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In this latest series of posts we have suggested that Alf Boxall wrote the V70 inscription himself after being asked to do so. Either that or someone bought the book and did it for him. This claim is supported by the tone of the verse which in Stuart Littlemore’s words is one of ‘insobriety and regret,’ or in other words, drunkeness and grief. Yet, when asked what he thought of Jessica years later, Boxall described her as ‘very reserved young woman’ and ‘just a young girl’ and ‘a very quiet sort of girl’. Descriptions which clash mightily with her as being a drunken and grief stricken lush regretting another night on the drink. Omar style.

The view here is that when V70 was written – in what suspiciously look like a strong masculine hand – the writer was acting on advice, not experience.

When interviewed by Littlemore many years later Boxall no doubt had read everything he could lay his hands on about the Somerton Man investigation, given his involvement, but of Harkness he would have read very little other than the descriptions of her near fainting spell when viewing the bust. That’s when his view would have changed from her being accepted as a drunken lush to ‘just a young, reserved and very quiet young  girl.’

Perhaps the key to this personality flip can be found in the notes of the Littlemore / Boxall interview where Boxall stated of Harkness ‘I think she had great courage, tremendous courage.’

What is also worth noting is that at no stage of the Littlemore interview did Boxall mention meeting or talking to Jessica at the Clifton Gardens specifically. No he said she said recollections, no personal reminiscences of the relationship that led to her giving him the inscribed Rubaiyat, just a general comment that she may have been the sort of girl who was in the habit of giving presents to men being posted away from home.

We have also suggested that the same authority who was responsible for the V70 inscription also instructed the police to delay the case’s advancement in every way possible while they built this facade to hide the truth. The most obvious example of SAPOL’s complicity was failing to fingerprint the contents of the suitcase, despite it having an assortment of hard surfaced objects packed inside, which prompts the inevitable thought that the Somerton Man’s prints would not have been found there.

This together with SAPOL’s failure to photograph the Freeman Rubaiyat and the torn page, leaving it to the local newspaper to mock up a copy for publication.

The official police photographer and fingerprint expert at the time was Jimmy Durham – so it’s highly unlikely he would (1) include his own finger in the shot and (2) mess up any fingerprints already existing on the page.

Gerry Feltus too had a word about the TS slip and the tear in the Rubaiyat page when he wrote: “I was also advised (by reliable sources) that the area torn from the actual copy was smaller than that shown in the newspaper photograph, and that the the piece of paper with the words “Tamam Shud” fitted into the torn area perfectly.”

Then there was DS Leane’s 51 day delay in allowing the Press to publicise the finding of the Tamam Shud slip, the most crucial piece of evidence in the case and one that prompted Chemist Freeman’s recollection that led to the finding of a Rubaiyat with a tear in the back page, a Rubaiyat that was never photographed and presumed lost very early in the investigation. Which is difficult to reconcile to whatever secure means were used to safe-keep the much smaller Taman Shud slip which still exists. Add to that the photograph of the card of Barbour thread which was included with the Somerton Man’s tools weeks before it was discovered that the same type of thread was used to repair his clothing.

What is not often discussed was the whereabouts of Harkness in the weeks and months after the body of the Somerton man was found, particularly as the first photograph of him appeared in the local newspaper on December 3rd and the Moseley St phone number was being used at the time by her boyfriend Prosper for his various business opportunities and who, no doubt, had somebody else answer it for him, that being Jessica.

The view here is that she was kept well under wraps until the designated time of Detective Canney’s arrival. There could be no other explanation. She knew the Somerton Man. He was found dead 200 yards away from her home. His picture was in the papers.

The political ramifications would have been catastrophic for both Ben Chifley and his federal Labor government if news of the secret Anglo Australian Project was made public, particularly as thousands of Australians had died in Europe and North Africa fighting Nazis and now, only a few years after the end of the war dozens of Nazis were being fed, employed, in some cases given new identities in Australia and in the Somerton Man’s Case many were working and living at the Salisbury weapons complex, only half an hour from Somerton Beach.

The Somerton Man was found on autopsy to be suffering from a ‘massively oversized and congested spleen, acute gastric haemorrhage, extensive liver congestion, congestion of the pharynx, deeply congested stomach, congestion of the duodenum, renal congestion of both kidneys, a great excess of blood in the liver and signs of cerebral thrombosis,*’ some of which may have contributed to his death and others more than probably needing regular nursing care.

Nursing care available only a phone call away.

1947 Adelaide phone directory.

*Taken from Dr. Dwyer’s inquest deposition.


As a personal note and one directed to Gordon Cramer, seeing he will not publish my comments: you have never set my pace old friend. My running is done on an altogether different track.

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