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Meet All The Webbs – or how many is too many coincidences?

I’ve just been told by Guzz Rating that this blog is far too entertaining for me to rest up – then there was this from dude47 .. Well I hope PB does re engage but time will tell. He’s got couple of screws loose the old hippy but he’s entertaining.

Fair enough —  then let me entertain you some more.

Guzz Rating (figure that out) reminded me of an enquiry made earlier about another Webb found dead on Somerton Beach and thanks to GC I can tell you Guzz, your word for such a coincidence ‘ synchronicity ‘ doesn’t come anywhere near it. As a matter of fact what follows is almost too good to be true, in fact it’s almost spacey!*

4 January 1941

“The body of Frederick Alexander Webb, storekeeper of Moseley street Glenelg was washed up on Somerton Beach today. A post-mortem examination to determine the cause of death is being held this afternoon.

Webb left home at 6.45 p.m. yesterday to attend his place of business. He was not seen again. He only recently went into business at Glenelg. The body was fully clad when discovered early this morning.” Trove.

  • UPDATE: Medical evidence of the use and effect of CERTAIN DRUGS was given in the Coroner’s Court this afternoon (17 June 1941) at an inquest into the death of Frederick Alexander Webb, storekeeper of Moseley Street Glenelg. An analysis of his stomach had disclosed the presence of 2.8 grains of BARBITURIC ACID. This drug was precribed as a sedative for those who suffered from sleeplessness.


1st December 1948

The body of Charles Carl Webb, previously known as The Somerton Man was found on Somerton Beach this morning by a couple of jockeys exercising their horses. A book thought to belong to him had a Moseley street phone number written on the back cover.

  • UPDATE: Charles Carl Webb was known to have attempted suicide when he once ingested about 40 PHENOBARBITAL tablets


13 June 1949

George Webb collapsed and died when about to enter Adelaide Oval to see Norwood play West Adelaide on Monday, 13 June, 1949.  He was 83 years of age when he died and lived at Salop St, Beulah Park.” Trove.

  • UPDATE: It is not known if there was an inquest into the death of George Webb and as a result we don’t know if any barbiturates were found in his body, but we live in hope.


14 June 1949

The burial service of Charles Carl Webb was carried out by Captain E. J. Webb of the Salvation Army.

As a note: the bodies of Charles Carl Webb and George Webb were housed in the Adelaide morgue at the same time, something we’re sure Captain E.J. Webb was made aware of otherwise we may have had the situation where one Webb mixed up another Webb with the original Webb and consequently buried the wrong Webb.


All of which reminds us of that June 8 entry in Paul Lawson’s work diary: Ring from Constable Durham re’ disposal of original body.


Copy of PL’s work diary page courtesy of Gordon Cramer


*Header pic is a recent image taken by the James Webb Space Telescope.

32 Comments Post a comment
  1. thedude747 #

    Thats one hell of a tangled Webb PB. What does it all mean?
    PS Welcome back!

    January 14, 2023
    • Couldn’t stay away from you mob … like Jeff Fenech used to say, ‘I luv youse all ..’

      January 14, 2023
  2. dude47 #

    Did anyone find out the outcome of Fredrick Webbs post mortem?

    January 14, 2023
  3. Clive #

    Possible shark bite/drug usage-See ‘News (Adelaide)’ 17 Jun 1941 Page 3 & “The Advertiser” 20 Jun 1941 Page 6. Trove: Webb & Webb

    January 15, 2023
  4. So now we have two Webb’s found dead on the same beach and both with a history of barbiturate consumption. Clive, this is crazy stuff, thanks. Post is updated.

    January 15, 2023
  5. dude47 #

    And Freds brother was Leonard CHARLES Webb !!!

    Ive mentioned before that there was a merchant ship docked in Freo at the same time Carl was supposedly living in Cottesloe (a few clicks down from Freo) named the “Charles Zachary Webb”

    Ive never met a Charles Webb in my life yet we had 2 Charles Webbs in one family a boat called Charles Webb, another dead Webb on the same beach with a brother name CHARLES FUCKING WEBB !!

    January 15, 2023
  6. Guzz Rating #

    Peter, I’m glad you came to your senses and decided to continue with this excellent blog.
    (It saves me having to leave a horses head in your bed.)
    As for Somerton Beach and Moseley St being a high risk place if you are unfortunate enough to have “Webb” as a surname, I don’t even know where to start.
    Synchronicity is the only word I can think of that can describe it. I have a book laying about the house somewhere that has a chapter devoted to synchronicity and the Somerton Beach/Webb thing would fit right in there. “Spacey”, maybe. “Spooky”, definitely.

    January 15, 2023
  7. Thanks Guzz, appreciated .. and I never mentioned, did I, that as a callow youth living in Byron Bay and being disconcerted by the numerous throngs of Queenslanders who infested the surf on weekends, a couple of us who had work in the local slaughterhouse at the time took the liberty of appropriating a couple of slinks – being unborn and decomposed calves stripped from their dead mothers wombs – and distributed them around the Q’landers’ campsite in the dead of night.
    How they fled, never to return.

    January 15, 2023
    • Guzz Rating #

      @Pete…Chuckle. Nothing like having a good, old fashion, misguided youth-hood! 🙂

      January 15, 2023
  8. Guzz Rating #

    Clive… thanks for posting those articles.
    So, somehow, this fully clothed man found himself in the sea.
    According to the first article, 2.8 grains is nowhere near the 5-10 grains that someone would use to help them with insomnia.
    I suppose that kinda rules out that he had gone for an evening stroll on the jetty, fell asleep and tumbled in.
    He had extensive injuries but was found to have drowned? Sadly, the info in the article on the post mortem is all too vague.
    1. Where were the injuries?
    2.Could he have been attacked first then pushed into sea and drowned, or did he simply fall in, himself, drowned, then a shark had a nibble?

    Peter…getting back to “synchronicity”…it seems that it’s not enough to be called Webb and end up dead on Somerton Beach…it has to be a somewhat bizarre death, too.

    Oh well, it’s all lost to history. (I s’pose no-one checked his pockets for a copy of that bleedin’ book…or if he was the spitting image of Alf Boxall 🙂

    January 15, 2023
    • a lurker #

      It’s in one of the articles:
      “Dr S. Krantz. of North Terrace said that he had formed
      the opinion that death was due to drowning. There were
      extensive wounds on the right arm which could have been
      caused by a shark. In the body were found 2.8 grains of a
      drug group which included veronal. The actual dose
      was five grains although the body could absorb
      quantities of the drug and leave no trace.”

      Presumably doc thought the wound was post-mortem (less bleeding) and not important (I’m not a medico, but not sure how you tell how much bleeding whem the body’s in water, but presumably there’s signs at the wound itself). Perhaps even f it wasn’t post-mortem the doc figured it was non-lethal and therefore not really relevant.
      I think you can trust the quack on “Drowning” being the cause, although what role anti-depressants might play is anyone’s bet.

      January 16, 2023
  9. Clive #

    Pete, date was 4 June! Interesting that he was cremated on 5 June at West Terrace Cemetery.

    January 15, 2023
    • a lurker #

      Clive where do you get the cremation record? I can’t imagine they’d turn around a body that they did an autopsy so quick

      January 16, 2023
  10. Clive #

    a lurker: I can’t either, my suspicious mind thinks they were trying to cover something up? “The Advertiser” 6 Jun 1941 Page 12 Funeral Notices. On TROVE as Alexander Webb%2C%20 funeral

    January 16, 2023
    • a lurker #

      yeah, that seems crazy that could even be organised (unless they had drive-through cremations).
      3rd June – Dies
      4th June – Body discovered and autopsy
      5th June (afternoon) cremated.

      Although that said, I notice other notices that day (Lawson, Johnstone) are just as efficient – so maybe it’s not quite that strange (although both of them appear to have been fairly expected non-suspicious deaths).

      January 20, 2023
    • a lurker #

      There is a service record for him on the NAA that has been digitised (and something else that hasn’t (I think pay files).
      Father: Walter James WEBB – listed at 2 Notrth Adelaide addresses (Jeffcott St and Kingston Tce).
      Also address elsewhere given as ‘PALMER’ (crossed out and replaced with what appears to be MANNUM (which is a bigger town 15km from Palmer).
      Mother: MA

      AIF record:

      January 20, 2023
  11. dude47 #

    So is there anything in this Fred connection or are we just looking another SM coincidence?

    January 16, 2023
  12. Coincidence …. Could only be. So, what’s next?

    January 16, 2023
  13. dude47 #

    Well for me its all about what happened to Carl post Bromby st

    BUT I am a believer that Carl Webb beyond reasonable doubt is SM. Ergo my curiosity lies there.

    Did he really go to WA if so when ? where did he work post 47? , was he the nitkeeper ? Was he connected to PT ? Was he connected to Jess.? Given they were all in Melbourne around the same time it was certainly geographically possible.

    Then there’s Doff and the abuse claims, what’s to be made of that? Was she a black widow as CF hinted? sounded to me like she may have had more.

    January 16, 2023
    • What beats me is if both Jess and PT knew of his death and were (partly) responsible for dumping the body, then why leave it so close to home? PT was smart enough to know that would have been a dumb decision so you could ask if he knew anything about it … and that being the case, what was the possibility he was set up? Then given the amount of cash he was handling at the time and knowing some police were susceptible to bribes …. know what I mean? That investigation was so poor, so inexpert, so clueless a man has to wonder.

      January 16, 2023
  14. dude47 #

    Prosper is described in the missing pieces doco by a family friend in pretty unflattering terms. According to this source his career deteriorated to the point where he was running about going to garage sales buying and selling second hand crap , push bikes etc.
    From memory he also had a poor service record in the ADF and was a possible malingerer and if I remember rightly didn’t he end up getting a medical discharge?.
    My point being I don’t think PT was a rocket scientist and was probably a bit on the lazy side. True crime stories are littered with tales of dumb crims bringing themselves unstuck. The famous Lesbian Vampire killers got caught because the main offender left her wallet a few feet from the victims body ! Nice one genius!

    Details of PTs WA arrest paint a picture of a pretty dim witted plan which came unstuck in a matter of hours and with clear trail leading straight back to PT.

    He basically outs himself in open court as a black marketeer in the Daphne Page case.
    So it wouldn’t surprise me if PT figured Somerton beach was far enough from Mosley st.

    January 16, 2023
  15. Fair enough, though you might wonder who Jess was protecting when she clamped up when viewing the bust, herself or Prosper. What are your thoughts on that dude, you’ve been around since day 1.

    January 16, 2023
  16. dude47 #

    One has to apply logic in understanding why was she shocked to the point where observers thought she was going to faint?

    There’s only 3 possibilities.

    1. She didn’t recognise him.. is that going to put her into shock? No

    2. She knew all along who he was before she even arrived. is that going to send her into shock? unlikely

    3. She went willingly assuming she wouldn’t recognise him until she eyeballed the bust and realised she did. is that going to send her into shock ? Very likely

    My conclusion is her shock was the result of the surprise/ realisation that she did know him AND she “clamped up” because of the realisation that someone close to her was very possibly responsible. Its the only way it make sense IMHO

    January 16, 2023
    • Nothing humble about an opinion dude .. and the unspoken inference is that Webb may have arrived in Adelaide with a bagffull of his brother-in-law’s clobber to involve himself into a bit of local mischief much to the local plod’s discomfort with their easy going relationship with the moneyed-up Adelaide criminal underbelly. Or am I mistaken in believing that the Adelaide police were of a purer variety than any other police force in this country?

      January 16, 2023
  17. dude47 #

    In comparison to their interstate counterparts PB I reckon they were probably cleaner but less competent.

    January 17, 2023
  18. Clive #

    Surely Jessie must have seen the SM’s photos in the newspapers/heard neighbours gossiping? When did Prosper suddenly become a man with money, was it an inheritance? A few “backhanders” to certain individuals in the police force may have been all it took to ensure the investigation hit enough “roadblocks”

    January 17, 2023
    • a lurker #

      If you mean from FA, his will is all to his wife Alice (it’s a very short document).
      Google’s OCR or equivalent (haven’t checkjed how accurate it is):

      BE IT KNOWN that on the
      the Twenty. Church day of
      1941 the last will
      and testament (a copy where of is hereunder written) of Frederick Alexander Webb formerly of Morgan in the State of South Australia but late of Glenelg in the said State Store Manager deceased who died at Glenelg aforesaid on the 3rd day of June 1941 was proved and registered in the Supreme Court of South Australia and that administration of the estate of the said deceased was granted by the aforesaid Court to BAGOTIS EXECUTOR AND TRUSTEE COMPANY LIMITED whose registered office is situate at Number 170 North Terrace Adelaide in the said State, the sole executor therein
      GIVEN at Adelaide under the seal of the Supreme Court of South Australia.
      (4.5) J.B. McBryde
      State of South Australia Store Manager
      (1) I REVOKE all other Wills and testamentary dispositions by me heretofore made
      I APPOINT BAGOT’S EXECUTOR AND TRUSTEE COMPANY LIMITED of Adelaide in the said State (hereinafter referred to as “my trustees”) to be Executor and Trustee
      of this my Will
      (3) I DIRECT my trustees to pay all my just debts funeral and testamentary expenses as soon as conveniently may be after my decease and after payment of all my just debts funeral and testamentary expenses as aforesaid I GIVE DEVISE AND BEQUEATH the whole of my real and personal Estate to my wife ALICE WEBB for her
      own use and benefit absolutely
      IN WITNESS where of I the said FREDERICK ALEXANDER WEBB have to this my last Will and Testament set my hand this 3rd day of December in the year One thousand nine hundred
      and twenty nine
      SIGNED by the said FREDERICK ALEXANDER WEBB The testator as and for his last WIII and Testament in the presence of us both present at the same time who at his request in his presence and in the presence of each other have here- unto subscribed our names as witnesses)
      E.M. Stevens
      Store Assistant Morgan.
      B. Reynolds
      Store Assistant

      January 20, 2023
  19. We know there was plenty of cross-border trade in stolen cars, what isn’t known if any police were involved. I’d be looking at Qld, NSW and Vicco in particular, knowing PT worked there before leaving for Adelaide. Apparently interstate rego checks weren’t or couldn’t be done back in the day.

    January 17, 2023
  20. dude47 #

    PB has pointed to PTs adds seeking a partner and a workshop and he appeared cashed up at the time. The small adds leave a very odd trail. He appears flush at one point and dead broke the next. One minute he’s offering cash for a house next he’s trying to make a fast buck as an illegal cabby.

    January 17, 2023
    • Multiply 1948 pounds by about 32 for their equivalent today and 1500 turns into 48,000

      January 17, 2023
  21. a lurker #

    Can’t remember if it was here or at dome’s place someone was asking about where abouts on Moseley early Webb lived.
    In the link Clive posted to there’s a death notice that suggests 10 Kent St Glenelg (off Moseley). About 950m from 90A Moseley.
    Also seems FA Webb was originally from Morgan. Does that ring a bell from a Mangnoson perspective?

    January 20, 2023
  22. dude47 #

    Yep I got Kent st just off Mosley.

    January 20, 2023

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