Thursday, 17 September 2020



External Affairs diagram of the Wake network

'Bob Wake was a fixer, if you had a problem he would fix it for you, one way or another'...

Commander Rupert Long...

A few posts ago, I mentioned that there was another network in place at the External Affairs Department run by Evatt. In it, you can see an intricate series of communications links spanning the communist party, Government ministers, and senior public servants, Military intelligence and the man, Bob Wake. There's more than one NKVD agent shown and if we extend this diagram we would include Wally Clayton with a direct link to Wake and Alfred Hughes with a direct link to Clayton.

Bob Wake and Doug McLellan ASIO surveilance photograph

Bob Wake in hat and suit, jovial

The photo on the left is of a jovial Bob Wake, on the right is an ASIO surveillance photo taken in 1955, he is talking to a politician, Douglas McLellan, a man who was part of a small group including Bob who met regularly in Doc. Evatt's office. Dalziel, NKVD agent, was also a member. 

The photograph on the right was taken by ASIO during Operation Boomerang which was focused on Wake. See ASIO files NAA.

The image on the left was taken in 1948 when, according to ASIO records, Bob was at the peak of his influence. See NAA files BC6759670.

So we have on the left the man with a suit and a hat? The reference to the man watching the Somerton Man that night was too hard to resist. I would have thought that Bob 'Hereward' Wake was far to canny a man to get that physically close to a killing although, at the time he wasn't under suspicion as such, he was in Military Intelligence I believe.

Robert Bird Wake was ex Army, ex CIB and ex ASIO.  He was forced to resign from ASIO by the then Director-General, Robert Spry, Spry was appointed in June 1950 and Wake went in September 1950. You would be forgiven for asking why that should be so.

It would take far more than the space available in a single blog post to relate to you the extensive and deeply concerning history of Bob Wake.

From the outset when he first joined the staff of Commander Rupert Long way back in 1918, he was under suspicion, he faked a previous military history with the British Imperial Force on an application to join the Australian military. 

Wake was to later join the Militia ahead of WW2 where he rapidly gained promotion from Lieutenant to Acting Major in Military Intelligence.


He was a skilled networker and knew how to manipulate and control others. Whilst there are many tales about Wake, the first serious implication was in relation the disappearance of Marjorie Norval, she was a secretary to a well known Politician in Queensland where Bob was then posted. She had become pregnant and was treated by a local Doctor, John 'Jappy' Ross. It was Wake who saw to it that Jappy Ross was suddenly whisked away to the Loveday Internment camp during the investigation of Marjorie's' disappearance.

There followed a series of incidents when Bob tried to spy first on the Americans then the British then Australian Miltary intelligence including trying to tap Commander Long's telephone. All his efforts failed.

One of the many ways that he would entrap unsuspecting victims was to organise female company, sometimes prostitutes, and sometimes CPA members were targets and at other times politicians or military officers..

There was another 'suicide' which occurred in 1855, a journalist by the name of Peter Brown Gruening, Police had found him in his car and apparently, he had gassed himself but there were those who were not happy with that finding.

This is a brief summation, there is, as pointed out earlier, a lot more information on which this post is based. It is all from verifiable sources including historical texts and ASIO files. 

The rivalries between the various Australian Intelligence and Security agencies were hard fought battles, politicians and ministers alike made full use of their power to influence the actions of the agencies and the onverse was also true. As a consequence, the state of National Security in Australia in those early Cold War years was a total disaster.

(NOTE: Hollis was not the first man from the UK Security services to visit Australia to express deep concerns, he was preceded by a Colonel JC Mawhood. That visit occurred in 1940 via a specific mission known as Mission 104. His prime focus was the setting up of two of Australia's most famous wartime Independent Companies, M Special forces and Z Special forces. His second role was to persuade the Australian Government to set up an independent civilian security organisation. Whilst the first part of his mission was an outstanding success, the second part was not. In fact even a part of that first mission became the subject of a bitter battle between the Army and the Navy, that was FERDINAND, the operational code name for the Coastwatchers/ M Special forces.)

It was against this background of an escalation of tensions between East and West, concerns of a communist takeover in Australia and absolute turmoil within the Nation's security services, that the Somerton Man was found dead on a South Australian beach. A State that contained some of Australia's most advanced weapons development facilities with an atoic testing ground underway and a rocket range, WOOMERA, well under construction. A State where Russian agents were known to be operational and with very active Communist Party chapters.

The finding of hidden codes, microcode, steganography or whatever you want to call it, within both the Somerton Man code page and the Boxall copy of the Rubaiyat which we know was shared between Alf and Jess, set the direction. This was an espionage case, the man was assassinated, Alf and Jess were somehow involved and the likelihood is that a senior Australian Intelligence man was in the frame.

So, under what circumstances could this have happened? Could it be that Bob Wake was doing some sort of deal with the CPA and the Russians?  Could it be that Bob wielded influence over the SA Police and certain politicians? Who was he protecting?

This explains the cover-up that has lasted for 72 years.

There is no doubt that this was an espionage case and that some very senior people were involved, as a consequence of whatever had occurred prior to November 30th, the Somerton Man was made to pay 'one way or another'. And the reason for the cover-up is now exposed...


Monday, 14 September 2020



PeteDavo has a deserved reputation for finding quality information and this latest is no exception. The man, communist Walter Ashton, disappeared from NZ at the same time that a large sum of money went missing from his organisation. According to the records Pete has been able to find, the man went missing in April 1948 and as you will see, the article above is dated 25th September 1948. 

The article states that he was smuggled out aboard a ship to Australia which may tie into some large transactions at an Australian Bank.

As most will know, I have my views on the identity of the Somerton Man but that does not mean we should stop looking. 

Even in this case, the issue of a photograph has arisen, this time we have a total absence of a photograph of any kind at least for now. What we do have though is a man going missing with communist party funds within the right time frame.

Here' a photo found by PeteDavo, this man may be related to our missing Walter Ashton, his name is Matthew Walter Ashton, he passed away in 1922. Our Walter Ashton was born in 1907:

A number of articles mentioning the disappearance of Walter have been uncovered, still no sign of a photograph but there is a mention of him being seen in Australia.

Keep up the great work PeteDavo, this is a quality lead, and here's hoping the additional searching that I know you are doing, will turn something up. For the record, there was tentative identification of the widely distributed photograph made by a man who was in prison in NZ at the time and he believed he  recognised him. Just maybe a Walter Ashton photo will turn up!


Sunday, 13 September 2020



There was always a Game Plan for Soviet Expansion and it included Australia, right down to building a duplicate of South Australia's Woomera rocket range at Kapustin Yar inland from Odesa.

It's a matter of record.

The Soviets were masters of the long game, sometimes that worked really well for them and sometimes abysmally well, but you better believe that they were avid planners and took everything into account. 

Stalin always regretted his decisions surrounding Barbarosa, that was down to not listening to 2 of his best agents at the time. Sorge actually gave the date of the attack and the number of Divisions involved. Joe listened after that but it didn't stop him refusing to help Sorge out when he was tried for espionage in Japan, the trial ended badly and Sorge was supposedly hanged in a Japanese prison. in 1944. A lesson learned.

This post will show the long history of the Soviet Intelligence Services and the Communist movement in Australia and how it was planned and set out almost from the very beginning with the goal of infiltrating and eventually dominating Australia and other countries in the region by any means, fair or foul.

This post will illustrate that there was a much bigger picture than portrayed by what you might call the 'Popular Version' of the Somerton Man mystery.

But exactly how does this fit into the Somerton Man case? Bear with me and all will be explained. First things first and this story is far from boring.


Look back at the history of the Soviet Union, look right back to the days of the Revolution, often referred to as the 'October Revolution' of 1917. The reality though, is that the Revolution was born of years of repression and had its roots in the Bloody Sunday massacre of January 1905. (Note: There appears to be a 'shift' in the relevant dates in some publications, that is due to the change from the Julian Calendar to the Gregorian or New Version. The effect of this was to add 13 days to the originally quoted date thus October 26th, 1917 became November 8th 1917.)

It didn't take long for news of this uprising to travel to every part of the world including Australia where, starting in Brisbane, the notion of an uprising quickly took hold such that in late 1918, following the ending of WW1, large gatherings of workers and ex-servicemen started to voice their dissatisfaction with the then ruling parties. This movement culminated on 23rd March 1919, with one such gathering, 1000 people to some accounts, of sympathisers with the Russian cause unfurled 3 large Red Flags. A counter-demonstration by ex-servicemen and members of the Returned Sailors and Soldiers Imperial League, (8000) which resulted in numerous injuries on both sides and 3 horses shot to death. 

For the record, Queensland at the time had a relatively high population of Russian Emigres, some of whom were Bolsheviks and some who were White Russians.

Being banned in Queensland, leaders of the Russian sympathisers moved to Victoria where a speech was given by a Peter Simonoff, a known leader of the cause, resulting in his arrest and subsequent conviction.


It is is likely that the incident in Victoria led to the after formation of the Melbourne Cell described in our previous post, led by Dr. Hirscht Munz but under the instructions of the 'Inostrannyl Otdel' The 5th Directorate of the First Directorate responsible for 'illegals' with illegals being Russian agents who had entered Australia illegally with false identification documents. The Melbourne Cell was in existence from 1927 to 1950, the main coordinators of the entry of Illegals into Australia.


In 1930, the NKVD originally formed at the time of the Revolution was disbanded only to be reformed in July of 1934 and merged with the OGPU (Secret Police) keeping it's original role of policing and guarding labour camps and extending its operations to include that of internal security and the work of the Secret Police. Stalin was to use this organisation to carry out his Great Purges and, impressed by its performance, he was to use them in his quest for domination. As you will read, they also played a lead role in the infiltration of the Spanish Socialist Government of the day.

It was 1934 Stalin's Great Purges really got underway, terrorizing Russians and exercising bitter retribution amongst the leadership, leading to the assassination of Stalin's main opponent, Leon Trotsky (Lev Bronstein) in Mexico. One failed attempt to kill Trotsky by a group of gunmen led by Russian agents was followed by his eventual murder with an ice pick by one of those agents, Trotsky was to die of his wounds. The assassin, Ramon Mercader was a Spanish Communist and an NKVD agent, he served 20 years in a Mexican prison for the crime.


How it relates to Australia..

Within this same time frame of the 1930s, around 1936 in fact, at a time when the Soviets had successfully infiltrated the Left wing Socialist forces and leadership in Spain, hundreds if not thousands of volunteers for the International Brigades from France, Britain, Germany, and the US that fought in the Spanish Civil War handed in their Passports for 'safekeeping' at the Russian Communist-run recruiting offices in France. The most 'suitable' passports were to find their way to Moscow where the details were kept but the photographs were swapped as more Soviet agents took on the original owner's identities. As for those unfortunate original owners, they apparently perished in the battles of the war.

It was one of those passports supposedly held for safekeeping by the Russians that was used in 1939 by the man who assassinated Leon Trotsky, Ramon Mercader only the name he used was that of Franc Jackson a Canadian who had been 'killed' in the Spanish Civil War.

Behind the Trotsky, assassination were two senior Russian NKVD men. Pavel Sudoplatov and Nahum Eitingon. Eithingon like Sudaplatove had experience in the sourcing and planting of Soviet 'illegals'.  Eitingon himself was an 'illegal' landing in the US in 1930. Importantly, Eitingon initially organised the assassination from an office in New York, the office was that of AMTORG, the same organisation, and location of Pavel Fedosimov. AMTORG was used as a front for Soviet communications centres.

This war was fought by the Left using guns, tanks, ammunition and training supplied by the Soviets, a monetary price was ultimately 'paid' to Russia amounting to $500,000,000 worth of gold bullion sent by the Spanish Government to Russia for 'Safekeeping'. The 'transaction' was organised and executed by Aleksandr Orlov, an NKVD agent who was to become a rather high profile defector to the US. For the record the shipment of gold was placed on 4 different ships, each bound for the port of Odesa, that's a name that rings more than a few bells.

Importantly, you should note that the NKVD having infiltrated the Spanish Socialist Government eventually took full control of the Spanish Secret Service. In short, they had a defined method of operation, one which was being copied across to their efforts in Australia..

Just how many of the 'illegals', whose passports were taken, found their way to Australia we may never know but it can be safely said that some most certainly did. It is also known that a prominent French Communist and NKVD agent, Andre Marty, personally signed the death warrants of more than 500 International Brigade members who were suspected of being Trotskyists. Ernest Hemmingway once wrote of Marty as being 'Crazy as a bed bug, he has a mania for shooting people..'


In the late 1930s a number of these Russian 'mobile groups' scoured Europe looking for those people who had been named as suspected enemies of Stalin and when found, they were killed irrespective of which country they were found in. The NKVD had a long track record of dealing with enemies of the state. Most commonly when assassinations were carried out on foreign countries, especially post WW2, poison was the preferred method. Within the Soviet home territory, shooting was the most expedient and preferred method.


This then paints part of the bigger picture, we have provided detail that shows the nature of the NKVD and Soviet intelligence methods in the times leading up to and including the early 1940s. They were experts at many things but most especially in two fields, assassinations and setting up documents and stories for 'illegals' so that their agents could secretly enter foreign countries and carry out espionage and spying more effectively. We know for a fact that for an illegal to break the rules meant certain death.

But what of the NKVD organisation in Australia? In Part 2 of this post we will examine in detail the networks and the people who spied on Australia and the methods they used.

For now, here's a hint of what you might expect:

There was one man who sat in the position indicated, his name might surprise you...


Saturday, 5 September 2020


SOVIET/CPA NETWORKS (1927 to 1950) 


The Soviets and the Communist Party of Australia worked hand in glove, between them they had extensive and sophisticated networks of agents, illegals (operating under false IDs), and handlers. These networks reached into every State and Territory in Australia via a vast array of party chapters and 'satellite' organisations.

In all, it is estimated that there were in excess of 30000 card-carrying members and supporters all feeding back into the one central organisation controlled directly by the Soviets.

You might ask what this has to do with the Somerton Man case. It might be that somewhere amongst these Soviet Intelligence networks we will discover a name that can be associated with either Alf Boxall or Jess.

From that follows, you will see that there was a strong network that had existed in Melbourne, Victoria from the late 1920s. This was Jess's home town. The diagrams only show those at the top of the CPA tree in that State, beneath them lay numerous CPA chapters and satellite organisations. This same structure existed in Sydney and in Adelaide with Sydney being the Headquarters for the CPA and also the location of the Soviet's Intelligence gathering efforts apparatus, the KGB headed by Feodor Nosov.

In an upcoming post will line these Soviet/CPA networks up against the opposing Australian Intelligence networks, and as a result we will get a much clearer picture of what the lived environment was like at the time of the Somerton Man and the probabilities of his being involved in the Espionage field as well as his ultimate death quite possibly at the hands of an assassin.

It is important to note that not all those who had Venona Code names were involved in spying, sometimes they were just people of interest or targets to be worked on.




The chart above like the ones that follow illustrates the construction of the network. It was known as the Clayton-Nosov-Makarov line, and as you can see its focus was intelligence gathering from the CSIRO. To do that Clayton recruited 'ATHLETES', (Spies who worked in various Australian organisations) these were people who were active in their particular roles and in positions where they had regular access to highly sensitive information and which would be of great value to the Soviets.

It is also a fact that there was a level of communication between networks, an example would be Wilbur Chrstiansan asked to communicate with Ric Throssel (Codenamed FERRO from the External Affairs Network) It was Throssel who handed highly sensitive documents that he had brought to Sydney from Canberra to Nosov during August 1945, coincidentally the same timing for Alf Boxall's meet up with Jestyn at the Clifton Gardens Hotel.

Make no mistake, the Soviet's and the CPA by the mid to late 1940s were highly organised and a force to be reckoned with. The CPA had built an enthusiastic following of some 30000 committed supporters who were willing to help fund their subversive efforts. 

The names involved in this first chart are:

1. Legal resident Semen Ivanovich Makarov (VENONA Code Nems: EFIM or SIMON)
2. TASS representative Feodor Andreevich Nosov (VENONA Code name: TEKNIK)
3. CPA organiser, Walter Seddon Clayton (VENONA Code name: KLOD)
4. Radio Astronomer SIRO, Wilbur N Christiansen (VENONA code name: MASTERCRAFTSMAN)
5. Russian Language Teacher, Nina M. Christiansen (VENONA Code name: EVA)
6. Publisher and Author Clement Byrne Christiansen. Husband to Nina (VENONA Code name: CRAB)
7. Entomologist Professor Serje J Paramonov VENONA Code name: SCORPION)

More information on Nina and Clement Christiansen can be found here...

More information on Professor Paramonov can be found here...



 3 out of the 4 structure diagrams contain the name, Walter Seddon Clayton. Not surprising given that he was the Soviet's 'main man' in the Soviet espionage war against Australia.

Wally had an interesting past, not often spoken of is the fact that prior to taking up his spying and roles associated with the activities of the CPA. He was born in 1906 in Christchurch, New Zealand. His first job was as a shop assistant at a sports store and apparently, he worked there until leaving for Australia in 1931 with his new wife. He became involved with the Communist Party during this time in New Zealand

It is thought that he met his wife, Hilda Mary Lane via meetings of the party in New Zeland. Hilda was a singer and had been brought up in a family of Communist sympathisers and was the niece of William Lane of the New Australia colony in Paraguay, a social experiment in Utopian living which was a short-lived effort. Hilda was in fact born in Paraguay in 1906.

Settling first in Prahran, Victoria where he stayed until 1939, Wally and Hilda moved on to Sydney and became heavily involved with the CPA Headquarters with Waly being appointed secretary of the No.2 branch and a full-time organiser of the CPA.

Somewhat surprisingly, despite having a reputation as a humourless fanatic, Wally had written a musical comedy on 1931/32 entitled 'The Southern Star' presumably the production would have starred Hilda who was a singer. Undeterred, Wally tried again this time with a drama, 'The Beachcomber'. That didn't go anywhere either so he stayed with the CPA.

Wally soon came to the notice of the CIB and Military Intelligence who both referred him to the Commonwealth Security Service as it was then known.

Working hard at his job with the CPA took its toll on the Clayton marriage, they separated in 1944 and divorced in 1945. 

Clayton had gained a reputation as a drinker and a philanderer prompting one party member, Jessie Grant, to report him to the CPA. In an interesting ASIO recording dating to 1960, she made the report to a CPA committee mentioning the Soviet's view in the 1940s that he, Wally, was becoming dangerous and unreliable due to his drinking and immoral involvement with women. They mentioned in particular, the 'unpleasant happenings' with one woman. Just who that woman was is as yet unknown. Something to think about. Is Jess Harkness the woman in the 'unpleasant happenings'?

The story is beginning to unfold, the next post will reveal more incredible information on how vital information was passed from a trusted Australian Intelligence man to the Soviets.

 * Extracts with permission, 'The Official History of Asio', 'Traitors and Spies' Dr. John Fahey, NAA: ASIO and Intelligence files.