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1947 – Prosper Thomson’s want ads and the possible uses of Carl Webb’s tools.

Updated … *

Screwdriver and Bobby Pin


The Six Pencils.

*‘Graphite powder is the preferred lock lubricant for professional locksmiths, so you know it’s good for lockpicking, All you need is a lead pencil.’  Robin Mansur.


Cut down knife and screwdriver.

*‘Johns & McHale specialised in odometer manufacture and ex-employees talk of how they learned how to disconnect them in rental cars to reduce their costs. There’s also a nice video on youtube showing how you clock a vintage mechanical odometer. All you need is a small screwdriver and a strong, thin, flat edge to prise apart the numbers on the barrel if you want to move them individually.’ Lifted from CipherMysteries, comment by Jamie.


Particle Brush containing an unidentified black powder.

Could be used to apply pencil graphite to the inside of car lock to assist the lockpicker. The black powder shaken from the brush was not successfully analysed by James Cowan as he only tested it for common poisons.



Could be used to strip ignition wires. An electrician/electrical engineer would have no trouble hot wiring any car in the 1940s.



*The Rubaiyat associated with Carl Webb had the Moseley Street phone number Prosper Thomson used for his classifieds (from July 1947) written on the back cover.  Number X3239.

Prosper Thomson’s girlfriend Jessica Harkness, who lived at Moseley Street at the time, almost fainted when she was shown Webb’s bust. When questioned by the police she divulged nothing. Prosper Thomson was not interviewed.

Carl Webb’s body was found on the morning of December 1, 1948 only two hundred yards away from Jessica’s home in Moseley Street.

The coroner ruled that Webb did not die where he was found, citing the body’s conflicting lividity.

The cold case investigator – ex-detective Gerry Feltus – interviewed a man who had formally reported to the police in 1959 that he and three others had seen a man carrying another man along Somerton beach on the night of November 30, 1948, the night before the body was found.  Feltus, a seasoned detective, found the man reliable.

Some conclusions  may be drawn.


Some of the classifieds Prosper Thomson placed in 1947 together with other relevant information.

1947 – Jessica Harkness arrives in Adelaide from Melbourne.

Feb 47 – Clinic Distrib. WANTED – Paying cash or exchange take over terms for Roadster.

Mar 47 – Clinic Distrib. FOR SALE – Morris 10 hp series 1940 for Dodge or similar. Genuine NSPR.

Mar 47 – Box 1009j. WANTED – House or flat. Thomson

Mar 47 – FOR SALE – Dodge 1923 single seater NSPR £110

Mar 47 – Wanted .22 rifle (Three times this month). Hindley St.

Mar 47 – WANTED .22 auto or repeater -cash or exchange Healing Cycle. Thomson

Mar 47 – WANTED. Car, any make, any model, buckboard will do. Thomson Box 1009j.

Mar 47 – WANTED. Partner for used car business – £500 to £1000. City premises. Box 1009j £500 to £1,000


Apr 47 – Wanted. Car or buckboard, any make. McTaggart (twice more this month). Box 953H

May 47 – WANTED. Employment of any kind. Good refs Thomson. Box 953H

May 47 – WANTED. URGENTLY. Car any type, spot cash. Thomson. Box 953H

May 47 – WANTED DESPERATELY. Car, any type, pay cash. Box 953H. £75 to £200

May 47 – WANTED. Any make car, cash or takeover terms. Thomson. £150. Box 953H

May 47 – WANTED. Building suit workshop – pay ingoing or buy plant. URGENT. Thomson. Box 953H.

June / July 1947 – Jessica Harkness gives birth to son Robin.

July 47 – WANTED. 1946 / 47 sedan for taxi. URGENT. Thomson, X3239. Moseley Street.*


And a big thank you to Dude47, who’s been been plugging Webb as a shifty sort of character from day 1.

28 Comments Post a comment
  1. IForgotMyAlias #

    Why is Prosper desperate to buy cars if he’s a car thief? Or do you suggest Charlie brought a car to sell him and things went sour (maybe Prosper realised it was stolen and got upset).

    July 29, 2022
    • I’m not suggesting anything, just planting the seeds.

      July 29, 2022
  2. Clive #

    I can’t imagine Prosper being too upset about a stolen car, he always ‘sailed’ close to the wind and knew how far he could go before the police became interested. Prosper’s advert in March 1947 and Carl’s action a few weeks later, in April 1947, cannot just be a coincidence, you know what people say, ‘birds of a feather’?

    July 29, 2022
  3. The Sly Dog #

    Here’s a cracker: what if PMcTT and Carl / Charlie were sending each other secret messages about boosted cars to trade, you know… hidden in plain sight, on innocuous objects like poetry books, as ‘gulp’ micro code! Wouldn’t that be splendid for all concerned!

    July 29, 2022
  4. dude47 #

    What if Prosper stole Carls identity. Doubtful but could explain a lot. Missing ID for a start

    July 29, 2022
  5. The Sly Dog #

    More like Carl’s bag of cash… at least 2500 pounds with which to buy a house in early 1949??

    July 30, 2022
  6. thedude747 #

    The burrowers are going at hard over at Domes place. Now reportedly Carls address was directly connected to a major prestige car dealership in Melbourne. Specialising in UK and American imports. “Employees of which may have been housed in these flats”

    Remembering Prosper had operated “Prestige Motors” and sold imports. Presumedly this would have required the left hand drives to be converted . A specialist skill that George would have unlikely been capable of. Sounds like a job for an electrical engineer.

    Food for thought but in any case Carl had definite links to the car game , George had like to to Victorian car dealers and specifically imports.

    I think he was in Adelaide to steal a car and that George was his SA contact to provide clean papers and probably addresses of target vehicles. Maybe the Hilman where the ROK got dropped into was the target vehicle and the dead drop.

    Funny to see contributors at Domes putting 2 and 2 together about all this like its never been thought of up until now. But that’s OK at least the energy is finally being spent in the right area.

    July 30, 2022
  7. dude47 #

    If Jess had the bottle to snuff Carl Webb then she certainly had the nerve to handle herself in front of lawson and co when she views the bust. You have to ask yourself why was she so overcome “looked like she was about too faint” when she saw Carls bust. A mixture of recognition and shock.

    July 30, 2022
  8. Clive #

    The biggest question remains unanswered, if Jessie nearly ‘lost it’, viewing the bust, as PL described the scene, is why didn’t the police ask her more questions. I can’t believe that she got away with her replies of ‘No,no,no etc. As Dude states, why was she overcome? Was it because she (1) recognised the face or, (2) Relieved that the face was unknown to her?

    July 31, 2022
  9. Clive #

    That’s very true, but Feltus,whilst not getting any admissions etc from Jessie, knew by instinct, that she wasn’t being honest with him. I’m sure that Dude is correct, Carl joined up with Prosper in an enterprising car scheme. Perhaps Carl didn’t pull his ‘weight’. so to speak (cranky(?), Prosper had enough and invited Carl for dinner, with a little ‘extra ingredient’ from cook Jessie? Speculation I know, but….

    July 31, 2022
  10. dude47 #

    Im suggesting Prosper ran his own legitimate business buying and selling cars and did some shady deals on the side.

    This is not speculation but just plain fact as spelled out in court documents associated with the PT V Daphne Page case and his arrest in WA .

    Im suggesting that Prosper was more of a fence/ fixer than an actual car theif.

    Given Carl was using public transport Id suggest its possible he wasn’t here to sell a car but to acquire one and one.

    July 31, 2022
  11. dude47 #

    What you suggest is possible Clive it sounds like a cool and calculated act from a mastermind criminal.
    For mine IF Prosper was responsible my gut leans more to it being an act of desperation. Maybe he was cornered or given an ultimatum. Maybe he was desperate for something Carl had.

    There’s a lot of drama queen behaviour associated with Proper along with a hint of desperation around that time and he was small time. I say this based on the reports of his arrest in WA where he was “threatening take his own life ” when the cops showed up. Even his small adds reek of desperation. “WANTED URGENTLY” “WANTED DESPERATELY” Ergo if he took out Carl he was cornered or desperate.

    Webb seems somewhat similar to PT. “would get sullen with everybody when he looses at cards”. Selling tennis rackets and pool cues in small adds for pocket change.

    I think he too was part legit part dodgy rather than a full time criminal. Described as a bit of a loner. Maybe using his skills for a little extra coin on the side. Someone may say “you want some Spedo’s wound back? I know a guy who knows a guy who can get that done” That guy was probably Carl. Anonymous , came and went after hours , cash no questions.

    July 31, 2022
  12. Webb was dumped just up the road from Moseley Street. Prosper had a bunch of cars at his disposal and could have driven him miles away. How do we figure that out?

    July 31, 2022
  13. Clive #

    Good question, you would have thought that Prosper would have dumped the body as far as possible from Moseley St. Plenty of places in the Adelaide Hills for example. Or, possibly Prosper was just glad to dump it anywhere, even if it was near his own doorstep.

    July 31, 2022
    • Maybe Prosper had nothing to do with it, or Harkness,

      July 31, 2022
  14. dude47 #

    Personally I have never been particularly invested in the idea that Prosper or Jess killed our man. Its good conversation but I just don’t see Proper as killer and especially not Jess. It may be the case that Proper was cornered and made a bad decision and Jess only realised the enormity of Propers actions whence viewed the bust.

    August 1, 2022
  15. Perhaps you could view the dumping of his body as a message for someone, this might also explain the apparently careless disposal of the book in the knowledge that when it was discovered PT’s phone number would be found and he would be implicated. Now who in Adelaide in 1948 would have had such a ruthless business approach?

    August 1, 2022
  16. Clive #

    No phone number on the Rubaiyat=no tracing back to PT so, what if PT’s number was added to the Rubaiyat, after the TS slip had been torn out, I was going to suggest Daphne Page had a motive, but on second thoughts, not little Daphne.

    August 1, 2022
  17. Like everybody else, I’m hanging for a pic of CW … then we might know more about him.

    August 1, 2022
    • Dude47 #

      Have you seen the photo of his brother over at domes place ? Definitely a resemblance and leaves me 100 % satisfied that Carl Webb is our man

      August 1, 2022
      • Agreed … but how the ***** did he end up with braised knuckles, no ID, possibly murdered, the TS slip in his fob pocket, the book it was torn from dumped nearby, the woman who appeared to know him living near to where his body was found, the knowledge that he didn’t die where he was found?
        Anyone who thinks that this is all over is living on another planet.

        August 1, 2022
  18. dude47 #

    Yep , it’s not the end , it’s not the beginning of the end but it may be the end of the beggining.

    August 2, 2022
  19. dude47 #

    BTW is anyone aware if there is any word from GC on the Carl Webb development?
    He doesn’t like me so I don’t get on his site. Told me years ago that the idea that SM was anything but a spy was nonsense and snubbed me. It was heart breaking stuff. Wondering how he feels now that he realised he’s spent a decade with one eye down his microscope looking a pigments of his vivid imagination.

    August 2, 2022
  20. Clive #

    Didn’t the SM have a high level of Lead in his hair? Another problem to resolve.

    August 2, 2022

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