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A possible motive behind the death the Somerton Man.

It was established in an earlier post that there was evidence of a parallel investigation taking place into the Somerton Man Case well before Detective Brown interviewed Paul Lawson at the morgue on June 8th and as noted by Paul Lawson in his work diary.

Brown’s knowledge of the relationship that existed between Boxall and Harkness before it came about in an interview with Detective Canney six weeks later on July 25/26th indicates another investigation had the Rubaiyat in its possession prior to its reported handing in by Chemist Freeman and Jessica Harkness had already been interviewed.


The story as it goes  ….

Robert Hemblys-Scales of the MI5 accompanied his Director, Roger Hollis to Australia in August 1948 and stayed on to reorganise the Australian security operation which was ruthlessly described by Hollis in a report to London:

“Australia’s name stinks in the security world.”

Then Hollis let loose on Longfield Lloyd.

“Hollis wrote in August 1948 that Eric Longfield Lloyd, the head of ASIO’s precursor, the commonwealth intelligence service, claimed to know all about Russian espionage methods but “in fact he demonstrably knows nothing of these matters and has almost no resources to cope with them”.

(Quotes from The Australian April 16, 2011 Peter Wilson)

So, from the Russian point of view you could say they were winning by more than a body length in atomic age Australia 1948, but with the news that Roger Hollis was leaving Hemblys-Scales in the country, you might expect a Russian reaction. Spying is competitive that way.

And the quickest way to stall Hemblys-Scales’ budding efforts in ridding the CIS of Russian assets was to stall him through his Aunt Lica.

Lica Delprat


The anonymous man who handed the Rubaiyat to DS Leane six months after it was found is now thought to have been Dr. Delprat or a colleague of Robert Hemblys-Scales. It could not have been Chemist Freeman as he told Leane the book had remained in his glovebox for the entire six months.

Dr. Delprat would have been aware of the risks of engaging Russia in espionage activities as she was the daughter of a Dutch diplomat and Robert Hemblys-Scales, her nephew by marriage, was currently employed by the British Government as their senior MI5 representative in Canberra and was busy rooting out some very long-term Russian assets from the Australian security services.

But Russians are known for the complexity and ruthlessness of their retaliatory plots. It wasn’t enough for them to implicate Hembly-Scales in an unsolved murder through Dr. Delprat, they decided to round up a couple of Australian spooks as well, which was fair enough given how many Russian spooks HS was turfing out of Canberra.

Paul Lawson overheard the police discussing Jessica Harkness and Alfred Boxall’s covert relationship in exchanging classified shipping information while both were working in Sydney. Boxall was stationed on Sydney Harbour, Harkness, a trainee nurse, worked in a major hospital.

The only way that works, given both of them were working for allied purposes, was for Boxall to create false information before passing it to Harkness who then passed it along to a communist party operative who was lured to Adelaide in November 1948 and murdered.


The Plan.

Re-awaken SM’s covert relationship with Harkness and send him to Adelaide to make contact.

Take him as soon as he arrives.

Kill him.

Tuck the Tamam Shud slip into his pocket.

Deposit his body close to Moseley Street.

Deposit the Rubaiyat inside Lica Delprat’s car.*

Then, and crucially,  … expect the police to find the slip when they first search the body.

This information will no doubt make its way to the newspapers quickly so when Delprat finds the Rubaiyat she will make the connection and hand it in to the police straight away.

They will see the code, the phone number.

This too will make the news. And as newspapers are known to be inquisitive they will, with our help, have a close look at Lica Delprat’s background, her family.

And up will pop Robert Hembleys-Scales of the MI5 who is now irretrievably and fatally connected to a coded book found inside his aunt’s car and a mysteriously worded slip torn from it lodged secretly inside the trouser pocket of an unidentified dead man found close to the home of a woman once engaged in covert activities.


But …

Moss said he didn’t find the slip when he searched the body, and Cleland delayed in finding it when he had the opportunity to search the clothes worn by the dead man, then he delayed proceedings again in telling DS Leane about it, who delayed yet again before giving it to Brown to investigate, which delayed the news getting out.

And whoever had the book from Lica, bless his anonymous MI5 head, delayed a full six months before giving it back which in turn delayed the police interviews of Harkness and Boxall until after the inquest.

So, it looks like old Hemblys-Scales beat the Russians at their own game – no wonder they whizzed him over to Beirut later on and settled him close to Kim Philby.

You know it makes sense.

It is not known if Dr. Delprat drove a Hillman Minx.


Bringing down Hembly-Scales would have wide political ramifications. That’s Billy Hughes (Australian PM from 1915 to 1923) with his hat in hand and wishing the newly-married Hembly-Scales well.


* Dr Delprat and her husband once had a surgery close to Chemists Freeman’s pharmacy, when her husband died in 1934, Lica Delprat moved her practice to Unley – 20 minutes away.

NIA Papers of the Delprat and Teppema families

Following courtesy of Byron Deveson.

Robert Victor Hemblys Scales wife’s aunt was married to Dr Milmo Sprod.

Tania Virginia Hemblys-Scales (nee Teppema)
Birthdate: circa 1925
Birthplace: Sydney, NSW, Australia
Daughter of Petrus Ephrem Teppema and Elizabeth Francisca Carmen Delprat

Milmo Sprod’s wife was “Lica” Elizabeth Theodora Delprat
BIRTH 1882 Jorga, Spain
DEATH 18 JUN 1963 South Australia
Father Guillaume Daniel Delprat(1856–1937)
Mother Henrietta Marie Wilhelmine Sophia Jas(1858–1937)
Marriage 11 Apr 1916 Victoria to Dr. Milo Weeks Sprod (1882–1934)

In other words Elizabeth Francisca Carmen Delprat (Hembly Scales’ mother in law) was a sister to Milmo Sprod’s wife.

9 Comments Post a comment
  1. Пожалуйста #

    Have I misunderstood? You’re suggesting a Soviet plot that sends a Soviet agent to Adelaide in order to be murdered by Soviet agents?

    “That’s a pretty melodramatic thesis, isn’t it”?

    July 8, 2020
    • No.

      July 8, 2020
      • After browsing this list of Soviet extra-judicial killings, Boris, a man might think that the Russians are quite capable of sacrificing a no-name pawn in order to capture a Bishop.

        Target Position Date City Country Killer

        Juliet Stuart Poyntz CPUSA member and soviet intelligence agent 1937-06-03 New York United States
        Ignace Reiss Soviet spy 1937-09-04 Lausanne Switzerland
        Yevhen Konovalets Leader of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists 1938-05-23 Rotterdam Netherlands
        Yevgeny Miller General in the White Army 1939-05-11 Moscow Soviet Union
        Zinaida Reich Soviet actress 1939-07-15
        Leon Trotsky Soviet politician and Marxist revolutionary theorist 1940-08-21 Coyoacán Mexico
        Nikolai Koltsov Soviet biologist 1940-12-02 Leningrad Soviet Union
        Walter Krivitsky defected Soviet intelligence officer 1941-02-10 Washington, D.C. United States
        Mairbek Sheripov Chechen nationalist 1942-11-07 Chechnya Soviet Union Soviet security force
        Carlo Tresca Italian-American newspaper editor 1943-01-11 New York City United States NKVD
        Wilhelm Kube Generalkommissar of Weissruthenien 1943-09-22 Minsk Soviet Union Yelena Mazanik
        Solomon Mikhoels Soviet actor and the artistic director of the Moscow State Jewish Theatre. 1948-01-13 MGB
        Khasan Israilov Chechen nationalist 1944-12-29 Chechnya Soviet security force
        Leonid Karas Belarusian writer and journalist for Radio Liberty 1954-09-?? Munich West Germany KGB
        Abdurrahman Fatalibeyli Defected Soviet army major; CIA agent and later chief of the Azerbaijani desk for Radio Liberty 1954-11-22
        Lev Rebet Leader of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists 1957-10-10
        Imre Nagy Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the People’s Republic of Hungary 1958-06-16 Budapest Hungary Soviet show trial
        Stepan Bandera[2] Leader of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists 1959-10-15 Munich West Germany KGB
        Mohammed Daoud Khan President of Afghanistan 1978-04-28 Kabul Afghanistan KGB / PDPA
        KGB was most likely involved as the Saur Revolution was a Soviet-backed coup
        Georgi Markov Bulgarian dissident journalist 1978-09-11 London United Kingdom KGB
        Hafizullah Amin President of Afghanistan 1979-12-27 Kabul Afghanistan
        Sultan Ibraimov Prime Ministers of Kyrgyzstan 1980-12-04 Cholpon Ata Soviet Union
        Korean Air Lines Flight 007 269 passengers and crew 1983-09-01 Sea of Japan, near Moneron Island, west of Sakhalin Island Soviet Air Force
        Nikolay Suleimanov Boss of Chechen Mafia 1994-12-?? Moscow Russia Russian Mafia
        Choe Deok-geun[3] South Korean consular official for the Russian Far East 1996-10-01 Vladivostok
        Akhmadov brothers[4] Chechen generals and high ranking military commanders 1999-2002 (7 brothers killed) Dagestan

        Ruslan Alikhadzhiyev Chairman of the Parliament of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria 2000-05-17 Shali
        Apti Abitayev[5] Prime suspect in the 1998 kidnapping incident 2001-05-06 Somewhere in Russia
        Dzhokhar Dudayev President of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria 1996-04-21 Chechnya Russian Air Force
        Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev 2004-02-13 Doha Qatar SVR / GRU
        Aslan Maskhadov 2005-03-08 Tolstoy-Yurt, Chechnya Russia FSB
        Abdul-Halim Sadulayev 2006-06-17 Argun, Chechnya
        Arbi Barayev Leader of Special Purpose Islamic Regiment 2001-06-22 Alkhan-Kala, Chechnya
        Ibn al-Khattab Emir of the Arab Mujahideen in Chechnya 2002-03-20 Chechnya
        Abu al-Walid 2004-04-16 Chechnya
        Abu Hafs al-Urduni 2006-11-26 Chechnya
        Muhannad 2011-04-21 Chechnya
        Abdulla Kurd 2011-05-03 Chechnya
        Turpal-Ali Atgeriyev Deputy Prime Minister and National Security Minister of Chechnya 2002-08-18 Yekaterinburg Unknown Russian agents
        Salman Raduyev Chechen separatist warlord and rebel commander 2002-12-14 Solikamsk
        Ruslan Gelayev Deputy Prime Minister of Chechnya 2004-02-28 Bezhta [ru], Dagestan Border Security Service
        Abdourahman al-Zarki[6] Leader of the foreign volunteers unit in the North Caucasus 2000-??-?? Chechnya FSB
        Abu Umar Mohammed Al-Sayyaf [ru] Senior leader of the Arab Mujahideen in Chechnya and Ibn al-Khattab’s deputy 2001-07-11 Mayrtup, Chechnya
        Aslambek Abdulkhadzhiev Field commander of Chechen Republic of Ichkeria and deputy of Shamil Basayev 2002-08-26 Shali
        Mahmud Hisham al-Hennawi[7] One of the founders of EIJ and Al-Qaeda affiliate 2005-??-?? Chechnya
        Magomedzagir Akayev Senior commander of Shariat Jamaat 2005-01-15 Kaspiysk, Dagestan
        Abu Omar al-Kuwaiti Al-Qaeda agent and involved in Beslan school siege 2005-02-16 Ingushetia
        Rizvan Chitigov Senior Chechen intelligence chief and CIA agent 2005-03-23 Shali, Chechnya
        Akhmed Avdorkhanov Head of security for President Aslan Maskhadov 2005-09-19 Somewhere in Chechnya
        Abu Omar al-Saif[8] Mufti of Arab fighters in Chechnya and Al-Qaeda affiliate 2005-12-10 Dagestan
        Shamil Basayev Most senior Chechen military commander and overall leader of all Chechen rebel factions 2006-07-10 Ingushetia
        Aliev Nurov Senior Chechen rebel 2006-08-?? Chechnya
        Amir Khayrullah (Suleiman Imurzayev) Senior Chechen commander and prime suspect of the 2004 Grozny stadium bombing 2007-04-05 Grozny, Chechnya
        Khura-Magomed Ramazanov Senior Islamic cleric 2007-07-26 Makhachkala, Dagestan
        Alexander Litvinenko Defected lieutenant colonel of FSB 2006-11-23 London United Kingdom SVR
        Umar Israilov Ex bodyguard of Ramzan Kadyrov / Critic of the Chechen government 2009-01-13 Vienna Austria
        Movladi Baisarov Ex commander of the Special Battalion Vostok 2006-11-18 Moscow Russia Kadyrovtsy
        Sulim Yamadayev Lieutenant Colonel of Special Battalion Vostok 2009-03-28 (Died 2009-03-30) Dubai United Arab Emirates
        Said Buryatsky Commander of Riyad-us Saliheen Brigade of Martyrs’s suicide bombers brigade 2010-03-02 Ekazhevo, Ingushetia Russia FSB / MVD
        Yassir al-Sudani Commander of Caucasus Emirate 2010-06-08 Vedeno, Chechnya
        Eldar Magatov[9] Senior Islamist militant 2014-01-21 likely Dagestan Russian police and pro-government militia
        Vakha Arsanov Vice president of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria 2005-05-15 Ivanovo
        Supyan Abdullayev 2011-03-28 Ingushetia Russian Air Force
        Zaurbek Avdorkhanov[10] Field commander of Caucasus Emirate 2012-07-31 Galashki, Ingushetia FSB
        Ibragim Avdorkhanov[11] Chechen separatists and part of 2010 Tsentoroy attack
        Ayub Khaladov[12]
        Dokka Umarov Emir of the Caucasus Emirate 2013-09-07 Ingushetia
        Aliaskhab Kebekov 2015-04-19 Buynaksk, Dagestan
        Magomed Suleimanov 2015-08-11 Gimry, Dagestan
        Zalim Shebzukhov 2016-08-17 Saint Petersburg
        Rasul Makasharipov Emir of Vilayat Dagestan 2005-07-06 Makhachkala, Dagestan
        Rappani Khalilov 2007-09-17 Novy Sulak, Dagestan
        Abdul Madzhid 2008-09-07 Magaramkentsky District, Dagestan
        Omar Sheikhulayev 2009-02-05 outside Makhachkala, Dagestan
        Umalat Magomedov 2009-12-31 Khasavyurt, Dagestan
        Magomed Vagabov 2010-08-21 Gunib, Dagestan
        Israpil Velijanov 2011-04-18 Dagestan
        Ibragimkhalil Daudov 2012-02-14 Dagestan
        Rustam Asildarov 2016-12-03 near Makhachkala, Dagestan
        Said Kharakansky 2017-02-07 Dagestan
        Muslim Atayev Emir of Vilayat KBK 2005-01-27 Nalchik, Kabardino-Balkaria
        Anzor Astemirov 2010-03-24
        Asker Dzhappuyev 2011-04-29 Progress Stavropol Krai
        Alim Zankishiev 2012-03-27 Nalchik, Kabardino-Balkaria
        Khuseyn Gakayev Commander of Vilayat Nokhchicho (Eastern Sector) 2013-01-24 Vedeno, Chechnya
        Dzhamaleyl Mutaliyev[13] Emir of Vilayat Galgaycho 2013-05-21 Nazran
        Arthur Getagazhev 2014-05-24 Sagopshi, Ingushetia
        Beslan Makhauri[14] 2015-10-31 Nazran
        Ilyas Vedzizhev[15] Insurgent of Vilayat Galgaycho
        Zaur Prokopchuk Senior Caucasus Emirate militant 2015-04-16 Nalchik
        Robert Zankishiev Head of Kabardino-Balkaria’s terrorist organization 2015-11-10 Unknown
        Iyad al-Deek[16][17] Captain of FSA 2015-09-30 northern Homs Syria Russian Air Force
        2 senior ISIL commanders[18] ISIS field commanders 2015-10-8/9 Raqqa province
        Basil Zamo[19] Commander of 1st Coastal Division 2015-10-20 Jabal al-Akrad, Latakia
        Abu Nurlbagasi[20] ISIS field commanders 2015-11-17/18 Aleppo province
        Muhammad ibn Khayrat[21]
        Moder Abdul Salam Hamdoun[23] Senior commander of Thuwar al-Sham Brigades 2015-12-??
        Zahran Alloush[24] Commander of Jaysh al-Islam 2015-12-25 Utaya, Rif Dimashq
        Nimr al-Shukri[25] Military commander of Ahrar ash-Sham of Aleppo 2016-02-09 Northern Aleppo
        Abu Abdollah Jabal[26] Senior commander of Al-Nusra Front 2016-06-22 Northwestern Aleppo
        Abul Baha al-Asfari[27] Field commander of Jabhat Fatah al-Sham 2016-11-16 Idlib
        Muhammad Helala[28]
        Abu Jaber Harmuja[29]
        (Real Estate Chief of “al-Khair State”)[30] ISIL emir of Deir Ezzor 2017-01-?? Deir Ezzor
        Abu Rida al-Turkestani[31][32] Leader of Turkistan Islamic Party in Syria 2017-01-12 Ariha, Idlib
        Gulmurod Khalimov[33] ISIL war minister 2017-09-08 Deir ez-Zor
        Abu Muhammad al-Shimali[34] Emir of Deir ez-Zor
        Abu Sulman al-Saudi[35][better source needed] Chief of southern sector in Idlib province 2017-09-27 Idlib province
        Abu al-Abbas Anadin[35][better source needed] Emir on financial issues (war minister)
        Abu Hasan[35][better source needed] Adviser to military minister Abu Muhammad Al-julani
        Walid al-Mustafa[35][better source needed] Aide to spiritual leader Abdallah al-Muheisni
        Abu Mudjagid[35][better source needed] Sharia judge
        Abu Islam Al-Kazaki[36] Senior ISIL member 2017-10-02 Eastern bank of the Euphrates, Deir ez-Zor
        Ahmad al-Ghizai[37] Security service chief of Jabhat al-Nusra 2017-10-3 Specific location undisclosed
        Husem Mahzum[38] Field commander of Jabhat al-Nusra
        Ahmad Khalez Ali al-Zawawi[39]
        Alaa Al Din Al Shishani[40] Senior ISIL commanders 2017-10-5/6 Abu Kamal
        Salah Al Din Al Shishani[41]
        Salakhuddin Shishani[42] Emir of Jaysh Usrah 2017-12-17 northern Hama province
        Abu Mohammad Saif[43] Commander of Failaq al-Rahman 2018-03-14 Eastern Ghouta
        Abu Mohammed Jobar[44]
        Abu Omar al Dayk[45] Commander of Faylaq al-Sham 2019-07-19 Northern Latakia
        Abu Riad al-Deiri[46] Senior leader of FSA 2019-08-06 north of Latakia
        Mohammad Husein Qasem[47] Commander of Faylaq al-Sham 2019-08-19 Northwestern province of Idlib
        Ali Osaev[48] Istanbul representative of the Caucasus Emirate 2009-02-26 Istanbul Turkey SVR
        Berg-Hadj Musayev[49] Senior chechen separatists 2011-09-16
        Zaurbek Amriyev[50]
        Rustam Altemirov[51]
        Abdullah Bukhari[52] Usbek-chechen Islamic cleric 2014-12-10
        Abdulvahid Edelgiriev Chechen commander during the Chechen-Russian conflict 2015-11-01 Başakşehir, İstanbul Province
        Ruslan Israpilov Chechen fighter during the Chechen-Russian conflict 2016-05-11 Kocaeli Province, Turkey
        Ukrainian Air Force Il-76 76777 40 paratroopers of 25th Airborne Brigade and 9 crew members of Ukrainian Air Force 2014-06-14 near Luhansk Ukraine Wagner Group[53][54]
        Military convoy of Ukrainian forces 30 Ukrainian soldiers and 7 border guards 2014-07-11 Zelenopillya, Luhansk Oblast Unknown Russian artillery unit
        Oleksandr Kharaberiush SBU colonel 2017-03-31 Mariupol SVR / FSB
        Yurii Vitalyevich Voznyi (Yuri Vozny) 2017-06-27 Kostiantynivka
        Maksym Shapoval HUR MOU colonel Kiev
        Timur Makhauri (aka Ali Timaiev)[55][56] Chechen battalion commander / fighter 2017-09-08
        Zelimkhan Khangoshvili Military commander of Chechen Republic of Ichkeria and Western intelligence agent 2019-08-23 Berlin Germany GRU[57]

        I’d stick up a list of known soviet agents who were consigned to the labour camps but I don’t think there’s space.

        July 8, 2020
  2. пожалуйста #

    OK, you provide an impressive list of alleged state sponsored and extra-judicial killings. But a cursory glance (I admit I haven’t had the time to go through all of them) suggests that this list is of individuals who are either outright ‘enemies (non-Soviet) or clearly dissident forces (from whatever orthodoxy prevailed at the time… e.g. Stalinism).

    Would that suggest therefore, that the Somerton Man would likely be very much out of favour with Moscow Centre? A former Soviet agent now considered persona non grata and disposable?

    If so, that does push us back toward Cramer territory, with its ill-fittingly besuited Sov spooks crashing around Adelaide with their puff-guns of exotic toxins. And it’s a happy coincidence for those dark forces that such a patsy should emerge (or did they keep him spare for just such an eventuality?) with a handy connection to Mr. Hemblys-Scales on the very occasion of his visit to those parts.

    July 8, 2020
    • I’m not here to convince you, Boris … walk away anytime you like.

      July 9, 2020
      • Пожалуйста #

        Not bloody likely. I’m sure we’d miss each other. And anyway, there is little else to do in Yekaterinburg right now.

        This “Communist Party operative” that the SM has now become… he can’t have been an Australian fellow traveller, can he? Someone Australian would have claimed him. And he’d have been known to ASIO and its clumsy forebears. They couldn’t have risked keeping him as the “unknown man”. Unless of course you’re still suggesting a Nacht und Nebel body swap and peppering it with a variant of the Operation Mincemeat deception?

        If he was none of the above, what was he? An illegal? Not connected to the embassy and rezidentura? Not a Cultural Attache or 2nd Secretary Commercial with a Canberra zapiska as thick as a two-week Borscht, for sure. He would have been known.

        July 9, 2020

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