laube, Customer Contact Librarian, with the following interesting information.

    Thank you for your enquiry regarding the journalist Frank Kennedy.
    “I have asked two former Advertiser journalists (Kym Tilbrook and Barry O’Brien) about Frank Kennedy –  both worked with him and remember him well. They believed this was his real name. I have found the deaths of two Frank Kennedys, one in 1995 and one in 2002. However the death notices do not give any clear indication whether one of these is the former journalist.
    His former colleagues noted Frank was the Adelaide representative for the Sydney Morning Herald, so you might find out more by exploring this connection. They stated that he was a general and police reporter, and did Saturday and night chief of staff work. They believe he reported on the 1957 Sundown murders.
    I am sorry we are unable to find any further information for you. Good luck with your research.” 

    November 5, 2018
  2. Byron, how do we get around the appendix problem? Mikkelsen had his out up north, SM had no scar.

    November 5, 2018
  3. Clive #

    You would have thought, that, finding a slip of paper with two unusual words inscribed on it, the SA police would have enquired at the State Library or University? Yes, I know FK told them what the words meant, still seems a bit odd. Clive

    November 6, 2018
  4. Nobody was in a hurry … Leane didn’t get the slip back from Cleland until April, then he didn’t ask Brown to go looking for a translation until June. Inquest month.
    The police case was a dead duck, bottom of the pile, cops are busy, and when it came to the inquest the attitude was to get it over with and nobody asked any questions about the conflicting evidence. That was Coroner Cleland’s job. He failed.

    November 6, 2018
  5. Byron Deveson #

    Pete, there is no evidence that Charles had an appendectomy. He was put ashore supposedly with symptoms but in 1938 an operation for appendicitis was quite hazardous (limited antibiotics available) particularly on a tropical island like Thursday Island. If Charles did not show signs of a burst appendix, or signs that his appendix was likely to burst, then the medical SOP of the day would have been to keep Charles in hospital under close observation. When the doctors thought his appendix had quietened down they would have been very happy to put him on the next ship back to the mainland. Give Charles’ habit of going missing I think it is quite likely that he feigned stomach pains in order to get back to Australia, or to get onboard the Taiping to gather intelligence. As I have said previously I think Charles was some sort of agent for civilian or military intelligence. I note that the ship on which Charles was sent back to Australia had been suspected of being used for drug smuggling (opium) so the authorities would have been interested in the sort of intelligence a man like Charles could provide. Charles was a seaman so he could naturally mix and talk with the crew of the Taiping and milk them of intelligence. Or maybe Charles really did have an inflammation of the appendix? I don’t know but I do know that a grumbling appendix didn’t often result in an appendectomy in 1938. Appendectomies still carried a significant mortality even in the 1950s (ie. with much better antibiotics).

    November 6, 2018
  6. Clive #

    Byron, Just a thought! We all have seen the photo of Charles Mikkelsen, is there a process whereby that photo could be ‘manipulated’ to show a more aged CM, in 1948?

    November 7, 2018

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