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Was Middle Head a Nest of Spies?

When Alf Boxall was asked by Stuart Littlemore if Jessica Harkness knew he was involved in Intelligence, Boxall didn’t deny it and deferred giving a direct answer by replying if she did then someone else must have told her.

Cagey old lad …

Boxall completed part of his service at Middle Head after being posted to the Australian Water Transport Op. Company in ’43.

In ’44 his second child was born, Leslie.

In ’45 he was posted out and we are told Jessica Harkness presented him with a Rubaiyat inscribed with what could be called in those days as pretty steamy verse.

Parties, booze and regret  …  who hasn’t been there?

Harkness aged about 29 and single, Boxall aged about 36 and married with children.

Everything platonic. Obviously.

So, if a man was given the job of pin-pointing an opportunity for these two  .. friends to engage in a little intelligence sharing, Middle Head looks the most likely. Not only that, but the Clifton Gardens Hotel appears the most convenient place for spies to meet and exchange whatever they exchanged  … apart from bodily juices. War is hell.

Alf’s intelligence opportunities may have involved identifying various wartime traffic moving in and out of the harbour, including merchant steamers bound for the weapon research projects in SA, and perhaps he was clever enough to source cargo documents and passenger lists.

With Ms Harkness we might assume she had a drink or three with some of the AWAS ladies stationed at Middle Head or the odd Italian POW who was able to get under the Obelisk Beach Camp barricades prior to their belated release and settlement in Griffith NSW where they grew some of the finest strains of cannabis sativa in Australia.

Members of the Australian Women’s Army Service (AWAS) serving with the NSW Anti-Aircraft and Coast Artillery Signals Unit, playing basketball on the Unit’s Sports Day, at Middle Head in December 1944. Note the original huts of the Signals Camp – these were subsequently converted to house ASOPA.


Похоже, у них обоих есть несколько возможностей, не так ли, Борис?

or, in other words ..

Looks to be a few opportunities here for them both, don’t you reckon, Boris?

One Comment Post a comment
  1. пожалуйста #

    Some opportunities… but like you said earlier: it’s not big ticket stuff, is it? On the surface, the most Alf could have been at those postings is an average Joe, passing tidbits to a handler; maybe building a network of sorts.

    So, why then does Our Man in Maleny have Karla Boxall down as spy-schooling young naïf Jess in the art of concealed comms? That would put him in another league, surely? A seasoned hand; a pro.

    October 9, 2020

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