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ANSWERED on Tue 18 Oct 2011 - 12:32 pm UTC by Phil Answerfinder

Question: John Baird Bryan, sometimes associated with Tyler Kent spy case in World War II

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jnrollberg 

Customer

 18 Oct 2011 01:44 UTCTue 18 Oct 2011 - 1:44 am UTC 

A book claims that American, John Baird Bryan, was jailed in Britain in the late 1930s or early 1940's (before Sept. 1942, when he returned to the U.S.) and was cast out as an undesirable alien. Bryan, a grandson of American politician William Jennings Bryan, was said to have known state secrets related to FDR and Churchill and was killed in 1943 as a result. However, we cannot find primary document information that corroborates any of that. Some broadcasters in the U.S. did call for an investigation into Bryan's death. He had been living in London in 1942 [and longer, we think]at Rowe, White, and Co.at 4 Lloyd's Avenue.  We don't know what R,W,+ Co was.  He was an actor, poet, and writer.  Any primary sources to him would be appreciated.

 

Phil Answerfinder 

Answer

 18 Oct 2011 12:32 UTCTue 18 Oct 2011 - 12:32 pm UTC 

Jnrollberg,

Thank you for your question here on Uclue.

I have found limited information on his activities while in the UK, but what I have found I hope is of interest.

He was using the name John Baird Bryan by 1922, but I have also looked the aliases of John Bryan, John Owen, John Baird Owen and Bryan Leavitt.

He arrived in the UK on 13 November 1936. According to the ship’s manifest he described himself as author and actor. The address given was  c/o Thomas Cook (which you may know, is a travel company).

I cannot find any definite reference to his activities in the UK. I have tried many databases, including the telephone directories, and several newspaper archives. There is, however, references on one newspaper archive which could be checked. Unfortunately, because it is a subscription site I cannot access it. A search on
http://www.ukpressonline.co.uk/ukpressonline/
reveals hits on a “John Bryan” for the period 1936 – 1944 in the Daily Mirror, Daily Express, Yorkshire Post, and Action.

The name appears across three of the titles for 15 January 1941, but I think this can be eliminated as the 'Scotsman' archive shows this may refer to the award of medals.
 
The other references may be worth investigating, I will leave that with you to decide. The site’s pricing policy is confusing and cost depend on the titles you are interested in.

Bryan arrived back in the US on 9 September 1942 on the S.S. Hilary which sailed from Scotland. The manifest shows him as John B. Bryan. Address in US: The Cedars, Alderson. W. VA. Note, he is shown as a third-class passenger. Does this indicate he had fallen on hard times, or as deported person the passage was paid by the UK government?

Also on the manifest is Ian Ross MacFarlane, first-class passenger, who disembarked at Halifax. Address in US: Braddock Heights. MD. Their meeting is mentioned in Bryan Clough’s book State Secrets: The Kent-Wolkoff Affair. So this corroborates that part of the story that they were on the same ship.
http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=mzyN9hHe-MUC

Both these manifests can be found on Ancestry.com, a subscription website.
http://www.ancestry.com

As for Rowe White. Row White and Company Limited, 4 Lloyd’s Avenue, London, controlled British investments in tea growing plantations in India. Listed as  merchants and tea company secretaries, the company was founded in 1890, and was registered as a limited company in 1906. Telephone number in 1941 was Royal 3341
Source: Google Books including : Southern India: its history, people, commerce, and industrial resources
http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=8WNEcgMr11kC&pg=PA574&dq=of+Rowe,+White+%26+Company&hl=en&ei=OFidTtipNMa28QO45Z2BCQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CDgQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=of%20Rowe%2C%20White%20%26%20Company&f=false

In case it comes up at a later stage, one director of the company in 1943 was Mr. Henry Victor Russill
Source: London Gazette
http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/36260/pages/5151
The chairman was David Erroll Sinclair
Source: Times Obituary, Jan 15, 1944.

What Bryan’s connection was to the tea company, I cannot ascertain.
 
I speculate that if Bryan did meet Tyler Kent, then it may have been in prison. Further off-line research into this is hampered by the need for confirmation that Bryan did indeed go to prison and where and when convicted.

I believe I have exhausted the on-line UK archives for the period, but my fellow researchers never surprise me and may pop-up with something else.

Do not hesitate to ask for clarification of any part of this research.

Phil
answerfinder

 

jnrollberg 

Customer

 18 Oct 2011 22:19 UTCTue 18 Oct 2011 - 10:19 pm UTC 

Phil - We sincerely appreciate your work in our behalf in your answer.

I signed up for the UK newspaper web site, but was unable to find a way to put in payment information, as it said to 'hover the mouse' over that area to do so. But when we hovered the mouse, nothing happened,so we don't have access to that yet.

Regarding the third class passage, one book said that JBB had flown from UK, but had had to land in Nova Scotia, catching the ship. However, the manifest you reference didn't seem to indicate that and we don't know if passenger air records are available in Britain for 1942.  On the other hand, if he did have to board the ship because of a travel emergency, maybe third class was all that was available. Odd !

Since he'd been a writer and actor, we have no idea what the tea company associations mean. But thanks for that information.

 

Phil Answerfinder 

Researcher

 19 Oct 2011 09:54 UTCWed 19 Oct 2011 - 9:54 am UTC 

>>passenger air records are available in Britain for 1942.

I not aware of any. I've searched The National Archives but cannot find any reference to them. I note that the Ancestry records for post-war entry into the States do include arrivals by air, but not during the war.

You could inquire at the British Airways Heritage Collection, the email link is at the bottom of this page. They may be able to confirm if the records are still in existence and where they are.
http://www.britishairways.com/travel/museum-collection/public/en_gb
British Airways took over from British Overseas Airways Corporation which started the first transatlantic service in 1940.

Sorry to hear the UKpress site is not working properly, but I now understand you may have received information on some of the articles in that archive relating to the publication 'Action'.

Phil
answerfinder

 

myoarin 

User

 19 Oct 2011 11:02 UTCWed 19 Oct 2011 - 11:02 am UTC 

Two speculative comments: 

I wonder if this is the "SS Hilary"  - more correctly at that date: "HMS Hilary": 
http://www.enotes.com/topic/HMS_Hilary_%281931%29

Even if it were another vessel, traveling first class would have put him among a smaller group of passengers, seated for meals with an even smaller group, who would have  assumed that they were "equals" for the journey and would have expected more exchange of personal information:  "What do you do?"  "Why are you traveling during the war to the States?"  "Do you know so-and-so? etc.
In second or third class, among a larger and more diversified group, this shipboard camaraderie could be more easily avoided, answered with obfuscating information. (Yes, I have traveled on ships with three classes  - 3rd class, occasional guest in 1st class.)

I wonder if the Row White address was just a mail drop. It seems likely that such a firm might (like Thomas Cook) provide such a service to employees and not ask questions about others who picked up mail delivered to 4 Lloyd's Avenue.  If so, a bit devious of Bryan to use the address, but it seems that he was a bit devious.

Myoarin

 

jnrollberg 

Customer

 19 Oct 2011 12:52 UTCWed 19 Oct 2011 - 12:52 pm UTC 

Dear Phil and Myoarin: Thank you for kindly providing both the information
and the informed speculation.

John Baird Bryan had lived in the UK as a child with his mother and step-father, Major Reginald Altham Owen, who was born in Ceylon, India, and who died in The States after World War I.  In 1901, Owen had lived in Woolwich, but that was before John as born.   We are wondering if maybe there is some kind of Owen connection to the tea company, but we haven't been able to discern that online, and that is purely speculative.

The notion that Bryan was killed because of what he knew is becoming more peculiar to us as we receive documents about his life from college and so on. He was a dedicated artiste, so much so that he often didn't attend classes and wouldn't participate in social activities even when encouraged to do so by college personnel.  Then, he went into the mountains of Kentucky on his own to work on a biography of his grandfather, William Jennings Bryan, for a time. He was, it seems, a loner. The loner part might be great for undercover work, but the flakiness as regards when he was moved to do something and when he wanted to work on his art might make undercover work problematic.  Or not.

His NYC autopsy said he was malnourished, being 5'9" and weighing 120 pounds. He had only been back from the U.K. three months when he died of barbiturate poisoning. If he was in jail before coming back to America, maybe he hadn't eaten very much.  In his suicide note to his sister, if it can be called a suicide note,he mentioned that a taxi with no lights or horn had hit him in the streets and had knocked him down a week earlier.

The only books we can find online about him don't contain primary sourcing. That raises questions.

Again, thanks to you both for your help across the pond !

Sincerely,

Jeanne

 

q21 

Researcher

 19 Oct 2011 13:30 UTCWed 19 Oct 2011 - 1:30 pm UTC 

Jeanne,

You referred to a book according to which "JBB had flown from UK, but had had to land in Nova Scotia, catching the ship".
Just to to point out that according to Bryan Clough (in his book as mentioned by Phil) it was MacFarlane who "left England by plane to Newfoundland in September 1942 and then took a boat to New York" (page 48), i.e. MacFarlane (not JBB).

Regards,
q21

 

Phil Answerfinder 

Researcher

 19 Oct 2011 15:18 UTCWed 19 Oct 2011 - 3:18 pm UTC 

>>We are wondering if maybe there is some kind of Owen connection to the tea company, but we haven't been able to discern that online, and that is purely speculative.

This may well be the connection which makes it seems that it was a c/o address in London. Google Books snippet view only.
Rubber Journal Vol 87
"Ruth Bryan Owen, was a successful plaintiff in an action against Lady ( F.dmee) Owen, widow of Sir Theodore Charles Owen, ... Mr. Reginald Altham Owen, a one-third share in the tea and rubber estate known as Marokona Estate. "
http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=Altham+Owen&btnG=Search+Books&tbm=bks&tbo=1#sclient=psy-ab&hl=en&tbo=1&tbm=bks&source=hp&q=Reginald+Altham+Owen+marokona&pbx=1&oq=Reginald+Altham+Owen+marokona&aq=f&aqi=&aql=1&gs_sm=e&gs_upl=1379l4396l2l5077l6l4l2l0l0l0l463l1158l3-2.1l5l0&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.,cf.osb&fp=dfbe623b05a9ce51&biw=1280&bih=858

 

probo 

User

 19 Oct 2011 15:32 UTCWed 19 Oct 2011 - 3:32 pm UTC 

Further to Phil's Comment:

The Times Digital Archive (TDA) published the Obituary of Sir Theodore Charles Owen on 24 March 1926.

He had died on 22 March 1926 and was described as the Senior Partner of Rowe White and Co. His plantation interests were reported as covering a wide field.

The TDA further reported on 1 June 1926 that he had left Property of £34,291 gross and £33,621 net.

 

Phil Answerfinder 

Researcher

 19 Oct 2011 15:38 UTCWed 19 Oct 2011 - 3:38 pm UTC 

Well found probo!

 

jnrollberg 

Customer

 19 Oct 2011 17:01 UTCWed 19 Oct 2011 - 5:01 pm UTC 

Dear Fellow Researchers - Again, we are sincerely in your debt regarding the clarification in the Clough book [we apparently had just misunderstood that], and the relationship of Ruth Baird Owen, mother to JBB, to Rowe, White, and Company. It would now make some sense that JBB was giving that R,W,&C Co. as his address in London, or at least it is listed thus on his death certificate materials/packet retrieved from NYC.

Bryan Clough has been kind enough to let us know that he has identified some articles written by JBB in a British Fascist Party Journal. So here, I'm guessing, is where we're likely to find any writings or opinions that would have made JBB "an undesirable alien," if he was, and/or that might have led to jail time, if he did serve time.  Have searched in vain for lists of UK undesirable aliens who were deported, as we have found no mentions in American newspapers about him to that effect. It might have simply been hushed up, though. We would think there would have been mentions in British papers, however, given his family ties.

Thanks ever so much!  The search continues. If any of you wishes to see JBB [doubtful, but just in case], he is "Brother Gregory" at 2:40 into this video at YouTube that relates to a film, "Garden of Allah" :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZIDpmVJCBAA

At first, he does not speak. But then he leaves the room and returns, where he says a few lines. He made the movie shortly before leaving for Britain. He also made two other films released in the same year. We don't know if Hollywood influenced his ideas about foreign affairs or not, or whether his time in London most informed his opinions about the lead-up to WW II.


Blessed be!

Jeanne Rollberg

 

myoarin 

User

 20 Oct 2011 01:06 UTCThu 20 Oct 2011 - 1:06 am UTC 

JBB and his sister apparently spent a few years in the custody (loving care) of their grandfather, William Jennings Bryan, and JBB was wanting to write his biography, presumably in the late 1920s/early 1930s.  I wonder if JBB considered fascism in Italy and Germany to be the realization of WJB's populist theories, perhaps including some antisemitism,

 

jnrollberg 

Customer

 20 Oct 2011 04:47 UTCThu 20 Oct 2011 - 4:47 am UTC 

It is interedting to ponder that. JBB 's sister, cared for by WJB, married
Wall street's Bobbie Lehman, however. Lehman helped handle JBB's post-death arrangements.

Populism and fascism...how do they equate?

JBB had been critical of his grandfatber's evolution controversy before he worked on a biography of him and had also criticized WJB as having no taste for the arts.  

Since JBB had been a Shakespearean actor in the U.S., it would be interesting to see if he was in London. So far, we haven't found him showing up there between late 1936 and late 1942.

 

myoarin 

User

 20 Oct 2011 15:10 UTCThu 20 Oct 2011 - 3:10 pm UTC 

Populism and fascism: 

That was a bit off the cuff, but  - luckily for me -  here are a couple of the websites that mention a connection:
http://www.publiceye.org/tooclose/pop2fasc.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Populism#Fascism_and_populism

An aversion to "big business" with suspicions about Jewish influence could also have been involved, although I see that WJB appears to have been ambivalent about Jews, his "Cross of Gold" speech, but also this:
http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=883&dat=19250703&id=4k00AAAAIBAJ&sjid=0GEEAAAAIBAJ&pg=2267,6558252 

(As was said in the South, when segregation was under attack in the mid 1950s:  "We like the individual negroes, whom we know, ...")

As to JBB's being a Shakespearean actor in England during the time of Gielgud, Olivier and Richardson:  even if he could do an English accent  - having lived there before -  I suspect that his name (which one) wouldn't have appeared on handbills or posters, as it might have in the States for more important roles  - the accent.

Enough speculation.  Myo

 

probo 

User

 21 Oct 2011 07:41 UTCFri 21 Oct 2011 - 7:41 am UTC 

Companies House has a record of Rowe White & Company Ltd:

http://wck2.companieshouse.gov.uk/defa47a38429a0e17ce58570f775388d/compdetails

It was Incorporated 12 July 1906 and Dissolved 12 September 2000.

A DVD of the records can be obtained for £20.

However, it seems highly unlikely that it will help in any way but then you never know.

Probo

 

jnrollberg 

Customer

 21 Oct 2011 23:25 UTCFri 21 Oct 2011 - 11:25 pm UTC 

Thanks for the additional information on R,W,& Co. [where he might have been working, given his mother's partial interest in the company after she won her lawsuit] and for a discussion of the connections between populism and fascism.

We have to agree that a success on the British stage by an American playing Shakespeare would be highly unusual. It was just that he had completed three films before leaving for Britain, one of which was "Romeo and Juliet" and had also been in the only resident Shakespeare Company in the U.S. before that.

Since he was also a writer, and since we now know he was doing some writing in Britain, maybe the mysteries will fall away once we see what he wrote. At an earlier time, he'd supposedly had some poems published in the London Mercury literary journal. Don't know if those archives are available, though.

Thanks to all of you again!  We are very,very much in your debt.

JR

 

probo 

User

 22 Oct 2011 07:28 UTCSat 22 Oct 2011 - 7:28 am UTC 

Copies of the London Mercury are apparently available at the British Library and also at the British Newspaper Library (Colindale):

http://www.bl.uk/reshelp/findhelprestype/journals/ahdifficultp/l/diffperl.html

An On-line Search facility is available (see the boxes on the right-hand side of the page) but I have had no luck in locating any references to our quarry.

Maybe you will have better luck?

Probo

 

q21 

Researcher

 22 Oct 2011 09:03 UTCSat 22 Oct 2011 - 9:03 am UTC 

Just to point out that the "London Mercury" ceased publication in April 1939:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_Mercury
and
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rolfe_Arnold_Scott-James

q21

 

jnrollberg 

Customer

 23 Oct 2011 02:48 UTCSun 23 Oct 2011 - 2:48 am UTC 

Thanks for the information on the London Mercury. A June 23, 1929 newspaper says that "some of his poems have appeared in the London Mercury."  In 1926, he had published a slim volume of poems, "The Secret Room, and Other Poems"
with the Inland Press.  Don't know if some of those poems might have been
in L.M. or not.

Thanks again.

JR

 

jnrollberg 

Customer

 23 Oct 2011 14:48 UTCSun 23 Oct 2011 - 2:48 pm UTC 

We are looking for census information for London for 1940 or 1941 or 1942 in connection with trying to find John Bryan.  I see that there was a "bomb
census survey" here:

http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/records/research-guides/maps-bomb-census-survey.htm

but we do wonder if a regular census could be taken during this difficult period. We do not find it at Ancestry.com

JR

 

Phil Answerfinder 

Researcher

 23 Oct 2011 15:12 UTCSun 23 Oct 2011 - 3:12 pm UTC 

The next census was due in 1941 but did not go ahead because of the war. In any event, names on the census are subject to a 100 years privacy rule.

The bomb survey only counted the casualties, it did not list their names.

 

jnrollberg 

Customer

 24 Oct 2011 01:02 UTCMon 24 Oct 2011 - 1:02 am UTC 

Census info is most helpful. Like America, Britain seems unwilling to revisit earlier census distribution because of promises made in a slower and less information-driven world. Pity. History held hostage.

Thinking of other potentially public documents, we do wonder if tax records of the era are available if there was individual salary/property taxation for
years of 1936-1942.

London Mercury poem by JBB has been ordered at the library, and we are most grateful for the helpful citation.  Blessed be.

JR

 

probo 

User

 24 Oct 2011 06:38 UTCMon 24 Oct 2011 - 6:38 am UTC 

There are several copies of London Mercury being offered on ebay.co.uk:

http://signin.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?SignOutConfirm&i=.98300008600002

Maybe the vendors would respond to a question about JB?

Good luck

Probo

 

jnrollberg 

Customer

 25 Oct 2011 12:40 UTCTue 25 Oct 2011 - 12:40 pm UTC 

Thank you very much for the eBay information.

We have found a couple of the "Action" articles attributed to a John Bryan.
We are trying to determine if it is the same John Bryan or a different one. The "Action" John Bryan's diction seems distinctively British, at least to our American eyes, suggesting that perhaps John Baird Bryan did not write these. It's just a hunch, but given Action JB's knowledge of British events in the early 30s, of which we believe our John would have had little knowledge, we think the "Action" John is likely British.  Ah, intrigue !!

JR

 

jnrollberg 

Customer

 26 Oct 2011 02:59 UTCWed 26 Oct 2011 - 2:59 am UTC 

The UK newspapers referenced above as having John Bryan in them have been downloaded. Not ours, unfortunately, but at least we figured out how to pay
the archives ! :)

JR

 

q21 

Researcher

 26 Oct 2011 05:22 UTCWed 26 Oct 2011 - 5:22 am UTC 

Jeanne,

Am I right in assuming that you have found at least two books mentioning JBB's time in the UK, one of them being Bryan Clough's book? What would the title of the other book be? Could you let us know?
Unfortunately, during the last seven days I didn't have sufficient time to research your question. But I am still interested.
 
Regards,
q21

 

probo 

User

 26 Oct 2011 09:36 UTCWed 26 Oct 2011 - 9:36 am UTC 

Jeanne

The Fascist journal 'Action' was aimed at a British readership and doubtless the Editor would have adjusted any Americanisms,

Q21

One of the earliest published references to our quarry appeared in 'The Story of Tyler Kent' a 6-page booklet by Gerald L K Smith published about 1944.

Regards

Probo

 

jnrollberg 

Customer

 26 Oct 2011 12:14 UTCWed 26 Oct 2011 - 12:14 pm UTC 

Please see "The Case of Tyler Kent" by John Howland Snow, in which there are small errors about John Bryan, but the story is there nonetheless:

THE CASE OF TYLER KENT
ftp://myebooks.dyndns.org/.../Snow%20-...
You +1'd this publicly. Undo
File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat - Quick View
by JH SNOW - Cited by 7 - Related articles
THE CASE OF. TYLER KENT. JOHN HOWLAND SNOW .... of the mother of Tyler Kent, "I have no wish to get bitter, because the question is so close to my heart ...

As to the editing issues, as you suggest, it is quite possible that an editor heavily edited John's copy, and/or that John was a quick linguistic study.He had been acting Shakespeare roles for three years, and that would have also helped. However, in recent months, an editorial was published in the Wall Street Journal defending Rupert Murdoch as regards the UK hacking scandal. Upon further inspection, it was widely believed that the piece was not written in America, but rather placed in WSJ, because there were many turns of phrase that were clearly British in nature.

Numerous words used to describe things in John's articles would not have been used in the U.S.  Again, perhaps an editor inserted them to make sure they would be acceptable for a British audience. We are quite prepared to believe that if only we can find anything that corroborates the fact that it's the right man. "John Bryan" is a very common name in Britain and in the U.S. as well.

The Gerald L.K. Smith pieces had eluded us. Thanks so much for the mention.

We have received the London Mercury poem written by JBB.


Song

Life may be your passing friend;
But Death will get you, in the end.

Life is strong; but dark Death takes
The flower, and its bright stem breaks.

Soon the butterfly must get
Ensnared in his silent net.  [Diacritically marked as en-snare-ed]

Yet if Death were dead, the tree
Of Life would die; and cease to be.


Thanks so much for all of the interest and help, for it is most sincerely appreciated. It reminds us of being in Britain and asking for directions. The nice man said, "The American Embassy? Sorry. I haven't got a clue." This time, though, we are getting many clues at Uclue.  

JR

 

q21 

Researcher

 26 Oct 2011 17:52 UTCWed 26 Oct 2011 - 5:52 pm UTC 

Thank you, Jeanne, for posting the link regarding "The Case of Tyler Kent" by John Howland Snow (pdf-file, 59 pages).

As the link didn't work for me, I am posting the one I then used to access the file:
ftp://myebooks.dyndns.org/conspiracy/Snow%20-%20The%20Case%20of%20Tyler%20Kent%20(Pearl%20Harbor%20whistleblower)%20(1982).pdf

q21

 

probo 

User

 27 Oct 2011 07:27 UTCThu 27 Oct 2011 - 7:27 am UTC 

Thank you Jeanne and Q21

For others who are interested, the material on Bryan appears on pages 38-40 of Snow's booklet.

However, Answerfinder's research is more convincing about how Bryan and MacFarlane returned to the States:

QUOTE

Bryan arrived back in the US on 9 September 1942 on the S.S. Hilary which
sailed from Scotland. The manifest shows him as John B. Bryan. Address in
US: The Cedars, Alderson. W. VA. Note, he is shown as a third-class
passenger. Does this indicate he had fallen on hard times, or as deported
person the passage was paid by the UK government?

Also on the manifest is Ian Ross MacFarlane, first-class passenger, who
disembarked at Halifax. Address in US: Braddock Heights. MD.

UNQUOTE

Probo

 

myoarin 

User

 27 Oct 2011 10:07 UTCThu 27 Oct 2011 - 10:07 am UTC 

JBB was born 70 years too early; could have been a great source for Wikileaks.

 

probo 

User

 27 Oct 2011 10:51 UTCThu 27 Oct 2011 - 10:51 am UTC 

Of course, if JBB had been born in 1975 then he would not have had quite the same story that he was hoping to unleash on the world.

 

jnrollberg 

Customer

 27 Oct 2011 11:12 UTCThu 27 Oct 2011 - 11:12 am UTC 

In this case, he'd have been whistleblowing on a president who had given his mother and uncle jobs and who had been seen in newsreels ( at "CriticalPast.com" ) at his mother's 1936 wedding. And we have as yet found no comments from his mother, who was very much in the news at the time, about public calls for an investigation into his death.



J

 

jnrollberg 

Customer

 27 Oct 2011 11:21 UTCThu 27 Oct 2011 - 11:21 am UTC 

This book written by a British historian and and American journalist has info on JBB, but we have not seen the info yet:

Author Bearse, Ray
Title Conspirator : the untold story of Tyler Kent / Ray Bearse and Anthony Read.
Imprint New York : Doubleday, c1991.
Edition 1st ed.

 

probo 

User

 27 Oct 2011 12:58 UTCThu 27 Oct 2011 - 12:58 pm UTC 

I have a copy of the Bearse/Read book and there are indeed a few paragraphs on JBB which the authors have sourced as:

Snow, New York Times and New York Herald Tribune.

The only 'new' snippet is that the authors claimed that JBB was deported under Defence Regulation 18B.

They provided no source for this claim so it may have been speculation on their part

Probo

 

jnrollberg 

Customer

 27 Oct 2011 20:59 UTCThu 27 Oct 2011 - 8:59 pm UTC 

Thanks!

One wonders if lists of deportees are to be found in available emigration or deportation documents, as this has been hinted at before. Have tried finding this online at British Archives, but perhaps have missed it.
 
Bearse's working papers for the book are at FDR Library. We are efforting.

The initial mentions of JBB's alleged plight [which have since been used for more recent books] come from highly speculative and questionable sources who had axes to grind in the 1940s. Those sources may turn out to be right, but they were not neutral observers, so it is hard to tease out the truth without further evidence. We need a big JBB Wikileaks from reliable sources or government files, or both!  That's what we need. :) 

If the man was a spy or government operative, source it ! Otherwise, it gets a life of its own after being repeated because of its tantalizing promise. "Practice makes permanent, rather than perfect." A lie repeated seems to become the truth. But is it? And is it possible to find out? Never say die.

J

 

jnrollberg 

Customer

 28 Oct 2011 14:35 UTCFri 28 Oct 2011 - 2:35 pm UTC 

Possible threads to consider/re-consider:

On page 38, in John Howland Snow, where the material on JBB seems to begin, it mentions that the American living in London at the time of T K's arrest, who seems to be JBB, was researching the trial of Mary, Q of Scots. [Would this be related to some theater role or writing, one wonders?] It says "he" tried to get an interview with Kent. This cannot be Ian Ross McFarlane, who supposedly did get an interview with Kent, and who only got to Britain in March, 1942, and who was not jailed.  It says the American was jailed, and freed to board a plane for the U.S.  

Earlier, there had been discussion of who was boarding the plane, and this comment had been posted:

You referred to a book according to which "JBB had flown from UK, but had
had to land in Nova Scotia, catching the ship". Just to to point out that according to Bryan Clough (in his book as mentioned by Phil) it was MacFarlane who "left England by plane to Newfoundland in September 1942 and then took a boat to New York" (page 48), i.e. MacFarlane (not JBB).


But should we revisit or compare the Clough and Snow information?  McFarlane had not been jailed and had only been in Britain a few months before returning to the U.S. so it seems to be JBB on the plane. Additionally, JBB's name appears last on several places on the ship's manifests and paperwork, suggesting that perhaps he was added late.

A note just for us to keep in mind, while we pursue the story further.
A relative of JBB, who died when she was 18, weighed in last night to say that at least when he was in America, he was thoroughly apolitical and thoroughly dedicated to the arts. This squares with several newspaper articles in which JBB himself is asked about going into politics, and so on. He always says he has no interest in it, and leaves it to others in his family. [The articles are from the late 1920s and early 30s.]

It may [almost must] be that he had a huge change of heart when living in pre-war London...This can happen. We must try to find out if he was there
for pleasure, for theater, for writing or what, as two of his family members don't believe he was there to supervise anything remotely concerning tea at Rowe, White, and Co....had demonstrated no business interest or acumen, and was a free spirit.  Had just been in three movies in H'wood that premiered in 1936, when he arrived in Britain, and done three years in Shakespeare theater before that. One would imagine that theater was on his mind.  

The info in Snow on JBB's education says he graduated from U of Wisconsin. U of W provides contemporaneous letters about him and says he did not, and was barely there as a "Zona Gale" scholar before becoming part of the Chicago Shakespeare theater co. Just an FYI...not of particular interest as regards Britain. His education was spotty. Several schools report he didn't finish some semester or other because of "illness." I say the illness was boredom.

 

probo 

User

 28 Oct 2011 18:38 UTCFri 28 Oct 2011 - 6:38 pm UTC 

Jeanne

I suggest that you get a copy of 'North American Spies: New Revisionist Essays (Perspectives in Intelligence History series) [1991]

Edited by Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones and Andrew Lownie.

It includes an essay by Lownie 'Tyler Kent: Isolationist or Spy?' in which he reported on FBI material that he had obtained under the FOI.

Evidently, Kent himself considered the Snow booklet 'about 75% reliable'.

Gerald L K Smith had been first off the mark and MI5 commented on his booklet on 26 February 1945 - See MI5 file Ref KV 2/545 which is obtainable from The National Archives:

http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/catalogue/displaycataloguedetails.asp?CATLN=6&CATID=8162446&SearchInit=4&SearchType=6&CATREF=KV+2%2F545

Probo

 

jnrollberg 

Customer

 29 Oct 2011 01:01 UTCSat 29 Oct 2011 - 1:01 am UTC 

Probo - Kudos !  We have written to Professor Jeffreys-Jones. Thanks ever so much.

Moreover, an FBI file related to Ambassador Joseph P. Kennedy and the Tyler Kent case notes that JBB had interested himself "strongly" in the case, had been jailed in London for 6 mos, had been interested in the position of The Right Club, and had criticized both the UK and American governments openly. He had been expelled from England with 10 shillings, and it was Tyler Kent's mother's money, thru Ian R. MacFarlane, who brought him back to the U.S.  The report says he had discussed the Kent case openly and "with vehemence."  Report speaks of JBB being WITH I.R.M. on the plane and landing in Nova Scotia.  [jpkenn2b.pdf from FBI web site]

We wonder about checking of any London prison records [1942 ones, beginning in about March or so] or deportation records for JBB now. If he was expelled from England...surely there'd be a trail, one hopes.  And now we've got him interested in The Right Club, so that may be a clue.

Thank you again, Probo.

JR

 

probo 

User

 29 Oct 2011 07:05 UTCSat 29 Oct 2011 - 7:05 am UTC 

Wow, Jeanne, that's amazing!

Here's a link to Andrew himself:

http://www.andrewlownie.co.uk/

A friend of mine visited The National Archives yesterday and examined the Card Indexes (not all records have been digitised) without success,

I'll now make some further enquiries about official records.

It also occurs to me that JBB might have joined the American Club in London which was run by Barbara Allen:

http://www.statesecrets.co.uk/who/index-a.html

As you will see, Barbara had introduced Tyler Kent to Anna Wolkoff.

It keeps getting better and better!

Probo

 

jnrollberg 

Customer

 29 Oct 2011 13:49 UTCSat 29 Oct 2011 - 1:49 pm UTC 

Probo--

Thanks very much for going to the extra trouble and for your friend's happy assistance as well !  It's really well above and beyond the call of duty, and we sincerely appreciate it. We only wish we were there to do the legwork ourselves and didn't have to ask for others to go out of their way to help.

The passage about JBB from the FBI is from a pamphlet from Gerald L.K. Smith, and that was not apparent upon first reading. For some reason, the document is included twice in the online FBI file, and that confused us as to its origin.  So while it does give us a few new facts, it is not sourced by neutral authorities. However, this may be the only source we've got for now, and it did give us a new clue or two, if the clues check out. There are some mistakes in the information as to year of return of McF and JBB [says 1943, when it's really 1942, and has JBB dying in 1944 instead of 1943].

There is a video below that doesn't relate to the case but where one can see young JBB with his famous grandfather. The Web site has mismarked it as WJB with his own son, but indeed, this is WJB with JBB, whom he'd adopted:

http://www.criticalpast.com/video/65675035244_William-Jennings-Bryan_reads-a-book-with-son_fishing-with-son

Here, FDR [alleged "victim" of JBB ire later] shows up at JBB's mother's wedding in 1936:

http://www.criticalpast.com/video/65675074550_Franklin-Roosevelt_wedding_Ruth-Bryan-Owen_Ambassador-to-Denmark_Borge-Rohde

Barbara Allen item may check out! We only wish we knew what other contacts JBB had upon his arrival in Britain, where his family had lived briefly earlier, but we are not clear about that.  I keep thinking "Russian Tea Room" and Rowe, White, and Co. tea, but there is probably no connection there either.

We are making progress!!  Heavens to Mergatroid!  :)  Thanks again.

JR

 

jnrollberg 

Customer

 1 Nov 2011 15:21 UTCTue 1 Nov 2011 - 3:21 pm UTC 

The Bearse/Read book calls John Bryan (Owen) a "close associate" of Captain Archibald H.Ramsey on page 243.  That's a new "mini-clue."  How to pursue that?

JR

 

probo 

User

 2 Nov 2011 07:43 UTCWed 2 Nov 2011 - 7:43 am UTC 

Hi Jeanne

I'll get on the case later today.

All the best

Probo

 

Phil Answerfinder 

Researcher

 2 Nov 2011 10:30 UTCWed 2 Nov 2011 - 10:30 am UTC 

 

probo 

User

 2 Nov 2011 16:28 UTCWed 2 Nov 2011 - 4:28 pm UTC 

Jeanne

I've taken another look at the Bearse/Read page quoted and they appear to attribute the Ramsay reference to Upton Close - an American Radio Commentator.

Reportedly, Close simply asked whether Owen's mysterious death was linked to Kent's imprisonment.

The (London) Times carried an article on 4th September 1944 in which it reported that an unnamed Member of Parliament had been told that both Kent and Ramsay had been imprisoned 'to prevent disclosure of correspondence between Roosevelt and Churchill'.

The Times also reported that 'last June Senator Shipman called attention to such an article in the Chicago Tribune'. I haven't seen this article but it might be worth checking.

As you will see from Answerfinder's Link, Ramsay had founded the anti-Jewish Right Club which Kent joined.

I have a list of members and JBB is not among these.

Several members of the Right Club were interned, mainly those few who had actually come into contact with Kent.

It should be noted that Bearse and Read included many titbits in their offering some of which were from decidedly unreliable sources.

For your information, there are several MI5 (KV) and Home Office (HO) files in The (British) National Archives which cover the activities of Ramsay, Kent and Wolkoff, etc.

Good Hunting!

Probo

 

jnrollberg 

Customer

 2 Nov 2011 20:11 UTCWed 2 Nov 2011 - 8:11 pm UTC 

Probo -

You're a trooper! 

Speaking of Clubs, cannot find American Club member list if such there was. Do find a few people's names who attended the meetings mentioned.

Yes, Bearse contends that JBB's "murder" was a myth. While initially reading JBB autopsy reports in their entirety, I had come to the same conclusion initially. Upton Close and the Journal-American had anti-FDR axes to grind. Maybe JBB did, too, but how to determine this?

However, living family members were told by their parents that JBB's suicide was not as simple as it appeared, and that espionage was likely involved. One was his first cousin, who had been very fond of JBB....deceased now....This caused us to reconsider.

Rowe, White, and Co. archived records do not go back to 1936. Was going to try to check them to see if JBB was employed there, and who else might be there who was connected to Ramsay, Mosley, and others.

Records: Alien admission papers? Passports? Taxes assessed on aliens?
City directories? Men's prison records [have written to the prison board in the UK to inquire about such records, but we don't know which jail supposedly held him for 6 mos]? Driver license records? All of these records cannot have vanished completely...And are there others at Ancestry.com in UK or elsewhere that we wouldn't know about? We use Ancestry.com extensively for many things about him.

One theory is that he was writing for "Action," "Blackshirt," and maybe someone else in London. A "John Bryan's byline  does appear in those pubs.  Was he acting in London, too? I've tried to look at the usual places, but don't see his name. He did tend to play small parts even in America.

And then we ask ourselves...did he have a personal reason to stay in the UK and in the Blitz and beyond? Why not go back to the U.S.? Those were scary times in England, and he had a history of some kind of seemingly chronic illness of an undetermined nature. Why not get out? Something kept him there. His transformation fascinates us in a stomach-turning kind of way.

With a stiff upper lip, we trudge onward through the fog.  And we are most grateful for your interest, resource information, and help!

JR

 

myoarin 

User

 2 Nov 2011 21:33 UTCWed 2 Nov 2011 - 9:33 pm UTC 

Just more speculation from the sideline after following this interesting topic:

Identifying JBB with his not uncommon names in general records seems a wild shot.  Tax records seem a most unlikely source, since of the 46 million residents on 1931 (> 50 mm in 1951), only 10 mm were liable for tax in 1939.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demography_of_the_United_Kingdom
http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/history/taxhis6.htm

What does one know about his possible financial support from USA?

I envision him as being introverted, seeking recognition in acting roles and writing, and then in England in contact/involvement with a fringe group, perhaps writing in those publications, liking to see his name in print, although he may have been doing it more as a sophistical exercise than from a deeper political orientation.  

As a financially independent introvert  - in my interpretation -  he could have "enjoyed" the thrill of the Battle of Britain, if he wasn't having to live in a flat in London, more so, if he really was inclined towards Germany, seeing the "right side" winning.

Don't let my speculation confuse things.

Myo

 

probo 

User

 3 Nov 2011 08:08 UTCThu 3 Nov 2011 - 8:08 am UTC 

Jeanne

I certainly used to be a Trooper in the 10th Royal Hussars but, sadly, I never won promotion or any medals and - even though I served 20 months in Germany - I never met Elvis. Could he have been avoiding me?

It's perhaps relevant to point out that a Canadian journalist Erland Echlin (1896-1951) and his colleague Jimmy Green were both interned because 'they knew a great deal about the Tyler Kent Affair'.

In Echlin's case, he was detained from March 1941 until 10 September 1943 and, following his release, he was required to live in London.

Trooper Probo

 

jnrollberg 

Customer

 3 Nov 2011 12:01 UTCThu 3 Nov 2011 - 12:01 pm UTC 

If you didn't know Elvis, how can you be trusted?  :) We hope you at least
know Elvis' songs and/or have an occasional seance wirh him.

If we know why those two journalists were interned, is it because of a
passing mention, a list, or other? Tyler Kent caused a lot of Hell in people's lives, and the Bearse book doesn't paint him sympathetically at all.

The finances mentioned in the other post sre interesting. That's why if John was working for Rowe, White, and Co., we'd like to know. The available records don't have needed years.

We have written to John's half sister, 15 years his junior, to see if anything pops up. The two were in different places for most of their lives,though.

Thanks again to everyone.

J

 

probo 

User

 3 Nov 2011 12:59 UTCThu 3 Nov 2011 - 12:59 pm UTC 

Hi J

Another thought ...

Whilst Answerfinder has fully responded to your query regarding Census information, it now occurs to me that Electoral Rolls will be available for the pre-war years. These would be up-dated annually.

However, being American, maybe JBB would not have been listed.

Details of other residents, if any, can be obtianed from the London Metropolitan Archives:

http://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/Corporation/LGNL_Services/Leisure_and_culture/Records_and_archives/

Unfortunately, they are closed to visitors until 14 November when the microfilm records can be inspected for free.

Nevertheless, their Research Staff remain available but at a charge of £50 per hour.

All the best

Probo

 

jnrollberg 

Customer

 3 Nov 2011 15:12 UTCThu 3 Nov 2011 - 3:12 pm UTC 

Probo and Myo - Thanks much for the into and analysis related to JBB.  If he was not a citizen, one wonders how he could vote. On other hand, maybe he was a citizen. His step-father had been. We wonder about any dual citizenship op's in the 1930s.

When his mother re-entered the US from the UK after her marriage to Reginald Owen, she had to re-gain her U.S. citizenship. Bitter pill to swallow, and it hurt her politically as well.

Thanks again! Or as Elvis would say, thankyouverymuch.

J

 

q21 

Researcher

 3 Nov 2011 21:31 UTCThu 3 Nov 2011 - 9:31 pm UTC 

Another book mentioning John Bryan Owen and Tyler Kent, as well as Upton Close:
A Mask For Privilege. Anti-Semitism In America, by Carey Mcwilliams, 1948.

It is available online:
http://www.archive.org/details/maskforprivilege012422mbp

pdf-file (18 MB):
http://www.archive.org/download/maskforprivilege012422mbp/maskforprivilege012422mbp.pdf

JBB is referred to on page 201, i.e. pdf-page 221 (of 326).

 

jnrollberg 

Customer

 4 Nov 2011 00:17 UTCFri 4 Nov 2011 - 12:17 am UTC 

Q21 - Many thanks !!

So far, he is consistently mentioned in connection with far-right fanatics and conspiratorialists, this actor from leftist Hollywood whose grandfather advocated for the common people.   :) :)

Perhaps an article has been written about Americans who were openly fascist or right wing in London in this era. Can find very little on The American Club.

Since we are not sure when she died, the presence of actress Lady Edmee Owen, JBB's step-father's step-mother, who lived a "colorful" life in London, might have been a connection for JBB. At Ancestry.com, have not been able to determine death date, but here is an article related to Lady Edmee and her siren song.

http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=DUhQAAAAIBAJ&sjid=FA4EAAAAIBAJ&pg=6616%2C5590271

It is from the Dec. 28, 1935 Milwaukee Sentinel. We can only imagine that similar articles appeared in Britain. Normally, she would have been JBB's family enemy....but.... we are just trying to think of connections. Have not been able to find Lady Edmee listed as a fascist anywhere. Quite the drama queen, Lady E, both in London and Paris, and probably in all of her other many locations, dahling. Seemed to make quite an entrance. One should, really.

J

 

q21 

Researcher

 4 Nov 2011 01:34 UTCFri 4 Nov 2011 - 1:34 am UTC 

According to the London Gazette (1943) the "Petitioning Creditors" were "unable to ascertain" the "present place of residence" of Edmée Owen.

22 October:
http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/36220/pages/4697/page.pdf

10 December:
http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/36282/pages/5412/page.pdf

 

myoarin 

User

 4 Nov 2011 09:57 UTCFri 4 Nov 2011 - 9:57 am UTC 

Interesting to note that Emée was listed as a journalist.

Relative to Q21's second link, it is interesting to read the law for the grounds for refusing an "absolute order of discharge":  section 26, sub-section 3, A and F  (especially F  ;-).

Scroll to page 25 on this link:
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1914/59/pdfs/ukpga_19140059_en.pdf

It would seem from this that although no current address could be given, there was some information about her recent activities.

Perhaps Probo can explain to us foreigners the terms of the decision.

 

myoarin 

User

 4 Nov 2011 10:56 UTCFri 4 Nov 2011 - 10:56 am UTC 

Two fairly useless additional thoughts: 
It seems unlikely from what Q21 discovered, that JBB would have been in contact with her.
Concerning the language of the articles by JBB:  my daughter edits for a magazine publisher and says that some writers' articles are heavily edited to conform to the standard of the mags; that one thinks they write well, reading what is published, and then is surprised to see their raw script.

 

jnrollberg 

Customer

 4 Nov 2011 12:38 UTCFri 4 Nov 2011 - 12:38 pm UTC 

Thanks for the Edmee Owen information. Quite a character !!  Maybe "journalist" referred to the many book excerpts about her social life that appeared to enliven news pages of the era.

As to the article copy editing, anything is quite possible, as is suggested. My initial thought was that for a publication such as "Action," where there may not have been too many writers or too large a staff, heavy editing possibly could have been less likely. If they had to edit him too much as to diction or as regards content, what use to them would he have been? On the other hand, maybe my perception of "Action" is quite wrong. But in a normal "newsroom" setting, the heavy editing we envision would have been too time-consuming to warrant continued employment for the writer unless they were USING the writer's connections [family or other] and just wanted the byline. Here, though, they don't seem to make anything of the byline per se, if that be the intention and if this be our American fair-haired boy.  Now that we think of it, though, we do only find about 6-7 articles by JBB. Maybe the editing did become too onerous, or maybe he moved on to other things.

It's just trivia, but last night, we found a reference to an additional H'wood film for him for 1935: A Tale of Two Cities.  So his immediate activities before leaving for London were being in four Hollywood films.

Thanks for your persistence and interest !  It may be undeserved, but it is appreciated nonetheless. Have found a lot of pics and info on JBB to share, but can't find a way to attach anything here.

Take care.

JR

 

probo 

User

 4 Nov 2011 14:12 UTCFri 4 Nov 2011 - 2:12 pm UTC 

Well done Q21 and Myoarin - Great Links!

I have found a reference to Lady Edmee in the TDA (Times Digital Archive) dated 1 May 1937 headed 'Dispute about Furniture' in which Mrs Freda Goldman (33) was prosecuted before the Central Criminal Court in London.

She was found Not Guilty on charges of forgery and attempting to obtain articles belonging to Lady Edmee Owen.

Edmee had agreed to sell Mrs Goldman some furniture that she had in store and she had given the defendant a letter authorising her to take goods from a depository but, allegedly, Mrs Goldman had also taken articles to which she wasn't entitled.

As Edmee was in london around 1937 then she may have been a factor in JBB's arrival in 1936? Maybe, he thought that she was loaded ...?

I have also searched the 1911 Census (the last published to date) for occupants of 4 Lloyds Avenue in the City of London, There were 2 people: the Housekeeper and his wife.

Sorry, Myoarin but, as a lowly ex-Trooper who never met Elvis, I cannot advise you on the decision in the bankruptcy.

Probo

 

jnrollberg 

Customer

 4 Nov 2011 14:32 UTCFri 4 Nov 2011 - 2:32 pm UTC 

Lady Edmee did not eschew drama in any part of her life, having served in jail for stabbing her lover's wife in Paris. Ah, furniture dispute ! Thanks uch for the new info.

Lady Edmee, we will recall, had lost the Owen-Owen lawsuit that Ruth Bryan Owen won as regards a share of the business related to Rowe, White, and Co.
Thanks for the info about the housekeeper and so on in 1911.  That address popped up for years and years regarding the business. On-site housekeeper of business perhaps just for convenience?

Lady Edmee had been to the U.S.in the 1930s, and had brought her flamboyance with her. Had been in NYC, where John was acting. Don't know if they ever connected,as she would have theoretically been a "natural enemy."

Any of us who has ever had a rollicking good time or who has fallen in love or who has suffered....has "met" Elvis, I'm inclined to believe. And it's just too bad that E's performance of "Jailhouse Rock" would have been after JBB's alleged and possibly verifiable incarceration in London.

Perhaps Lady Edmee remarried, as she was not one who seemed to enjoy solitude. And if she did re-marry, that would keep us from finding her death, though I did find a "Julia" Owen or something like that with a similar birth date.

Thank you !!  Great work.

J

 

jnrollberg 

Customer

 4 Nov 2011 14:57 UTCFri 4 Nov 2011 - 2:57 pm UTC 

Here is the possible Lady Edmee dying, if someone recorded the wrong Elsa name, as she did have "Juliette" in her name:


England & Wales, Death Index: 1916-2005
about Elsa Juliette Owen
Name: Elsa Juliette Owen
Birth Date: 6 Jan 1899
Date of Registration: Feb 1994
Age at Death: 95
Registration district: Manchester
Inferred County: Lancashire
Register number: G42B
District and Subdistrict: 0061G
Entry number: 192


Also, a NYT article wrote about an event in June, 1936 celebrating the philosophical connection between FDR administration and WJ Bryan. Family members of Bryans and Roosevelts attended. JB was in H'wood at time apparently and then left in November for Britain.

Cheerio !

J

 

myoarin 

User

 4 Nov 2011 16:57 UTCFri 4 Nov 2011 - 4:57 pm UTC 

It would have been a diplomatic nicety in connection with JBB's mother's marriage to the Danish ambassador (attended by FDR) to celebrate "the philosophical connect" with WJB's family, assuming the Danish government thought well of him.  She did go on to become ambassador to Denmark.

 

jnrollberg 

Customer

 4 Nov 2011 17:48 UTCFri 4 Nov 2011 - 5:48 pm UTC 

She was ambassador to Denmark when it happened, and sent a letter !

We are just pointing out the irony involved with JB's later discomfort with FDR. On the other hand, life is filled with irony and mystery! Keeps us interested when the unexpected happens.

A fair number of historians have also linked the WJB-FDR philosophies of government. WJB  = of the prairies/ people. FDR = of the cities/people.

We could use another FDR in the U.S. today, in fact.

J

 

q21 

Researcher

 4 Nov 2011 19:08 UTCFri 4 Nov 2011 - 7:08 pm UTC 

When Edmee arrived in Southampton in April 1922 (by boat from Buenos Aires) her age was given as 26. She would have, therefore, been born around 1896.
http://www.ancestry.com/

Elsa Juliette Owen, dying in 1994, was born as Elsa Juliette Goldstone.
http://www.ancestry.com/
or
http://freebmd.rootsweb.com/cgi/search.pl

As you probably know the marriage of Theodore Owen (1855-1926) and Edmee Nodot was registered in 1915 (Kensington, Jan - Mar):
http://www.ancestry.com/
or
http://freebmd.rootsweb.com/cgi/search.pl

More about the Kensington Registration District:
http://www.ukbmd.org.uk/genuki/reg/districts/kensington.html

- - - - -

Are you sure about the 1935 film "A Tale of Two Cities"? Here is the cast ("verified as complete"):
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0027075/fullcredits#cast

More about the actor in this film with the name of Owen:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reginald_Owen

 

q21 

Researcher

 4 Nov 2011 19:17 UTCFri 4 Nov 2011 - 7:17 pm UTC 

The "Mini Biography" on IMDb with links to three films of 1936:
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0116963/bio

 

jnrollberg 

Customer

 4 Nov 2011 19:35 UTCFri 4 Nov 2011 - 7:35 pm UTC 

Kudos, Kudos!  Thanks for the Elsa information...Now we know it is not the same woman.

Yes, it is the 1935 film. We have now ordered it at the library. As with "Camille," his part may turn out to be one that is very tiny and/or which may have been cut. Several newspaper articles referenced his just having completed it,however.

AND...Ta DAH -  The National Archives has contacted us about a JBB "arrest record" and so on from the State Department. Please see below.

Attached is a price quote and instructions for ordering the following files from the Records of the State Department (RG 59):
 
DOS (RG 59) Central Decimal File 1940-44, 341.1121 Bryan, John Baird/1 through /9, dated 7/17/41 in box 1117. 14 Pages
            His arrest record.
 
DOS (RG 59) series: Visa Division: General Visa Correspondence, 1914-1949, A1 Entry 704-A file: 811.111 Vessels – Fort Augustus, dated 4/3/42 in box 201.


We are tempted to rejoice because we have found "something." Documents are not in hand, but perhaps the dates might help us in Britain. ?  We await the documents.

J

 

q21 

Researcher

 4 Nov 2011 20:22 UTCFri 4 Nov 2011 - 8:22 pm UTC 

The characters played by John Bryan:

"Camille" as Alfred de Musset (uncredited)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0028683/fullcredits#cast

"Romeo and Juliet" as Friar John (uncredited):
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0028203/fullcredits#cast

"The Garden of Allah" as Brother Gregory (uncredited):
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0027657/fullcredits#cast


However, I can't find him in "A Tale of Two Cities".

 

q21 

Researcher

 4 Nov 2011 20:39 UTCFri 4 Nov 2011 - 8:39 pm UTC 

The actor Owen (1887-1972) in "A Tale of Two Cities" was born as John Reginald Owen:
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0654239/bio

 

jnrollberg 

Customer

 5 Nov 2011 00:22 UTCSat 5 Nov 2011 - 12:22 am UTC 

John Reginald Owen, as you have shown, is neither John Baird Bryan nor his half-brother, Reginald Bryan Owen.C onfusing, isn't it? So many Bryans and so many Owens. Keeping up with all of them is hard, especially because (John) Reginald Owen and John Baird Bryan [in a bit part, perhaps unnamed in cast] were both in the movie, if newspaper coverage was accurate.

Meanwhile, we think we have a clue to the vessel "Fort Augustus" mentioned by the State Department info. We are not sure if JBB was transported on it or not, but here is the information we have:

102 Fort Augustus Ministry of War Tpt.Cargo Ship7,13413-Jun-42Scrapped 1959

FORT AUGUSTUS
Type:
North Sands
Tonnage:
7,134grt
Dimensions:
438.5 x 57.2
Builders:
North Vancouver Ship Repairs Ltd., North Vancouver
Delivery Date:
June, 1942
Owners;Managers:
U.S.W.S.A.; Watts, Watts & Co., London for M.O.W.T.


We cannot find anything else about it at present that would connect it, but perhaps others can.

Thank you again!

JR

 

probo 

User

 5 Nov 2011 12:31 UTCSat 5 Nov 2011 - 12:31 pm UTC 

A good friend of mine has just suggested an interesting Newspaper Archive that I had never heard of before, It's Australian and it's FREE!

www.trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper

I've searched for our main quarry but, so far, it's produced too many hits for me to handle. Maybe Q21 can now show us how?

However, Lady Edmee Owen has proved much more accessible and there's a particularly interesting article headed 'Once Worth £100,000 - Now Bankrupt' on page 12 of the Cairns Post dated 4 January 1937.

Reportedly, Edmee was French by birth and, before her marriage, was an actress who was well known on the French stage as Mlle Edmee Dormruil. (I hope I've read that correctly.)

Her full name was given as: Mrs Edmee Georgette Juliette Claudine Owen. (I wonder what happened to her title?)

The article principally concerns her bankruptcy hearing. Reputedly, she had been worth £100,000 at the time of her husband's death in March 1926 but had frittered it all away on gambling, extravagence, etc.

Earlier reports in December 1936 focused on her bathing costume for which she had paid £200 and it had been held up in court. (That's the equivalent of £21,000 today and should make even Myoarin's eyes pop!)

Maybe JBB went to London in 1936 mainly to help a lady in distress?

All the best

Probo

 

Phil Answerfinder 

Researcher

 5 Nov 2011 12:42 UTCSat 5 Nov 2011 - 12:42 pm UTC 

For completeness of record, you may wish to see the Ships Movement Card for SS Hilary in 1942 (which by this stage had become HMS Hilary).
I have no idea what the card will show. Perhaps it will confirm ports and dates. Also see Wikipedia for the use of the ship during this period.
http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documentsonline/details-result.asp?queryType=1&resultcount=1&Edoc_Id=8172600

Wikipedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Hilary_%281931%29

 

q21 

Researcher

 5 Nov 2011 13:07 UTCSat 5 Nov 2011 - 1:07 pm UTC 

The name used on stage appears to be "Dormeuil" as on this poster from 1917:
http://www.vads.ac.uk/large.php?uid=26169

More on the play:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Better_%27Ole

 

q21 

Researcher

 5 Nov 2011 13:30 UTCSat 5 Nov 2011 - 1:30 pm UTC 

Some further links about Edmée as an actress:
http://books.google.co.uk/books?q=%22edmee+dormeuil%22

She was among the cast of the film "The Odds Against Her" (1919):
http://books.google.co.uk/books?q=%22edmee%22+%22Odds+Against+Her%22

Unfortunately, IMDb misspells her name as "Edna":
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0247589/fullcredits
and
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0233808/

 

Leli Crawford 

Researcher

 5 Nov 2011 17:50 UTCSat 5 Nov 2011 - 5:50 pm UTC 

Edmée seems to have stayed in England and married a McCall - see snippets below. I'm sure I'd enjoy her 1934 book: "Flaming sex. A book with a moral. Her own life story by Lady Edmée Owen. [With portraits.]"! Interesting to see she had apparently had another rich older man in her life: Basil Zaharoff.

"a series of articles by Lady Edmee Owen (Mrs. T. McCall)"
http://www.google.co.uk/#sclient=psy-ab&hl=en&tbm=bks&source=hp&q=%22Lady+Edmee+Owen+%28Mrs.+T.+McCall%29%22&pbx=1&oq=%22Lady+Edmee+Owen+%28Mrs.+T.+McCall%29%22&aq=f&aqi=&aql=1&gs_sm=s&gs_upl=0l0l1l12084l0l0l0l0l0l0l0l0ll0l0&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.,cf.osb&fp=c38022d299d092d8&biw=1280&bih=852

"Edmee, Lady Owen-McCall, near Marble Arch"
http://crispianstpeters.tripod.com/id90.htm

"he had a passionate affair with Lady Edmee Owen"
http://www.google.co.uk/#sclient=psy-ab&hl=en&tbm=bks&source=hp&q=+Edmee+Owen+zaharoff&pbx=1&oq=+Edmee+Owen+zaharoff&aq=f&aqi=&aql=1&gs_sm=e&gs_upl=1394l3458l2l4005l8l8l0l0l0l0l516l1597l1.6.5-1l8l0&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.,cf.osb&fp=c38022d299d092d8&biw=1280&bih=852

 

probo 

User

 5 Nov 2011 18:09 UTCSat 5 Nov 2011 - 6:09 pm UTC 

A wonderful find, Leli, Basil Zaharoff no less.

The plot thickens!

Great to see you around again.

All the best

Probo

 

q21 

Researcher

 5 Nov 2011 19:50 UTCSat 5 Nov 2011 - 7:50 pm UTC 

Edmée was still alive in 1938:

The Milwaukee Journal - Aug 29, 1938 (about Zaharoff):
http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1499&dat=19380829&id=8LBQAAAAIBAJ&sjid=EiIEAAAAIBAJ&pg=3464,1527426

- - - - -

Two articles, published in the "Daily Express",
Tue 11 Oct 1938 Page 1
and
Wed 12 Oct 1938 Page 5

Also mentioned in the "Daily Mirror", Fri 5 May 1961 Page 9.

The articles of October 1938 appear to be about a wedding in Honduras.

However, the details are behind a paywall. You will find these pages by using "Lady Edmee" as search term, i.e. not "Edmee Owen":
http://www.ukpressonline.co.uk/

 

jnrollberg 

Customer

 6 Nov 2011 02:55 UTCSun 6 Nov 2011 - 2:55 am UTC 

Oh, my word !  We are very grateful to all of you for more info on many things, and especially Lady Edmee, a fascinating character in herself. And we did note this item below at the archives, which seems to suggest that she and husband Theodore had had their issues and concerns:

Divorce Court File:  Appellant: Theodore Charles Owen. Respondent: Edmee Owen. Co-respondent: Samuel Inglety Oddie. Type: Husband's petition for divorce [hd].
Covering dates 1920
Held by
The National Archives, Kew
Legal status Public Record(s)
Language English


Let us make clear that we are given to understand that our main character was not interested in womenfolk. Subsequent information may disprove that, but from family information, it seems unlikely that our man, who died single,sought romantic female company in England. However, he and Lady Edmee did seem to have both writing and acting in common, and they had both been in NYC and London, so a connection of some sort is possible, especially given the previous family association.

We have now watched "A Tale of Two Cities." JBB has two non-speaking roles and is seen for about a minute [or two at most] in film.

Also, we have found the grandson of a JBB mentor,actor/producer Fritz Leiber, who was head of the Shakespeare company that mentored JBB. FL was also in three movies with JBB, including ATOTC.  The grandson is writing a biography of his father, who was also an actor in his grandfather's Shakespeare Co.   It's a long shot, but one can hope for any JBB tidbits of any kind.  No stone shall be left unturned.

Probo, Answerfinder, Q21,Leli,Myoarin -  Lady Edmee and JBB thank you, and so do I  !!  We can't help but feel that you are our fairy godmothers, godfathers, and Elvis rolled into one.

J

 

jnrollberg 

Customer

 6 Nov 2011 14:24 UTCSun 6 Nov 2011 - 2:24 pm UTC 

The "Action" articles attributed to "John Bryan" are about Lancashire, Manchester, and Prestwich. One wonders if it is possible to find out if a
native John Bryan lived there in 1937-38.

 

myoarin 

User

 6 Nov 2011 15:38 UTCSun 6 Nov 2011 - 3:38 pm UTC 

I have to disillusion Probo: 
My eyes don't pop at the sight of even the most expensive bathing costume  - not by itself ... .

Lots of new information, if not about JBB's activities in England.  But since Emée is more present on the web  - and definitely interested in the opposite sex: 
Her maiden name seems to have been Nodot - Dormruil being a stage name:
http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=2507&dat=19300725&id=zaFAAAAAIBAJ&sjid=baUMAAAAIBAJ&pg=3860,3708456

When she divorced in 1920, I believe that naming a co-respondent was necessary, true gentlemen providing one to relieve their spouse of having to admit to an affair.

Here is a brief obit for Theodore Charles Owen, KCBE since 1926:
http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=2507&dat=19300725&id=zaFAAAAAIBAJ&sjid=baUMAAAAIBAJ&pg=3860,3708456

Here you can see that he was made a Knight Commander only shortly before his demise:
http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/33125/pages/453/page.pdf

As far as I can see, only the Straits Times and foreign papers refer to him as "sir", perhaps quoting Emée, but US papers liked titles, just referring to a respectable foreign woman as "Madame so-and-so".  (See also links for "Princess Lee Radziwill".)

Would Emée have been "Lady Emée" by UK protocol?  Certainly not for his KCBE long after they divorced.

Cheers,  Myo

 

probo 

User

 6 Nov 2011 15:51 UTCSun 6 Nov 2011 - 3:51 pm UTC 

Jeanne

I can't think of any practical or effective method of rooting out any John Bryans living in Lancashire in 1937/38.

As a matter of interest, I have searched the 1911 Census and there were 75 of them at that time. But which of them - if any - could have written the articles?

Myo

Even if the Owens divorced then I can't see any reason why the ex-wife could not retain her title. Here's a recent example:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lady_Gaga

Cheers

Probo

 

jnrollberg 

Customer

 6 Nov 2011 16:34 UTCSun 6 Nov 2011 - 4:34 pm UTC 

It appears that they may not have ended up divorcing to me. We wonder if the lawsuit was withdrawn....Otherwise, it would seem she would not have been an heir and that there would have been no Ruth Bryan Owen lawsuit. And RBO's bro-in-law, Lady Edmee's step-son, was also party to the suit.

What about city directories in Lancashire or Manchester? Are such available in England online? Manchester is some distance from London, and it seems possible but unlikely that JBB, roving "Action" reporter, would have been there and would have known its recent history to write about. Also, news items in Manchester about JB, perhaps as an activist, might be there if the Manchester newspaper archive is online. Dunno.

What might argue FOR the items being JBB's is that there is a certain snarkiness in the "Action" articles. We have now run across a letter from JB to the Los Angeles Times about his mother's 1936 marriage to Dane Borge Rohde. Letter= snarky! [It is behind a pay wall.]  In addition, One of John's poems uses the word "ruin." A headline in one of the "Action" articles is "Ruin-Faced." Probably means nothing in particular,but we did notice it.

The grandson of Fritz Leiber, in whose Shakespeare Co. John appeared and who appeared with John in movies, has responded and is looking for information, referring us to several collections of FL papers and memorabilia that are at some distance. However, we'll be delighted to make inquiries about those items to see if any insights can be gained.

Of course, those insights wouldn't likely help us with the British part of JBB's story...surprises happen, however. Once again we have seen a reference to JBB in a book as supposedly researching Mary, Queen of Scots, in England. Doesn't say why.

When we get the items from the State Department that supposedly deal with JBB's 1941 arrest, we are hoping that much will be clarified: address, professional activity, etc. However, we may not receive that for a month.
FDR Library is also on the case, but that will take some time, too. Patience is necessary,one supposes. Meanwhile, we have the wonders of history held hostage. Hahahahahaha !

Lady Gaga info? :)   Thanks, Myo and Probo.

 

myoarin 

User

 6 Nov 2011 16:58 UTCSun 6 Nov 2011 - 4:58 pm UTC 

Probo,

I wouldn't look at "Lady Gaga" wearing anything  - or less!

But a girl in my (Alabama) 8th grade class was named "Lady". Didn't see her birth or christening certificate, of course, but teachers were careful, one not accepting that a lad in 1st grade said that his name was "Sonny".(Knew an adult back then who was called "Bubba".That should entertain Jeanne.)

Regards to all,  Myo

 

probo 

User

 6 Nov 2011 17:51 UTCSun 6 Nov 2011 - 5:51 pm UTC 

Myo

I've never been to Alabama, alas, but several other Americans with dubious titles spring to mind, including Duke Ellington and Count Basie.

There was also once a singer who for some reason was known as 'The King'.

I did meet Count Basie on one occasion,

Just boasting

Probo

 

jnrollberg 

Customer

 6 Nov 2011 18:15 UTCSun 6 Nov 2011 - 6:15 pm UTC 

One of the more amusing and educational parts of the JBB resarch has been reading about Lord This and Lady That. Especially "Lord Haw Haw," which kind of sounds like HeeHaw, our old TV show in America that was filled with the bubbas to whom Probo alludes. Bubbas are the salt of the earth, of course, though we are not sure what word is used in the UK for them. Some come to mind.

You speak of "lads." JBB's suicide note also referenced lads and Shakespeare. Perhaps he became quite the Anglophile. I hope for good news on JBB when anything even vaguely definitive emerges abut his activities. A pity to die at 37 with only a bottle of pills at your side on the day after New Year's.

Letter to the LA Times defending the mother's cross-national marriage alerts the reader that "Love has no nationality. It is neither American nor Danish, not German, not French, but simply human and universal. To an educated man or woman, no country is an alien country, nor no citizen is an alien citizen. We are citizens more of the world than of any nation."  He was responding to an article about his mother than he referred to as "a malicious little diatribe."

J

 

myoarin 

User

 6 Nov 2011 20:09 UTCSun 6 Nov 2011 - 8:09 pm UTC 

Jeanne,

Probo probably doesn't know any Bubbas, but we folk from down south do, and Wikipedia has got it right in the first couple of lines, also the "good ol' boy".(not likely that you needed the elucidation, having also been born in Jax):
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bubba

Probo can brag about a musical count and duke, and maybe even had to salute the prince of his Hussars, but did he ever really see the "King"?  (I did:  Las Vegas, 1968, not to mention all the German counts ('Grafen") I know here,

Just more boasting (which won't impress Q21)

Myo  (who agrees with that letter in the LA Times, no more details!)

 

jnrollberg 

Customer

 7 Nov 2011 00:31 UTCMon 7 Nov 2011 - 12:31 am UTC 

We definitely know our Bubbas. Burp.

Seeing the King would be fabulous. Almost as amazing is all of those ladies who you can always find crying around his gravesite in Memphis no matter what time of year or day you go.

:) :) At this time, we don't want to insult Probo !! I maintain that one can know The King's essence without having seen him. However, the Cirque de Soleil Elvis show does have some nice home movies that humanize him. The presidential center here also had a display of Elvis photos done just as he was rising to fame but before he became an icon when he could still be himself. Vulnerable, even.

Alrighty, group!  We are making progress on JBB. It might seem kind of zigzaggy, but once Probo figures out if another JB lived in Manchester, which we know he can find a way to do..."Action" issue is solved.... :)

And if anyone can just find a candid with Oswald Mosley and JBB or Tyler Kent and JBB, we're in bidness, ya'll.  I mean...how hard can it be?
Hahahahaha.

J

 

Phil Answerfinder 

Researcher

 7 Nov 2011 09:38 UTCMon 7 Nov 2011 - 9:38 am UTC 

Comment by jnrollberg on Sun 6 Nov 2011 - 4:34 pm
>>What about city directories in Lancashire or Manchester? Are such available
in England online?

You'll find telephone directories on Ancestry (Worldwide membership) under British Phone Books 1880-1984. The are quite a few J.Bryan's for Manchester/ Lancashire, and one J. B. Bryan, but that entry is still there in 1944.

 

probo 

User

 7 Nov 2011 12:40 UTCMon 7 Nov 2011 - 12:40 pm UTC 

Jeanne

'And if any one can find a candid of JBB, etc.'

Anything is possible with Photoshop - I've even seen a candid of Myoarin having dinner with a young lady Uclue user in California whilst a young lady Uclue Researcher hovered nearby.

I believe they were all on Myoarin's yacht - the 40 tonner.

However, for your requirements, I suggest that a better option might be an image of Lady Edmee dining with Hitler in Munich whilst JBB and Unity Mitford hover nearby.

Probo

 

myoarin 

User

 7 Nov 2011 13:26 UTCMon 7 Nov 2011 - 1:26 pm UTC 

Jeanne,

It is very hard to insult Probo  - or me.  We are all very civilized here.

I could give you a link to a photo of Probo.  He looks very good for his age.  My wife agrees, so I am sure that you would, too, although perhaps surprised.

Incidentally, the photo he mentions was taken in a restaurant in the South Bay area.  (Did we go Dutch treat, or did I overcome my usual miserliness?  I hope so.)

Kudos for Q21's thumbing the telephone directories.

Myo

 

q21 

Researcher

 7 Nov 2011 19:41 UTCMon 7 Nov 2011 - 7:41 pm UTC 

Myo,

My "thumbing the telephone directories"? Thank you, ... but I'm rather surprised. I suppose you meant Answerfinder?

Edmée's stage name was "Dormeuil", i.e. not "Dormruil".

q21

 

jnrollberg 

Customer

 7 Nov 2011 20:02 UTCMon 7 Nov 2011 - 8:02 pm UTC 

What a cheery group we have !!  Blessings to all of you. We shall send you some Elvis CD's for the holidays.

Okay...JBB news story elucidates "A Tale of Two Cities" for us. He remarks that it was his screen debut, and that he had a tiny role that was very difficult to find in the movie that literally had a cast of thousands, but he was grateful for role nonetheless. Then it is mentioned that he went to drama school in NYC, so this makes at least 3 prep schools, 4 colleges, and a drama school [so far] that have popped up. We are updating his IMDB database information.

...The 1944 JBB could be he, theoretically. As you know, city directories often lag behind by at least a year. We shall check out Ancestry this week...I guess it didn't say "fascist writer" by his name, though, eh? Or "grandson of William Jennings Bryan"? Or "jailed in connection with 18B" ?  Because really...that would be da bomb. And if there was an itsy bitsy picture with Oswald, Lady Edmee, or Archibald R., so much the better.

...The U of Illinois has a special collection that it is scouring for us, but it won't help us with activities in England.

...I'm glad to hear everyone is good looking, or at least passable. We're passable as well if Photoshopped, despite a too-recent birthday and if standards are kept reasonably moderate. 

J

 

myoarin 

User

 7 Nov 2011 21:26 UTCMon 7 Nov 2011 - 9:26 pm UTC 

Thanks for the corrections, Q21, and apologies to AF.

Myo

 

jnrollberg 

Customer

 8 Nov 2011 22:44 UTCTue 8 Nov 2011 - 10:44 pm UTC 

The University of Illinois has found a letter from John Bryan in London to his mentor, actor Fritz Leiber, in January, 1937.  Let us hope for some key facts when the letter arrives, as that would be only two months after he landed in London.

 

jnrollberg 

Customer

 10 Nov 2011 00:30 UTCThu 10 Nov 2011 - 12:30 am UTC 

From the FDR Library in Hyde Park comes this information about JBB...referred to as Bryan Owen, though [Reginald] Bryan Owen was actually JBB's half brother:


This document is a letter, dated August 11, 1944, from Upton Close to Tyler Kent's mother.  The paragraph related to John Baird Bryan reads as follows:

"I have a recent letter from Wingo which indicates that he might reveal something about the person who commented upon Bryan's death.  I have a letter from his mother who is an old acquaintance of mine and also a statement from her brother, William Jennings Bryan, Jr., who is a collector of the Port of Los Angeles here.  The two agree on a story which doesn't make too much sense.  They say that Bryan Owen lost his identity papers in England and these were used by a spy, throwing Owen under suspicion, but that he was cleared and released, and that his death came from being backed into by a taxi when he went out to mail a letter in the blackout -- this being shown by a note or something which he was writing at the desk at the time dropped dead.  I have pointed out to Mrs. Rhode that this adds to the mystery, since it in no way jibs with the New York police report which states that Bryan Owen died of an overdose of verinol [sic] 'to which he was addicted.'  The sole aim of the Bryan family is to avoid publicity of the case."

Jeanne

 

probo 

User

 10 Nov 2011 16:28 UTCThu 10 Nov 2011 - 4:28 pm UTC 

Many thanks, Jeanne, for sharing another piece of information.

This seems to corroborate the original version of the story in which JJB learned of the Tyler Kent Affair from Ian Ross MacFarlane, particularly since AnswerFinder has demonstrated that they were both on the manifest of the Hilary.

Also, apparently most of the others who had actually met Kent (outside of the context of the American Embassy) or had heard of his discoveries were interned until September 1943, specifically:

Erland Echlin and possibly Jimmy Green; Christabel Nicholson (who had made a pencil copy of one of the Roosevelt-Churchill telegrams); and Enid Riddell (who had dined with Kent).

Anna Wolkoff's father - Admiral Wolkoff - was also interned but I don't know when he was released.

However, there is yet another character in the story about whom nothing is currently known except for a brief entry in one of the MI5 files on Kent, Ref: KV 2/544.

The author of a report dated 4 February 1942 - clearly an MI5 agent - had asked Mrs Newenham 'about a certain elderly man I had met at 10 Courtfield Gardens, (London) SW5 ... a Dr. Campbell who was connected with Tyler Kent and had gone back to America when the Kent trouble appeared on the horizon. She thought that he was afraid of being involved.'

Maybe one of the Uclue Researchers could investigate this should you consider it to sufficiently interesting to ask a further question?

All the best

Probo

 

myoarin 

User

 10 Nov 2011 17:02 UTCThu 10 Nov 2011 - 5:02 pm UTC 

Almost completely off the thread, today a German radio program was telling about St. Martin, 4th century saint, apparently the first one who wasn't a martyr, and big in Germany:  M. Luther was baptized on his saint's day, November 11.

The tenuous connection to the search for information about JBB  - not to suggest that he was a martyr:
the heliography interprets what little is known about Martin's earlier life with hindsight about the legends about his later Christian activities:  the story of his sharing his military cloak with a beggar. that geese revealed his hiding place before he unwillingly became bishop of Tour.

All about trying to make sense of the past, based on subsequent events.

Oh, St.Martin is the patron saint of soldiers and horses.  I bet Hussar Probo didn't know that, although it also applied to hussars' mounts.  I'll have to ask them about that when we bring the nearest stable another load of apples.


 
:

 

jnrollberg 

Customer

 10 Nov 2011 18:02 UTCThu 10 Nov 2011 - 6:02 pm UTC 

Probo and Myo - Thanks for your analysis and information.

Regarding the Upton Çlose letter, we wonder who "Wingo" is, and have found a military collection of a Hugh Wingo [see below]. Not sure if there is a connection, though "Naval Intelligence" supposedly said JBB knew too much and was killed. Wingo might be a journalist or someone else, though.

http://digital.lib.ecu.edu/special/ead/findingaids/0677-008/0677-008.pdf

Preliminarily, absent the actual State Department documents, we believe JBB to have been detained from mid-1941 to about September, 1942. See this:

DOS (RG 59) Central Decimal File 1940-44, 341.1121 Bryan, John Baird/1
through /9, dated 7/17/41 in box 1117. 14 Pages
            His arrest record.
 
This is the other documentation we are due to receive from NARA...Visa Correspondence. "Fort Augustus" was a ship from 1942. Not sure of what possible connection there might be there:

DOS (RG 59) series: Visa Division: General Visa Correspondence, 1914-1949,
A1 Entry 704-A file: 811.111 Vessels – Fort Augustus, dated 4/3/42 in box
201.

And then, of course, we have not solved the "Action" connection to writer John Bryan, if there is one.

"Dr. Campbell" may prove interesting. Thanks for that information. At this precise moment, am mired in unexpected costs for various elements of this project [from Special Collections, and so on]...but we'll see our way more clearly by next week and perhaps may have received some helpful documents by then, too, adding further context.

Blessings to all !

 

jnrollberg 

Customer

 10 Nov 2011 20:50 UTCThu 10 Nov 2011 - 8:50 pm UTC 

Letter from John Bryan to America in 1937 :

#9, Queen Street, Mayfair   [a new address for us]

Having been in Copenhagen for Christmas with mother, he notes he returned to London to make some tests for Charles Laughton's "new play."  Don't know what it was.

Should Laughton project fall through, would return to do something in "Gone With the Wind." [To best of our knowledge, he did not return until 1942, though.

No mention of politics here.


Regarding the earlier post about JBB having learned of the TK case from IM
on board ship, there is also a version of the story from G.L.K.Smith that has IM paying for JBB's return to America with TK's mother's money after his having been broke and just out of prison in London.....We don't want to forget that possibility.

Jeanne

 

jnrollberg 

Customer

 10 Nov 2011 21:14 UTCThu 10 Nov 2011 - 9:14 pm UTC 

"London Films" test is also mentioned in the letter.

 

q21 

Researcher

 10 Nov 2011 21:43 UTCThu 10 Nov 2011 - 9:43 pm UTC 

This link should enable you to see a photo of "9, Queen Street, Mayfair" - assuming that the numbering system hasn't changed since 1937:
http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?q=9%2c+Queen+Street%2c+Mayfair+

 

jnrollberg 

Customer

 10 Nov 2011 21:47 UTCThu 10 Nov 2011 - 9:47 pm UTC 

Thanks much!

I'm not "feeilng" fascism after reading this letter...On other hand, we shall see. The element of surprise is what keeps us searching.

J

 

myoarin 

User

 11 Nov 2011 00:19 UTCFri 11 Nov 2011 - 12:19 am UTC 

Concerning JBB's letter to America in 1937:
"Different strokes for different folks." 
It rather sounds like he was putting the best possible light on his acting endeavors, to whomever, not an intimate to whom he would mention politics (really playing it up:  Laughton and Gone with the Wind).

In early 1937, he had only arrived in England  and might not yet (if ever) have been thinking about politics.

Playing the profiler myself, I have to ask if he thought he really had potential as an actor  - not from bitty parts in three films -  maybe hoping/dreaming that his Shakespeare roles could count for more in England  - which doesn't suggest a realistic self-estimate.  Odds are that a flat in Mayfair was paid from funds he didn't earn himself.  Just arrived in late 1936, Xmas with Mum and her new husband in Copenhagen, back in London, trying to justify his existence in that letter.

I, the profiler, can see him slipping down, thankful for anything he can get published (doesn't earn anything, but justifies his existence), going along uncritically with new and intriguing company.

Yes, I'm changing my view of him, see him now as an unfortunate with only a bit-part in real life, his name down on the credits in the TK story, leading to his arrest in those paranoid times.

Enough speculation, ask me to write the script for the TV show.

Myo

 

jnrollberg 

Customer

 11 Nov 2011 03:09 UTCFri 11 Nov 2011 - 3:09 am UTC 

Myo --

Let's go for a movie. Openings in London, NYC, and L.A.  Which will you attend?

We really don't know about the money situation..it was the Depression...but I'm going to take a leap and say family money sustained him in London. He'd been acting the previous five years. The recipient of his letter was a Hollywood actor and Shakespearean theater company director who knew well his level of talent, be it great or small. Fritz Leiber was his mentor.

JB could have known Tyler Kent from D.C., where both had been in and out at roughly the same time. I have no proof of that, but the timing of their presence there is interesting.

JB probably knew he could work for/with Rowe, White, and Co. if things got bad, too.

He may have taken a leap into politics for just the reason you mention, though how he'd know very much about Manchester is a question we still could ask.Keep in mind that whenever journalists had previous asked him about politics, which they often did, seeing if he wanted to follow the family profession, he had always made it clear that he didn't know anything about it and cared nothing for it. However, maybe the urgency of everything swirling in London changed all that for him. When you get that pic of Oswald, Tyler, and JBB together, please send it along ! 

Hmmmm...Let us look at the political leanings of Charles Laughton, if he had any...maybe there's a clue. Thanks so much for your continued help and interest. I'm amazed that JBB's little story is of such interest...it's likely because the "spy" possibility has got us all hooked.

J

 

probo 

User

 11 Nov 2011 07:34 UTCFri 11 Nov 2011 - 7:34 am UTC 

Jeanne

According to IMDB:

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001452/bio

Charles Laughton started his own film company - Mayflower Pictures Corp - in 1937.

Politically, he was said to be Liberal.

Probo

 

myoarin 

User

 11 Nov 2011 11:40 UTCFri 11 Nov 2011 - 11:40 am UTC 

"I'm amazed that JBB's little story is of such interest...it's
likely because the "spy" possibility has got us all hooked."

Quite so, and we like a question with loose ends and intriguing personalities, and maybe are wanting to find connections that don't exist.

This website tells about fascism in Manchester:
http://radicalmanchester.wordpress.com/2010/01/07/fascism-and-anti-fascism-in-1930s-manchester/

With all those John Bryans up there (maybe a nice pseudonym since there were so many), it seems likely that articles with references to that area were not written by JBB.

Would he have stayed in England all the time?  The Rowe White address suggests that he didn't have a flat as a more permanent address.

Myo

 

jnrollberg 

Customer

 11 Nov 2011 13:04 UTCFri 11 Nov 2011 - 1:04 pm UTC 

Thanks, Probo and Myo, for the info on Laughton and on Manchester.

Good question about his moving around, too, because JBB never stayed in one place for too long. Just received in the mail yet another school's academic records on him, and several home addresses - D.C., NYC, and Miami-- are mentioned even there. It does seem likely, tho, that he didn't return to the U.S. before 1942. in terms of where he might have gone. Maybe the war constricted his movements.

City of London Archives has sent along a suggestion to check with Equity, the actors' union, at Guild House in London. It has also recommended "The Stage" Magazine, available for a fee on the Web.

Since a good friend and I have squinted at the screen and watched all the movies to find him, the friend has created a fabulous little PowerPoint about "JBB, A Man For All Seasons." It is silly, but will make you smile. He's here...he's there...he's everywhere, just like the Scarlet Pimpernel....

And here is a little JBB humor from his letter: "I went out to Elsinore, which looks over the Swedish coast, and saw something called "Hamlet's Grave" -a mound topped by an exceptionally bad statue of Hamlet dressed all out of period and looking far too complacent." 

Am not sure about England, but have discovered that in America, the prep schools of the 1910-1920's era required their charges to create scrapbooks...maybe the forerunners of yearbooks...and leave them at the school. Some interesting JBB stuff has been found by archivists there. In fact, we do this research in a wonderfully lucky era, where info may be retrieved at our fingertips if we know the right search strings to use and the buttons to push.

To Probo and Myo and ALL who have taken an interest - thanks ! 

J

[personal email address deleted by Uclue admin]

 

jnrollberg 

Customer

 11 Nov 2011 16:40 UTCFri 11 Nov 2011 - 4:40 pm UTC 

Nothing of JBB from at least one theater outfit in London. See below.
[There was a British JB of note in the same era.]

I have checked our sequence of biographical and images files for you, under both names of Bryan and Owen, but found no relevant entry.
 
I checked J.P. Wearing's American and British Theatrical Biography for you, and found an entry for 'Bryan, John (d 1969 [58]), producer, director, choreographer, BP/59*' BP/59 indicates a reference to 'The Burns Mantle Yearbook: The Best Plays of 1974-75, New York and Toronto: Dodd, Mead, 1975'. The asterisk indicates that the reference was found in the necrology section.
 
I also checked J.P. Wearing's The London Stage (1930-1949) for you, and found an entry for John Bryan, credited as set designer for The Olympians at Covent Garden in 1949.
Neither sources indicated whether the John Bryan in question was American or British.
 
I also checked Bryan's Stage Deaths for you, but found no relevant entry.
 


FYI.

Jeanne

 

jnrollberg 

Customer

 11 Nov 2011 17:20 UTCFri 11 Nov 2011 - 5:20 pm UTC 

Need an e-mail address for Michael Korda. Cannot find.  His uncle was head of London Films, and MK is knowledgeable about classic films. We never know where information will pop up!

 

myoarin 

User

 11 Nov 2011 17:35 UTCFri 11 Nov 2011 - 5:35 pm UTC 

Thanks, Jeanne.

Despite all my speculation and profiling, I don't know anything about Kent or Bryan that I haven't read here.  (Probo apparently does; we have his valuable input.)

With that proviso, my feeling is that JBB was an unfortunate character:  never really making it on the stage or screen.  Even I can write poetry, so that isn't a mark of success.  He didn't care for female company, suggesting that he may have been "from the other side" at a time when that was a no-no and illegal, maybe a reason for his family to have supported his living in abroad, and of itself a possible reason for his being imprisoned. 

We have  - I believe -  only the most tenuous connections to Kent and the "scene", but perhaps they were enough for him to have been picked up as a fellow traveller in those critical times, perhaps also if he had been travelling on the Continent, not just to visit Mum at Xmas (the Rowe White address).

Could it be, that he was merely a sensitive, professionally unsuccessful homosexual, depressed, drug-taking, returned to the States, where he knew he wasn't welcome (in my analysis), "ripe" for suicide in NYC, if inadvertently?

Too much speculation? 

Today is the start of "Fasching", the German Mardi Gras season, when nothing is taken too seriously.

Myo

 

Bobbie Sevens 

Researcher

 11 Nov 2011 17:38 UTCFri 11 Nov 2011 - 5:38 pm UTC 

Is this the correct Michael Korda?

http://www.stonegatexc.com/release-form.pdf

 

jnrollberg 

Customer

 11 Nov 2011 20:13 UTCFri 11 Nov 2011 - 8:13 pm UTC 

"Spider Stillness and Other Poems," published in 1925, when JBB was 20, has arrived. He is the copyright holder and the poems are dedicated to a Gretchen Greene. 36 poems.

J

 

jnrollberg 

Customer

 11 Nov 2011 20:17 UTCFri 11 Nov 2011 - 8:17 pm UTC 

Bobbie7

Thanks for the Michael Korda e-mail. We'll try it.

Jeanne

 

jnrollberg 

Customer

 12 Nov 2011 14:35 UTCSat 12 Nov 2011 - 2:35 pm UTC 

Myo-

You might well be altogether right. Maybe the State Department documents forthcoming will help us sort at least part of it out. We are most eager to learn if anyone was  actually trying to kill him (taxi that knocked him down) or if timing was merely coincidental, and thus useful for the people who hated FDR  and who wrote about it. 

There are many suicides during holiday periods, snd it also had to have been very stressful if he had been in jail or even just living in London at the time before the return to America.

He wouldn't have had to prove his usefulness to his family. But to himself-- that's another matter. The poetry volume that he published at age 20 had a number of poems about death.

We must sill see if there were truly spy or whistleblower implications in England, best we can, at this time.

J

 

myoarin 

User

 12 Nov 2011 15:33 UTCSat 12 Nov 2011 - 3:33 pm UTC 

In case you haven't read up on veronal ("veronol" in Snow's book):
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbital

Note the mention of increased tolerance, need for a larger dose.

The German Wikipedia mentions that a couple of persons took their lives with veronal  - before JBB died from whatever, also that it was given in as the means of suicide in novels.

Myo

 

jnrollberg 

Customer

 12 Nov 2011 19:41 UTCSat 12 Nov 2011 - 7:41 pm UTC 

Myo -

Thanks for that information. A friend has suggested that maybe he was like M.Jackson in the use of sleeping aids, only without Conrad Murray nearby.
A relative has written that he was an insomniac for much of his life.

Upton Close's letter suggested addiction to veronal. One wonders, if he WERE in jail for a year in England, and had just gotten out before returning to the U.S., if "addiction" were really in play. I mean...we wonder if prisoners would be getting such meds in jail. Mebbe so.  In any case, addicted or not, the autopsy results show the dose to have been large for a man who was 5' 10" and weighed only 120 pounds. Autopsy mentions no addiction, but police report relates he "was subject to fits." Epilepsy?

By the way, on another topic, British Airways has written back to say it cannot disclose airline manifests of the war era [as to who was on the plane, JBB, I Mac, etc.]...One jolly well wonders, after 69 years, what the harm might be in disclosing.

Also, Gretchen Green, to whom he dedicated the poetry book, was an assistant to sculptor Malvina Hoffman. She attended his funeral, and she was apparently a friend of his mother's. She wrote some books, and had a business on Park Avenue. She used to spell her name with an "e," and seems to have been a free spirit, like Edmee Owen.

Okay...now then...John's step-father's brother, Mr. T.H.B. Owen of Chelsea...what do we know of him? He was a co-plaintiff with RBO in the Rowe, White, and Co. case. Maybe JBB and THBO maintained contact in London.

Cheerie Bye !  :)

J

 

jnrollberg 

Customer

 12 Nov 2011 22:39 UTCSat 12 Nov 2011 - 10:39 pm UTC 

This thought comes in from Michael Korda:

1941 would have been late for somebody to be put in prison on an 18-B charge. Most of them were rounded up in 1940. As for his death, I strongly doubt SIS (MI-6) went around assassinating actors in New York City.

J

 

q21 

Researcher

 12 Nov 2011 23:42 UTCSat 12 Nov 2011 - 11:42 pm UTC 

Regarding "Mr. T.H.B. Owen of Chelsea":

Theodore Henry Bayford Owen was 27 years old in 1908 when he married Elsie Fraser. He died in 1945.

However, Jeanne, I just noticed that you are already aware of this first marriage (according to "Caroline Bjorkander Family Tree" on Ancestry).

- - - - -

Two further marriages by T.H.B. Owen:
Kensington 1931 Veronica Scanlan (died 1934)
Hove 1940 Daisy Shelton-Jones.

http://www.ancestry.com
or (depending on your subscription)
http://www.ancestry.co.uk

 

myoarin 

User

 12 Nov 2011 23:58 UTCSat 12 Nov 2011 - 11:58 pm UTC 

Hi,

Remember that he dropped on the floor at 3 am, a "good" time for an insomniac to take an overdose.  Veronal was also used by some people for pleasure.  If JBB played with it, developing a tolerance, and then also took it as a sleeping potion, he could have become careless:  perhaps inadvertent suicide.

If I remember correctly, he had been back in the States for a few weeks, enough time for a normal person to have put on some weight.  He was sick in some way.  I could imagine that he was a little paranoid after his imprisonment and whatever led to that.  Getting hit by a taxi requires some lack of concentration  - maybe from drugs -  but would certainly have upset him if he were sick, physically or mentally, as we know it did.

My line of thinking certainly isn't helping to give JBB a bigger role in the Kent Affair.  Snow makes a lot of his death without really demonstrating a connection to Kent.  (Have you come across anything to substantiate Snow's statement that JBB "For a long time tried to secure an interview with the prisoner" [Kent]?)

Having a boldface "Death" as a heading and making the most of it fit well in Snow's concept, especially since he could do a little name-dropping.

Just "one man's opinion" as Walter Kiernan used to say,

 

jnrollberg 

Customer

 13 Nov 2011 02:20 UTCSun 13 Nov 2011 - 2:20 am UTC 

Thanks, q21. We don't know much about THB Owen's politics. We will add other marriages heretofore undiscovered, though. Bravo!

RE: alleged JB interview requests regarding TK, sent an e-mail regarding verifying it sometime ago. No response. One feels that he must have had a pub. outlet if he was requesting interviews.

Now, I think we'd better discover the London men's prisons in this era, and we can e-mail them to ask if he were incarcerated there.  On other hand, the forthcoming S. Dept material may include arrest/imprisonment particulars.

Inadvertent suicide seems most likely to me, given the nature of the note he left for his sister. The handwriting becomes a scrawl as the meds kicked in. He had very precise handwriting otherwise.   One thing to note -
his original police report said he'd been back in U.S. 3 mos. The amended one said back in U.S. one year.???  Ship manifest shows first to be almost correct.

Suicide seems to be always that situation - either an inadvertent overdose or perhaps finding a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

If we look at his life, he'd published poetry volumes, done Shakespeare on Broadway, been briefly in Hollywood films, and so on. It may not have been enough to suit him, but, well, it's more than most people do.  And maybe there's something in London to add to it as well. It was said he was known for a delightful sense of humor and a gentleness of spirit, at least before his last 6 years of living. A pre-war era can sober one right up, however.

J

 

jnrollberg 

Customer

 14 Nov 2011 05:05 UTCMon 14 Nov 2011 - 5:05 am UTC 

Myo- Re: taxi hitting JBB, there were war-related blackouts and brownouts in
NYC at the time, and he was supposedly hit at night. Soooo...maybe just an accident brought on partly by low-light conditions or maybe something more sinister was happening. Or maybe the substance issues you suggest were in play. Maybe everything was rolled into one. His recollection of it was thst he could not get up, his forehead was gashed, his neck was hurt, his tooth was broken, and he had severe abrasions.

 

jnrollberg 

Customer

 15 Nov 2011 01:31 UTCTue 15 Nov 2011 - 1:31 am UTC 

Atlantic Monthly, August, 1945 articles mentions JBB

Jeanne's note: A "gifted research scholar and author," Dixon Wecter, educated in both Britain and the U.S., wrote an unflattering article about radio broadcaster Upton Close and others for Atlantic Monthly.  UC had rattled everyone's cage by mentioning the JBB death in 1944 before the election.  Here is a sliver of what Dixon W. wrote:


...Meanwhile, a friend of Tyler Kent, John Bryan Owen, grandson of WJB, was found dead in his Greenwich Village room on January 2, 1944 by the New York police, from an overdose of veronal, a drug to which he was a known addict.  Under the imminent approach of the 1944 election, when any and all political skeletons might be rattled, Upton Close inquired on his NBC broadcast of July 9: "Did the mysterious death of that grandson of WJB, just after his return from England, have a connection with all this?...
Well, mystery of mysteries, will the former fighting District Attorney of New York pick up the thread of that death in Greenwich
Village and try to untangle the snarl of this international scheme? Will Tom Dewey, the young squire of New York's Dutchess County...roll up his sleeves again and get the truth for the American people?"

....Close's inference is plain: namely, that a high authority caused John Bryan Owen to be "rubbed out" because he knew too much. Upton Close has often made unsupported statements, in the clean fun of politics, -- such as his flat assertion of Harry S Truman's "early Ku Klux Klan connections," -- but he has never gone farther than in this case, where he took the word of a convicted felon.


Jeanne's note: We presume that Wecter refers here to Tyler Kent...convicted felon...but the reference isn't 100 % clear.

J

 

myoarin 

User

 15 Nov 2011 12:08 UTCTue 15 Nov 2011 - 12:08 pm UTC 

Jeanne,

Dixon Wector' article probably gave you insight on why it was unflattering, but for the rest of us, this link should be interesting: 
http://jewishcurrents.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/Anti-Semitism-and-McCarthism-Expose.pdf

"Upton Close" was the pseudonym of Josef Washington Hall.  Find this book on Google Books and find the note on P 526 about Close/Hall:

Journalism's Roving Eye: A History of American Foreign Reporting
 by John Maxwell Hamilton

Maybe it will pop up for others with my search term:  "upton close" biography

Myo

 

jnrollberg 

Customer

 15 Nov 2011 14:30 UTCTue 15 Nov 2011 - 2:30 pm UTC 

Myo-

Thanks for the info on Upton Close, for whom it is hard to form a fond attachment, at least based on anything we've read so far about him.

Because it is posited that JBB was a friend of Archibald Ramsay, was doing some Ramsay book perusing last night. Hard to form a fond attachment for him as well.

Several of these secondary sources state that JBB was a "friend" of AR or TK,
and so on. Let's hope that Department of State records will tell us something about any of that in the arrest record.

In other news, the BFI holds records on London Films, where JBB auditioned.
However, the records it holds are business records and not employee records. The researcher did not find any information related to JBB.

J

 

probo 

User

 15 Nov 2011 15:38 UTCTue 15 Nov 2011 - 3:38 pm UTC 

I very much doubt if JBB even knew either Ramsay or Kent.

Otherwise, it's highly unlikely that he would have been released from jail in 1942 - much earlier than the others who had actually known the truth about Kent.

I am sure that JBB first learned of the Kent case from Ian Ross MacFarlane - particularly now that Answerfinder has corroborated their both having been listed on the Hilary.

It should be pointed out that many people were jailed in Britain during WWII for other reasons eg Ivor Novello - the actor, singer and composer -
who had served a four week sentence for a petrol coupon offence:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivor_Novello

Probo

 

jnrollberg 

Customer

 15 Nov 2011 16:27 UTCTue 15 Nov 2011 - 4:27 pm UTC 

Probo - Likewise, I have similar doubts, and believe that others have likely simply repeated rumored information in a highly-charged political era. We do have the GLK Smith info, though, that states that  K's mother paid for JBB's whole transit back to the U.S. because he was broke,  And GLK Smith also says he had been vociferous in criticizing the British and Am'n gov'ts. GLKS has been described as disreputable by many, however.

We found an item last night saying that most foreigners were not jailed under 18-B, but rather under something called the Royal Prerogative, about which there is some info here.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Prerogative

Petrol coupon offense? I've come to love "petrol" almost as much as "flats." :)

Thanks again !

J

 

myoarin 

User

 15 Nov 2011 17:35 UTCTue 15 Nov 2011 - 5:35 pm UTC 

Something else occurs to me concerning the theory that the taxi incident was an attempt to kill JBB. 
OK, maybe during a blackout alert, but the headlights of US vehicles were "blacked-out" by a painted a black "hood" on the upper portion of the lens, this site says half the lens, but, as I remember, the hood was less than 1/2, !/3 or less  Cars would have been visible for anyone careful about stepping off the curb  (kerb, for Probo, also for J to enjoy).. 
On the other hand, it would have been difficult for a driver to recognize JBB and hit the right person, but if he (I won't be PC) could have and intended to kill him, I have to assume that he would have been more successful; hired assassins usually are.
http://www.academicamerican.com/twentiesdepww2/worldwar2/homefront.html

GLK Smith is another nice guy, at least in this bit: 
http://www.jstor.org/pss/2745690

Or this, scroll down to Oct. 2, 1944, his ranting about FDR and Dewey, as did Close/Hall:
http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=14594

If GLK's, Close's and Snow's stories were correct, what less opinionated sources agree with them? 

Cheers, Myo

 

jnrollberg 

Customer

 15 Nov 2011 18:15 UTCTue 15 Nov 2011 - 6:15 pm UTC 

That's helpful, Myo.

From the items you cite and other materials read about GLKS, I Mc, and UC,
I have great difficulty believing any is credible, in general. It may turn out that they were right on this story, but b/c we cannot seem to find "neutral" evidence backing up the story, we remain on the kerb in a quandary.

If UC's aforementioned letter to TK's mother was correct, tho, JBB's mother and uncle said his papers were stolen in London and used by a spy.  Really?  Anything is possible, we guess, and that information does intrigue, if the account can be trusted. So far, the collections involving WJB,Jr. and RBO at libraries have no letters or info discussing JBB's demise thus far. The much younger half-sister has been queried, with no response to date.

J

 

jnrollberg 

Customer

 15 Nov 2011 19:33 UTCTue 15 Nov 2011 - 7:33 pm UTC 

An apologia for Tyler Kent, where he tells his own story after an introduction.....

This item is based on the address by Tyler Kent at the Fourth IHR Conference (Chicago), September 1982. It was published in The Journal of Historical Review, Summer 1983 (Vol. 4, No. 2), pages 173-203.

http://www.ihr.org/jhr/v04/v04p173_Kent.html

Additionally, this item, from 2011, is behind a pay wall:

Tyler Kent: Hero or Traitor?
By Prof. Ray Goodwin
Back in a time when the word "whistleblower" had not even been coined, U.S. diplomat Tyler Kent found out that the U.S. president was conspiring with Winston Churchill (at the time not yet a national leader of England) to plunge the world into war. Kent tried to get word of the plot out, but found himself jailed…

http://www.barnesreview.org/index.php?main_page=document_product_info&products_id=440

J

 

jnrollberg 

Customer

 16 Nov 2011 00:24 UTCWed 16 Nov 2011 - 12:24 am UTC 

In searching for the identity of "Wingo,' previously mentioned on these posts in the Upton Close letter to TK's mother, we think we may have a clue as to who he was.  We believe he was Otis T. Wingo,Jr., son of a former Congressman. We have found several Washington-based "News of the World" columns written by an Otis T. Wingo. Moreover, we see that the person who oversaw that column ordinarily was an Ernest L, Cuneo, who strongly disliked FDR, as did the connected and influential Drew Pearson, his friend. 

In the Wikipedia profile of Cuneo, it makes a connection to James Bond creator Ian FLeming, and also says this:

When World War II began, General William Donovan, who was head of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), appointed Cuneo a liaison officer between the OSS, British Security Coordination (a part of MI-6),[3] the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Department of State, and U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ernest_Cuneo

It may be all in my imagination, but Cuneo's vita suggests that espionage, possibly that involving TK and or JBB's interest in his case, would interest him...and Otis T. Wingo, Jr., from whom I speculate that U Close received info about the "Naval Intelligence Officer" who said JBB knew too much.

This is a possible new clue....or rubbish !  :) :)

007JBB

 

myoarin 

User

 16 Nov 2011 01:12 UTCWed 16 Nov 2011 - 1:12 am UTC 

Most interesting, thank you.  Makes me feel real warm about a couple of more recent presidents  - you know, the monosyllabic ones.
 
When I googled to learn more about the Potocki Papers, I found Kent's apologia (same text but without footnotes) on TBRnews.org.  Wondering who that was led me to sites espousing and decrying the unsavory world of revisionists and antisemitics.  When I returned here, I recognized that Barnes Review, apparently a site of Willis Carto, was mentioned on this link, near the end of the page:
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2005/05/04/111599/-WARNING:-Beware-the-Voice-from-the-White-House

The Institute for Historical Review (ihr.org), est. 1978, seems to be of the same ilk:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Institute_for_Historical_Review

This doesn't change the veracity of Kent's 1982 apologia, and we already had the gist of his attitudes.  One could imagine that he could have been thankful that IHR was interested in publishing it, since he was not likely to get it published elsewhere.
Perhaps a link to the BBC interview with Kent that year has already been posted: 
http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/adamcurtis/2010/12/wicked_leaks.html

Nothing about JBB.   Myo

 

probo 

User

 16 Nov 2011 14:06 UTCWed 16 Nov 2011 - 2:06 pm UTC 

Great link to the BBC Interview with Kent, Myo

I hadn't seen this before nor can I find a previous link on this page.

Of course, many MI5 files have since been released which now prove that MI5 ran a sting operation on Anna Wolkoff in order to get her to qualify as an enemy agent.

Well done!

Probo

 

myoarin 

User

 16 Nov 2011 16:21 UTCWed 16 Nov 2011 - 4:21 pm UTC 

Thanks, Probo.  Just good luck. I bet Bryan Clough found it.
 
The video does suggest an inaccuracy in TK's apologia, but it may have been spicing up of the story in the video.  He "remembers" that his door was broken open at 10 am, and suggests that they maybe wanted to catch him still in his pyjamas.  The video says it was 11:20 am and that "a prominent Russian's wife" was with him and that he had to get dressed.  (Nice that he had a last fling before going to jail (goal, hi, J!).

Interesting that on a Monday morning (May 20, 1940) he was sleeping in, but maybe the cypher clerk did shift work.  Would TK have approved the video?  Probably not, having accepted needed money for the interview.

Jeanne, I tend to think that the world was less interested in JBB than we are.

Anyone notice the navel connections:  Churchill, First Lord of the Admiralty; FDR; once Assistant Naval Secretary; James Bond, naval commander; and U. Close's Naval Intelligence Officer?

No there doesn't have to be a connection, and again, this is just delving in stuff that has nothing to do with JBB.

Myo

 

jnrollberg 

Customer

 16 Nov 2011 19:32 UTCWed 16 Nov 2011 - 7:32 pm UTC 

Ah...the Navy !!   

As to TK and his lady friends, "Love is a many-splendored thing." Bearse's book says he was a womanizer, I believe. "What's Love Got To Do With It?" "Pyjamas" are always fun.

Oh, yes, the world wasn't terribly interested in JBB, but I am! We want evidence one way or another about what he was doing in London. Too many
books have hinted at, but have not proven, things about him that were rumored at the time. I am working on a possible article on JBB !!

We did receive grades and activity info on JBB from yet another school yesterday. Amazing. See below:

"John Baird Bryan graduated from McCallie School on June 1, 1922, and his grandfather the Hon. William Jennings Bryan was the featured speaker at the graduation ceremony in Chattanooga. *
 
In the McCallie yearbook, the PENNANT, of that year, John Baird Bryan is listed as being from Miami, Florida; he was a member of the YMCA and the Pocket Testament League. He was also Art Editor of the PENNANT, Sgt.-at-Arms of the Woodrow Wilson Literary Society, and a member of the Glee Club [singers].
 
His personal quote: "As you make your bed, so you must lie."

The State Dept records are in the mail, supposedly, wending their way from Md. to our fair city. Fingers crossed they'll get here by Friday or Monday.
Perhaps some clarity may emerge if too many redactions aren't present.

J

 

jnrollberg 

Customer

 16 Nov 2011 21:48 UTCWed 16 Nov 2011 - 9:48 pm UTC 

How can we determine which John Bryan painted this "At the Outbreak of War?"  I can't see the date. Can you?

http://www.art.com/products/p12364696-sa-i1737329/john-bryan-at-the-outbreak-of-war-the-role-of-the-aeroplane-was-uncertain.htm

He painted watercolors mostly, but he did have arts shows in his twenties, at least.

Probably not our boy, but interesting if it were.

Jeanne

 

myoarin 

User

 17 Nov 2011 00:26 UTCThu 17 Nov 2011 - 12:26 am UTC 

Maybe the Russian woman was working for MI5.

I think this is more likely to be your artist: 
http://www.motoringart.info/pdf/deGrineauBryan.pdf

You can see more of his work on Google images, also sketches of fanciful airships.  The title of the art.com painting obviously refers to the outbreak of WW I, too early for JBB to have made it.

Cheers, Myo

 

jnrollberg 

Customer

 17 Nov 2011 01:30 UTCThu 17 Nov 2011 - 1:30 am UTC 

Ja !  Myo, we thank you for that, as that "JB" was pretty interesting !

And today, we received more info from yet another school. I do declare...all of these schools have gone out of their way to assist in putting together the young life of our protagonist.

And another sent a grade sheet. Hmmmmmm...a fair number of demerits on that one.

Okay...Gee, all these posts are getting so long that we hope this will not be a redundancy. "Desperate Deception: British Covert Operations in the United States, 1939-44" by Thomas Mahl is referenced on the Web, and Ernest Cuneo [who we think was "Wingo's" friend] was referenced in it. Have not seen the book. Have seen it mentioned at www.antiwar.com/justin/j070401.html

Reviews raise questions about the books, however. Related threads to JBB?
Possibly...but maybe unlikely.

J

 

probo 

User

 17 Nov 2011 07:28 UTCThu 17 Nov 2011 - 7:28 am UTC 

Just to put the records straight:

1: Despite Bearse/Read's allegation, there is no evidence that Kent was 'a womaniser'. Yes, he did have a lady 'friend' in Russia and, later, another in London but so what? It was a condition of his employment that he should not marry.

2: His lady 'friend' in London was certainly not an MI5 agent. (Black Mark, Myo) She was fully investigated by MI5 who decided that theirs was simply a romantic attachment. She was Irene Danischewsky (b 1915) whose husband was away serving in the Army. She corresponded with Kent during his incarceration and also visited him in jail on several occasions.

3: The so-called 'aircraft' was almost certainly a WWI creation. (Brownie Point, Myo)

BTW, Myo, you can trade one Black Mark for 20 Brownie Points. We shall be keeping score. 

Cheers

Probo

 

myoarin 

User

 17 Nov 2011 13:53 UTCThu 17 Nov 2011 - 1:53 pm UTC 

"Myo, you can trade one Black Mark for 20 Brownie Points. We shall be
keeping score."

The scoring system is unfair.  A mere suggestion hedged with "maybe" shouldn't "earn" a Black Mark, only an outright false statement. Couching correct suggestions in similar language is just being polite, however, so those still deserve a BP.

I want retroactive BPs for everything else useful above.

After googling images for both items, I don't see anything I want, so it doesn't really matter (although BP found more edibles and young ladies).

Searching for more about Irene D, I found this fairly recent German book, which on pp 286-290 reports on the "Tayler [sic] Affair", with more on p 424:
http://www.scribd.com/doc/28084080/H-Frhr-von-Greim-Die-Kriegsschuldfrage-2010-464-S

I have to wonder if this has been lifted from Clough's book.  On p 424, it refers to Emrys Hughes's 1950 book on Churchill in connection with Kent.  The remarks introducing the bibliography are interesting, but only German books/translations are listed, including David Irving.

Who is H. Freiherr von Greim?  Maybe Q21 can find something, not that it will reveal anything about JBB.. 
It would appear that he is the son of Robert Ritter von Greim:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Ritter_von_Greim

On this side of the Channel, one can wonder about the change of name from "Ritter" to "Freiherr".  Whatever, his books seem to be all in defense of Robert's life and death by suicide.

Ha!  Maybe Probo is awarding black shirts and brown shirts (also not wanted)..

Myo

:

 

jnrollberg 

Customer

 17 Nov 2011 20:26 UTCThu 17 Nov 2011 - 8:26 pm UTC 

As everyone is jockeying for position, I want to say thanks for everyone for all of your patience, insights, and research skills. And thanks, too, for hanging in to get to the end of the mystery. Everyone gets Brownie Points, but not Brownshirt Points.  :)

Which makes me ask...Okay...if JBB was arrested, who would defend him?
Would State Dept or U.S. Embassy be involved in such a situation where an alien, and one from a high-profile Am'n family, was arrested? We wonder, and hope to find out forthwith.

When returning from lunch to work, we received a senior picture of JBB from high school. It's our best individual photo of him to date, and he looks so much like his mother did at just about that same age that it's astounding. Tho no one cares about this much, I feel sad for JBB that his parents had the nasty divorce and he was cut off from seeing his father, who was a well-known portrait artist. He probably got a lot of his artistic talent from him.

Some of you have already seen the Caroline Bjorkander Family Tree at Ancestry.com in which he appears as John Baird Owen (Bryan)...For others who might be interested, pics and articles about him are there.  But they won't tell us if he was a spy or would-be whistleblower !  We must trudge on to find out. Thanks again!

Jeanne

 

jnrollberg 

Customer

 18 Nov 2011 03:36 UTCFri 18 Nov 2011 - 3:36 am UTC 

When we write our article about JBB, I would like to be able to credit those of you who have helped find information, but don't have your names. If you wish to be recognized, please send me your name to [...deleted...]. 

I already have Bryan C's information so as to acknowledge his book,but for the others, haven't the info.

Jeanne

[Email address deleted by Uclue admin. If anyone wishes to provide their details, please send them to Uclue and we will forward to Jeanne.]

 

probo 

User

 18 Nov 2011 09:22 UTCFri 18 Nov 2011 - 9:22 am UTC 

Jeanne

I think that you will find the Uclue Researchers and Commentators are a very modest lot and that a general note of appreciation may probably suffice.

However, I do know of one particular Contributor who desperately needs A LOT of Brownie Points ...

Cheers

Probo

 

myoarin 

User

 18 Nov 2011 14:37 UTCFri 18 Nov 2011 - 2:37 pm UTC 

Hi Jeanne,

That is very nice of you, but I  - for one -  agree with Probo. Give credit to Answerfinder/Phil, who officially answered the question (unless he prefers not), and also to Bryan Clough, who is not nearly as self-effacing as Probo is.  Also perhaps to Uclue, per se.

From my corner, I have difficulty seeing how an article could avoid raising questions about the justification for Snow's, Close's and Smith's linking JBB to the Kent Affair and their motivation for doing so, since it doesn't seem that we have found a closer connection.  Anything closer than the information that Kent's mother paid for JBB's passage home? 

Is that verified?  Smith says MacFarlane paid with Mother Kent's money, not the most trustworthy source..

Kennedy was recalled in November 1940, somewhat in disgrace,  Linking JBB to the Kent Affair would require, it seems, demonstrating that he was locked up in 1940, but no one has suggested when he was picked up nor how long he was in goal.  As Probo has pointed out, foreigners were locked up for much lesser offenses, and released, as was JBB.  Wouldn't MI5 have kept him locked up, if it had grounds to believe that he were privy to Kent's files? 

Enough second guessing, and I don't need Brownie Points, have some nice chocolates here next to my pipes and tobacco.

Cheers,  Myo   :

 

jnrollberg 

Customer

 18 Nov 2011 15:48 UTCFri 18 Nov 2011 - 3:48 pm UTC 

By the way, Bryan has kindly added a pic of JBB to his Web site:

http://www.statesecrets.co.uk/who/index-o.html

Yes, we do wish to credit Phil and Uclue.

There might be several articles coming out of this. One would be "softer" than the others b/c it is for a publication that looks at interesting stories about old movie actors. That is the fun one !!  It mentions the TK stuff, but it concentrates more on the stage [Chicago Shakespeare Theater/Broadway] and brief H'wood stays, as well as efforts to gain employment in acting in London.

A serious one related to the TK/spy/detention/undesirable alien allegations
still does have some holes, as everyone is pointing out. Attributing motive, absent verifiable information [letters and such] about it, is tricky. One can only present possibilities and label them that way unless new info crops up. We are making every effort to leave no research stone unturned and to let the chips fall where they may, wherever that turns out to be. Truthtelling is "job one" if the story turns out to be interesting enough to tell...I sense that it is, but it may not BE....

As to JBB's incarceration, the file from the S Department has a summer, 1941 date on it, whatever that means. It's not in hand yet.  Perhaps JB's family connections, and partic the fact that his mother had worked for the State Dept and was a friend of Eleanor's and Franklin's, somehow assisted with early release? Mysteries...we simply don't know yet.

Nothing about the Kents relationship to JBB is verified, though I have re-sent to the FDR Library to try to check about Upton's letter to Mrs. Kent...JBB mighta been broke, as is suggested. On other hand,one might imagine the stateside family would assist financially, if it ran true to prior patterns.  A Bryan in jail? Mon dieu. The Tyler Kent papers themselves are somewhat expensive to access. Also, just guessing, I'm doubtful there's JBB stuff in 'em, but there could be. Mulling that....also mulling what other documents there might be in UK, and hoping State Dept file provides clues.

Pipes? Tobacco? Chocolates?  You're set for the weekend, it seems !
What a nice group you all seem to be. That's what makes research in 2011 fun.

J

 

myoarin 

User

 18 Nov 2011 16:54 UTCFri 18 Nov 2011 - 4:54 pm UTC 

And I just replenished my supply of beer: 

"Chocolates to the left of me,
Beer to the right of me,
Tobacco and pipes in front of me.
   (also monitor)
Silently threatening overweight,
Gout and maladies beyond mention,
Boldly into the jaws of internet
....

With apologies to Alfred Tennyson.

 

jnrollberg 

Customer

 18 Nov 2011 17:43 UTCFri 18 Nov 2011 - 5:43 pm UTC 

Heads up!  Heads up!  State Department file is IN:

State Department files shows:

JBB was summoned to London Magistrate's court June 27, 1941 regarding violation of aliens' orders [something about his identity papers]...the next day, he tried to commit suicide....was removed to a homeopathic hospital and treated....next month charged with four offenses, among which was harboring a deserter from British armed forces. Police dropped the attempted suicide charges against him.  A distant counsin, Mr. [Theodore] Bayford Owen, give him bail.

Mr. Owen was retained as his attorney...arrangements were being made to get him back to the U.S.  His mental condition was described as bad...Mrs. Rohde had not been informed of attempted suicide or arrest.

RBO learns of event and gets involved, tho...trying to get him out of London, on a military ship, if necessary....

JBB wants to stay in London...Am Embassy cannot force his departure...JBB found guilty of failing to register change of address, not having his national registration card, lending his identity card and cert to someone else.  Six months and 7 days of imprisonment.   JBB appeals...but appeal did not meet deadline.

JBB released Dec., 1941... UK says "we want you out by January." He wanted to go to Eire instead of US....he was offered transport back to US. Flatly refused...Said he desired to join the British forces and pursued this line for some time...but was rejected as being unsuitable.....

Was encouraged to go back to U.S.  Did not want to...Wanted to go to Trinidad, Jamaica, or elsewhere..."He did not wish to meet members of his family at this time."  Had been offered school instructor's position in Gk and wanted to take it.   Once again, UK wanted him back to US.....  That's where the papers leave off - March 13, 1942.

Alrighty!  Where now can we go to verify any more details?

And...it was Gerry Raferty and Alfred, Lord T, together, eh, Myo?

J

 

probo 

User

 18 Nov 2011 18:33 UTCFri 18 Nov 2011 - 6:33 pm UTC 

Truly wonderful, Jeanne, many thanks for sharing your discovery with us.

He certainly seems to have been very troubled and it would now be interesting to get even more information on his activities in the UK.

But how?

Cheers

Probo

 

jnrollberg 

Customer

 18 Nov 2011 18:37 UTCFri 18 Nov 2011 - 6:37 pm UTC 

Bryan recommended us a researcher there to assist.

Also, a Dr. Hector Munro, "doctor and friend," is mentioned in the papers. If municipal court files are available under open records laws, maybe we're in luck.

J

 

q21 

Researcher

 18 Nov 2011 18:45 UTCFri 18 Nov 2011 - 6:45 pm UTC 

This is a short reply to Myoarin's comment (Thu 17 Nov 2011 - 1:53 pm UTC).

The German author (of the book with some pages on Tyler Kent) appears to have, in my view, rather right-wing opinions.

I do not want to support these views. I hope you will understand that I will not, therefore, post links regarding his work.

 

jnrollberg 

Customer

 18 Nov 2011 20:11 UTCFri 18 Nov 2011 - 8:11 pm UTC 

Cosmic questions:

A "G Howland Shaw" is communicating with Mrs. Rohde, JBB's mother, in the State Dept files. His name is signed to letters. "Howland" isn't all that common a name. One wonders about any possible family connection to the Howland Snow family.

Is "violation of the aliens orders" - mentioned in a S D letter - the same as 18-B ?  A lesser thing?

When we harbor a deserter from the British armed forces and aid/abet him. is it possible that this is the alleged "spy" to whom his mother and uncle referred in the U Close letter?

American law firm of Breed, Abbott and Morgan assists. No location given in papers.

In addition to Bayford Owen, a "Mr. Curtis Bennett" is a barrister retained for JBB. Mr. Bennett believes JBB's health may be given for return to U.S. at once, getting him out of trouble.

Geting him to Lisbon  to embark on the West Point is discussed [July 21, 1941]....State Dept authorizes passport for "travel by belligerent ship," if necessary. Ministry of War Transport approves this.....

WINANT [cannot tell, but looks like in London, is signing telegrams to State Department..  Glenn A. Abbey, American Consul, is also sending letters and dispatches.He remarks that Hector Munro wanted medical evidence presented at trial that was not.

J

 

fp 

User

 18 Nov 2011 20:38 UTCFri 18 Nov 2011 - 8:38 pm UTC 

Jeanne, as your initial question has been answered and now, due to your latest findings, new questions arise I wonder if, in order to gain new replies, it perhaps would be best to ask a new question or questions (I, thereby, refer to probo's suggestion, Thu 10 Nov 2011 - 4:28 pm UTC).

 

jnrollberg 

Customer

 18 Nov 2011 20:56 UTCFri 18 Nov 2011 - 8:56 pm UTC 

We have sent in a new question, and we thank you for the reminder.
As this is my first use of Uclue, at Bryan Clough's suggestion, I'm
somehwat unfamiliar with its conventions.

It is not our intent to take advantage in any way of anyone.

Cheers !

Jeanne

 

myoarin 

User

 18 Nov 2011 22:08 UTCFri 18 Nov 2011 - 10:08 pm UTC 

All this wouldn't have been nearly as interesting if we had known that earlier.

It seems that JBB did have some contact to British Owens.

The story 'agreed to by his mother and brother' about his ID papers being stolen was apparently a whitewash of what actually happened, as also, it would seem, their saying that a spy used his ID  - perhaps to give a reason for his papers' "being stolen".  (above 10. Nov. 12:30)
But it wasn't a spy, else he could have been deported (or would have been locked up for longer), but the UK couldn't, as much as it wanted to.

Was their story about the spy what got him connected with the Kent Affair?

But here is something.  Breed, Abbott and Morgan, Greenwich, CT, also London: 
http://www.whitmanbreed.com/1_about.html

Thanks, Q21.  "Rather right-wing opinions" seems mild.  German Google blocks links to four websites with the name Freiherr von Greim to avoid youth being negatively influenced. 

Myo

 

jnrollberg 

Customer

 18 Nov 2011 23:24 UTCFri 18 Nov 2011 - 11:24 pm UTC 

Yes, [Theodore] Bayford Owen was his deceased step-father's brother. And TBO also had financial connections to R,W,and Co, tho we are not sure to what extent either man dealt with R,W, and Co.  We do rather like "Bayford."

We have sent for JBB's records from the Homeopathic Hospital, tho one wonders what FOIA laws may apply after 70 years.

Thanks for the link to the transatlantic law firm. We have sent to them requesting records.

"Deserter" may also be a spy. ? Wonder if there's a deserter list.

We are left with us with alleged interview requests by JBB, unconfirmed, to interview TK, and implying that he had some publication outlet, at least occasionally. We are left with allegations of great interest in The Right Club and "friendship" with A Ramsay.

Just a note to remind everyone that JBB died in early 1943, but that is misstated as 1944 by GLKS and in some other references.

Given the attempt in London to go on to his reward, it seems we can safely say his death in NYC, which always seemed like suicide, was.

The State Department papers, by the way, do leave off with his having been told that if he didn't leave UK by a to-be-determined but soon date, he would be deported and would be unable to return. He didn't leave for 6 more months.

It is possible that JBB's political family connections "seemed right" for him to be involved in God knows what, maybe surreptitiously...g'father having been Sec State, and mother having been ambassador...hazy story sounded good particularly in conspiratorial times?

We gotta see who the deserter was and what not.

J

 

myoarin 

User

 19 Nov 2011 01:23 UTCSat 19 Nov 2011 - 1:23 am UTC 

It's the fault of that little blue command:  "Add Comment":

"Deserter" may be an exaggeration, the guy perhaps just AWOL.
Perhaps a US or Canadian soldier, since it seems unlikely that a Brit would get far with US ID?  Whom would JBB have met and known well enough to lend him his ID?  Maybe known him too well by the mores of the times?

Yes, it seems very likely that his family could have pull strings: 
maybe as to the reasons for his being arrested and the charge, court decision and sentence.  Bayford would have known about his family and might only have had to suggest that FDR would be displeased ...

That could also, perhaps, account for the delayed deportation threat.

But none of that would be in the records.  Why does the State Dept. have a file on him?

Myo

 

jnrollberg 

Customer

 19 Nov 2011 02:40 UTCSat 19 Nov 2011 - 2:40 am UTC 

The State Department was communicating with the American Embassy, as the Embassy was notified about the arrest of an American. The State Department also  had to issue permission for an emergency passport, and the State Dept had to approve the arrangements whereby he was given permission to travel on a belligerent ship to get out of England...He eventually insisted he'd not go on that ship, but the preps had to be made "just in case."

Moreover, I'm guessing that it is "professional courtesy" to a former ambassador to let him/her know of any foreign arrests of his/her children during wartime.

"Baird Bryan" doesn't sound all that American..but yes, the accent would have been a problem for the bearer of the papers.

The British "alien orders," it seems, were constantly amended, but you had to give your whereabouts, your employment, any changes of address, and you had to have your picture/papers on you, from what Wikipedia said. And you know, Wikipedia is never wrong. :)

After having SEEN the St Dept docs, no...I now think that the fam knew nothing about the arrest, etc., until Bayford gave the go-ahead to tell RBO..that's what the papers say. S D was debating whether to tell RBO about the arrest/attempt, as it wasn't good news on any front.  But then they did tell her, and she tried to help get him back at that juncture.

It wasn't pretty. And he didn't want to take "the easy way out" - coming back to US...cuz for him, that wasn't gonna be easy. The embassy tried to get him to come back to US and then go to Jamaica or wherever...didn't want to confront family.....WJB crying, crying in his grave. He loved that boy.  Wah.

Jeanne

 

jnrollberg 

Customer

 19 Nov 2011 15:22 UTCSat 19 Nov 2011 - 3:22 pm UTC 

February, 1943, a month after JBB died, his mother wrote to a friend,
John was killed "when a taxi in a dimmed-out New York Street gave him a fatal hurt."    "Ours is a closely knit family group and this first break in the family has been keenly felt."

From "Making Waves: Female Activists in Twentieth-Century Florida" by Jack E. Davis, page 50.

Jeanne

 

myoarin 

User

 19 Nov 2011 16:19 UTCSat 19 Nov 2011 - 4:19 pm UTC 

Thanks, Jeanne.

"De mortuis nil nisi bene."  Maybe she really believed it.

We seem, however, more attuned to fulfilling Mark Antony's words:   
" The evil that men do lives after them;
    The good is oft interred with their bones;"

In Goethe's Faust there must also be something appropriate, Q21 or Researcher Scriptor would probably know.

Nothing like an upmarket quotation as a superscription for one of your articles.

Myo

 

jnrollberg 

Customer

 19 Nov 2011 19:27 UTCSat 19 Nov 2011 - 7:27 pm UTC 

Myo - Anything is possible about RBO's beliefs. The autopsy report says suicide by Veronol and Seconal.


JBB Post-Death Story Chronology for a Brief Perspective:

JBB arrives back in NYC along with Ian MacFarlane, of TK case, in September, 1942.

JBB dies January, 1943; in private letter to friend, his mother identifies his death as having been caused by a taxi in a brownout.  [Illinois State Historical Library.]

July, 1944   Upton Close broadcasts questions about JBB’s death and asks for Governor Dewey to investigate; U C removed temporarily from broadcasting…comes back…..

August 11, 1944  Upton Close letter to TK’s mother mentions JBB’s mother’s and uncle’s "spy" about his death. UC also says : I have a recent letter from Wingo which indicates that he might reveal something about the person who commented upon Bryan's death.  [From other writings, this is believed to be “someone in Naval Intelligence who said JBB knew too much.’]

G.L. K. Smith pamphlet, 1944, recounts TK’s mother’s association with Otis T . Wingo [see….we were right!] in investigating TK’s case…It mentions her sending of Ian Mac to England and Ian Mac’s conversation with JBB in which JBB is said to make exposure of Kent case his life’s work.

August, 1945   Atlantic Monthly publishes article calling into question Close’s credibility and dismissing Bryan taxi death story as unverified.

John Howland Snow – Tyler Kent (1982) recounts dramatics surrounding JBB’s death.

Jeanne

 

jnrollberg 

Customer

 20 Nov 2011 20:42 UTCSun 20 Nov 2011 - 8:42 pm UTC 

A second JBB question list has now been posted. There was some temprary problem with the PayPal operation earlier.

Jeanne

http://uclue.com/?xq=5376

 

q21 

Researcher

 27 Nov 2011 18:58 UTCSun 27 Nov 2011 - 6:58 pm UTC 

A bit of additional information regarding the passengers on board the Hilary.

Findmypast has a database "Passenger lists leaving UK 1890-1960":
http://www.findmypast.co.uk/passengerListPersonSearchStart.action

A subscription is needed in order to view transcripts and images. You can, however, search the records for free:
http://www.findmypast.co.uk/helpadvice/site-tour/viewing-records/index.jsp

Searching the passenger lists for either Bryan or MacFarlane in 1942 will show you that the ship departed from Greenock. JBB's London address was given as:
c/o Aliens Registration Office, 10 Piccadilly Place, London W 1.

 

q21 

Researcher

 27 Nov 2011 22:13 UTCSun 27 Nov 2011 - 10:13 pm UTC 

There are, altogether, 16 images of the passenger list (S.S. Hilary, leaving Greenock in 1942) on Findmypast.

 

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