Sunday, November 29, 2020


With growing signs that   Santa and his reindeers  will  be  grounded  this  Christmas, it was decided to launch  a  premature  happy new year  with  stampeding , frequent flyer  jumbos, above, from the  front cover of  the January 1,l953 edition of  Flight , the  world's first aeronautical magazine .

Christmas birds bring joy 

A short  item in a festive mood  said the Fairey Aviation Company  recent annual Christmas party was brighter than usual because it coincided with the synchronised announcement  in England and Australia that the Royal Australian Navy  had placed an order for 40 Gannet planes at a cost of  3,200,000 pounds. Most would be used for anti-submarine work, three for training. It pointed out Australia had experience  with Fireflies,some of which had been on HMAS Sydney in Korean waters. 

Japanese  wartime  film footage  

 Captured Japanese film footage  was  mentioned in a review of  an episode in the  BBC television  series, Victory at Sea,  which showed how  Rabaul  was  first encircled and then neutralized . Some of the footage included close ups of twin-engine Mitsubishi Nell bombers taking off from Rabaul for a heavy attack on Allied shipping.

 Other impressive footage included  a fly over for   the Japanese  emperor of about 20 Kawanishi Mavis  naval flying boats  and a much larger formation of unidentified   fighters.

American aircraft were shown softening up Munda, Rendova and  Bougainville.It went on to say Australian advances in New Guinea  and the occupation of several atolls in the  Admiralty  and Mathias groups of islands to the north then completed the Allied ring around Rabaul. 

QANTAS interested in Comets?

In a gesture of friendship, BOAC offered to let the Australian airline  take delivery of six of its 26 Britannias, provided it placed a firm order with the  Bristol Aeroplane Company.

Qantas acceptance, it was stated, would  speed the start of British trans-world services by turbo-prop aircraft and also prime pump export sales of the Britannia. 

Australia's reaction to the proposal  was not known. During a recent visit the Qantas chairman,Mr Hudson Fysh, gave the impression that he was more likely to order Comet 3s than  Britannias

Atomic powered Flying Saucers?

The possibiity of developing a flying saucer was  raised in correspondence ,saying it would have the ability to hover, move forward,sideways or vertically upwards.

There was only one type of aerodynamic design which possessed these characteristics -the helicopter/Autogiro.To overcome the limitations of a helicopter, a flying saucer type could have an atomic energy power plant .

The magazine carried a photo with caption  of a  four engined  D.H.Heron ,the first to be delivered to Butler Air Transport ,at Sydney, the centre of the company's 3000 mile network of domestic routes.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Tuesday, November 24, 2020


 There  was a time  in  the l980s  when  Townsville  really rocked .  Townsville's community radio station 4TTT-FM  and the Townsville Rock Association organised many  musical gigs , including well attended battles of  the  bands in  various venues .

The TRA  issued a  TRAM CARD  , which entitled the holder to attend one special  performance per calendar month  and  reduced  price entry to  other  venues  and  concerts.   

One of the  bands in town  was  deceptively called  the Pensioners ,who  wheeled in from  south , where they were known as the Riff Raff, which had an  ominous ring . .   

Because people thought Pensioners were into oldtime music, maybe barn dancing , perhaps with  a  bingo call , at  first,  they did not attract  many  people  to  their  performances. 

However, these pensioners   were the  wild kind - into  sex, drugs and rock and roll , playing  deafening music. They were  anti - Disco music, wore black T-shirts , with  the  message "Disco Sucks." 

Their  wild   parties  were  notorious . At the last one , police cars were damaged, gendarmes  were supposedly  kicked in the groin. Ouch! The  Pensioners  were   thrown  into   the  clink ,some probably wilfully  throwing  themselves  on  the end of an  officer's  boot , repeatedly.

The   troublesome Pensioners  were escorted  out of  town and firmly  told never to come back like  a  boomerang .  They reportedly retreated to Adelaide  where  they  cheekily  described themselves  as  the band found on Townsville's rubbish dump. 

Nowadays Townsville has   a  lively,  well  behaved   popular band of  mature  age musos-not pensioners-  called  Midlife  Crisis , recently hired to  perform at  a wedding  reception, not the kind of function at which  the outrageous  Pensioners  would  be asked  to  perform . 

Monday, November 23, 2020



Months  ago,  this blog was    given  the  privilege  of rapidly    looking through  part of  a  mixed  collection of  memorabilia , mainly the section  dealing with  New Zealand, and allowed   to  photograph items of  interest .  A  faded   and  foxed  odd    postcard, above,   was snapped  in  passing.  without paying much attention . Downloaded into the  Little Darwin computer  it  almost  became  lost  as  attention  was  given  to  the interesting  Kiwi  postcards  covering  politics and  Maoris, the  demise of  the  giant  flightless bird, the  Moa   .  However,  it  surfaced a  few days ago  while looking  for  a particular  postcard, and   demanded  close   examination .
It  was   headed  FINITO MUSSOLINI , the  jowly , helmeted   Benito Mussolini, the   Italian former  policeman and journalist  , founder and leader of the National Fascist Party  , WWll  prime minister ,said to  have been shot dead  by  partisans  and  hung  upside  down with his mistress, Claretta Petacci , could  be discerned .   But  wait, there was  more  to the scene ,see below . Inverted  it  revealed   what   appeared  to  be  an Australian soldier , in  a  slouch  hat,  flushing   Il   Duce  down  the  toilet.  .

Over the years  there were  several  versions  of  Mussolini's death, which took place two days before  Adolf Hitler suicided , including  sensational  claims  that it  was part of a British special forces operation aimed at retrieving compromising " secret agreements" and correspondence  with   Winston Churchill  that  Mussolini  had allegedly been  carrying  when  he  was  captured.

Sunday, November 22, 2020



Abra series .


 The Northern Territory's  first Commissioner of Police, Major George Vernon Dudley, who had received the Military Cross and DSO during WWl,  had  deserted    from  the Royal Irish Constabulary in 1922 ; he  eventually  came   to  Australia  after serving  in the British South African Police Force   and  even the Royal  Canadian Mounties .

He had been involved in "Bloody Sunday" at Dublin's Croke Park on November 21,1920 where police opened fire on a crowd of 5000 at a Gaelic football match between Tipperary and Dublin. Seven were shot dead, one a footballer, five were fatally wounded, two were trampled to death .

The  terrible event , during the Irish War of  Independence , began when the Irish Republican Army (IRA)set out to assassinate the  Cairo Gang , a team of British undercover agents  working and living in Dublin. Most were  British Army officers ,one a member of the   Royal Irish Constabulary. In the raids , 13 were  killed  and six wounded.

Later that afternoon  a  convoy of  British  security forces ,police and auxiliaries approached the  park  with  orders  to  surround  the  grounds , guard the exits and search  everyone   for  weapons .

However . when the police arrived  it was said  they had been fired  on first by  IRA sentries , a claim not proven. Police kept shooting for  90 seconds  and their commander , Major Mills, later admitted his men were " excited and out of hand."

At a court of inquiry, there were  two, the findings  kept secret for many years ,  it  was said by the time major Dudley reached the ground  the worst of  the incident had passed . One account said  Dudley was directing traffic in the police convoy . Black and Tans   from the leading vehicles rushed down the  passage at the Canal End exit , forced their way through the turnstiles onto the  field  and started firing rapidly. Major Dudley  gave a business like account  of what happened at the inquiry, saying that he went into the grounds  and told everyone  within hearing  to put up their hands  and keep still . From that time  there had been no shooting  from his side of the ground 

On February 2, 1922,  at Londonderry Prison, he was charged with embezzlement   of 347 pounds  16 shillings  and eightpence ; he  subsequently deserted and  in  his absence was dismissed  from the force by  the  Chief of  Police .

On January 10, 1923, Dudley , in Fiji,  wrote seeking a  job in the Northern Territory Police Force , stating he had  been  in the Royal Irish Constabulary until "the demobilisation."

During his time as the NT Commissioner of Police  he travelled far and  wide, got along well with officers, but had a drinking problem and  became hopelessly in debt to various people , including  Chinese  shopkeepers and publicans. 

Territory  Administrator , F. C.Urquhart, a former Queensland Police Commissioner, expressed concern about Major Dudley,pictured, over his "want of discretion" in respect of visiting hotels and "occasional indulgences" in  liquor, which had  given "rise to remarks." His appointment as  Commissioner was terminated  from  December 31,1927.

Following  this, he served  in the Victorian Police Force , enrolled for WWll and served as a drill sergeant in the Royal Australian Air Force, became a court attendant in the High Court of Australian and the Supreme Court of  NSW , a commissionaire at the Rural Bank of NSW and  was  crushed to death  by a ferry at  Sydney's  Neutral Bay wharf  in  1949. 

Author Jim Herlihy's comprehensive book on the Royal Irish Constabulary  ,  with further  information on  Major Dudley ,  tells how in  the period 1816 to 1922 some 85,000 men served in the Royal Irish Constabulary and its predecessor forces. It tells how to  find  information on these policemen, providing an excellent resource for those interested in the history of the RIC, and the revolutionary period generally.

Chapters on the history of policing in Ireland (to illustrate the type of men in the force, their backgrounds and their lifestyles etc.), are followed by a section on tracing ancestors in the RIC.

This new edition details members of the RIC who were rewarded for their service during the Young Ireland Rising, 1848, the Fenian Rising, 1867, the Easter Rising, 1916 and the War of Independence, 1919–21. Also identified are members of the RIC who were killed in the line of duty from 1916 to 1922, members who volunteered for service in the Mounted Staff Corps or the Commissariat during the Crimean War, members who served as drivers or orderlies on secondment to the Irish Hospital Corps in the Boer War in 1900, as well as members who volunteered and served in the British Army in the First World War. RIC recipients of the Constabulary Medal (Ireland), the King’s Police Medal or the King George V, Coronation (Police) Medal, 1911, are also listed, as are ex-RIC men who transferred to the Garda Síochána or the Royal Ulster Constabulary in 1922 and received bravery medals.
The writer of this article supplied  information  about  Major Dudley to Irish journalist Michael Foley who was  researching  Bloody Sunday for a book,The Bloodied  Fieldmentioned on  the  ABC  overnight.

Saturday, November 21, 2020


A North Queensland church  white board , photographed by  one  of  our worshipful  followers, carried   the  startling   instruction : LOVE THY NEIGHBOUR'S WIFE .  

The bottom part of the   board seemingly illustrates  the  massive  fireworks that  can  result when  you  obey  the  unGodly  command  to  caress  the  lady  nextdoor. It is not a  Mormon  Church .

Friday, November 20, 2020


Equine study by Aeronautical Correspondent  Abra .

Thursday, November 19, 2020


 The month of November  has  so far been  marked throughout  Australia   by  ceremonies and media coverage  of   the  anniversaries  of  the  end  of  World  War  l, Remembrance Day and   the  sacking of  the  Whitlam Government  by   the  Governor-General, John Kerr. However, seemingly  completely neglected by  the local  media and that of the  military garrison city  of Townsville, have been  Darwin  events  marking  the   East Timor struggle ,especially  the  Dili Massacre  at  Santa  Cruz Cemetery on  November  12 , 1991.

From Brisbane, where he is  undergoing treatment for throat cancer, Max Stahl, whose award winning film  of the  massacre  shocked the world , sent  the following graphic  account of  the  atrocity  to  Darwin . 

 The nights leading up to the morning of November 12,1991 have never left me. On the 8th of November I was in a tunnel under a dried up stream bed talking to commander David Alex Daitula and his 8 Falintil fighters. Within 10 kilometres on all sides, he said, were 3000 Indonesian soldiers. A group of 30 were about 500 metres away. When a messenger- a boy arrived with mail, sent the day before, requesting my presence in Dili.

I left that night with Maun Bulak - brother nutcase- who guided me over the river, through the rice fields, and took my video tapes, before I left him to continue alone walking on the main road to Baucau, trusting in brother Bulak whose madness was wiser in Timor than all the Indonesian officers educated in American military schools.

The next night, I spent in the Baucau army police base explaining how I had missed the bus, whilst Maun Bulak delivered my tapes to the home of Jose Ramos Horta's brother Arsenio, whose wife,Edit Macaren, has worked the Resistance communications under the  noses of the Indonesian military who believed Arsenio was in their pocket. 

On the morning of the 12 November the kids in Edit and Arsenio’s house dug up a Portuguese flag and another revolutionary banner, the flag of the BNU bank, buried in a tin box in the garden, and spread it out for my camera before I left for the Motael church.

There Fr Ricardo, later Bishop Ricardo, said a mass I have watched on my video tape so often since that I feel I know every young face who came for communion, some who died that day, some who survived being shot an hour later, or lived to tell the world how they were poisoned at the military hospital.

What I remember most and about all of these Timorese people who cooperated silently, across the country without a word exchanged between them that day, was the modesty, the decency, young and veterans of 16 years of suffering and slaughter, those recognized today as great heroes like David Alex, fighting and surviving against incredible odds, those like Aviano Faria, who stood up suddenly like a ghost in the morgue shocking the Indonesian soldiers when he saw the consequences of the medication they were giving to the wounded who screamed too much; like Amali, barely 16 years old, who lined up for holy communion, and an hour later refused to run,facing down instead the Indonesian guns whilst he supported another young man he hardly knew who was bathed in blood after being shot and stabbed 5 times, an image today immortalised in a statue outside the Motael church in Dili.

The message that these people gave my camera was not brutal, despite all the brutality they had lived through, or even heroic, despite their willingness to give their lives. It was a message of dignity. Dignity which may never be recognised, dignity in the face of brutality, of anger of the madness all around. Their dignity might have been like so many others a passing moment in the death of yet one more human being, helpless against the abuse and cruelty of ignorance and power.

But by a miracle that day it was not. That message of dignity I filmed, and put on TV around the world transformed the prospects of not just of those who came out peacefully to protest on the 12 of November, not just of those in the resistance that made them who they were, not just of the guerrilla fighters whose struggle defied all military logic, but even of many other peoples across the world who had lost hope.

We still don’t know precisely how many people died on the morning of the 12 of November when the Indonesian soldiers opened fire on  peaceful, unarmed protestors outside the Santa Cruz  Cemetery. Was it the 68 named in the Santa Cruz Committee with surnames and photographs attached, or 270 named with first names at the time, or how many of the disappeared reappeared, how many of the wounded may have survived and for how long. 

Some died of physical injuries, some of psychological injuries much later. But the message that day of decency and dignity stood in such sharp contrast with the Indonesian lies and callous talk of enemies, that five years later the Nobel committee in Norway gave two great sons of Timor the Nobel Peace Prize, and eight years later the world intervened, finally, after so many years of shamefully ignoring mass murder in Timor to ensure a referendum was held, and then again after hundreds of thousands put their lives on the line one last time in September 1999, returned to see the result was enforced.

Sometimes dignity can change the world. For this insight I thank those people who resisted quietly, without bluster, in what seemed like a hopeless cause, and showed that sometimes faith really can move mountains and values shared across generations, from mountains to cities, from a small island abandoned and forgotten around the world, can conquer arrogance and murder, against all the odds.

This was a  message that liberated a nation and rekindled hope in a world of despair . I thank them to this day and I Thank you all ,Timorese, and friends of Timor, who today bear witness to the sacrifice they made.  Let us all  carry on the struggle for dignity  against all odds , for which those young people died  on 12  November 1991.

A copy  of this message was sent to  longtime East Timor supporter , Robert Wesley-Smith, who attended  a massacre ceremony   at  a  special section in  a  Darwin cemetery  where there is a cross  dedicated  to  victims of   the  East Timor struggle. A mass was  held some days later in the Portuguese Timorese  Club  , where  a  Timor-Leste  nun sang Ave  Maria . In  Darwin  , from  Canberra , was  the Timor-Leste  Ambassadress  to Australia , Ines Almeida , who  called on  Wesley-Smith  at   his  rural  residence ,which includes  a  collection of  Timor-Leste  craft .    

There  will be a flag raising  ceremony  in  Darwin  later this month   to mark  the  fateful day  in  November   l975  in Dili  when  Fretilin  bravely   declared  East Timor  an independent   republic  , only  to be invaded by Indonesia nine  days later  and be  subjected   to   occupation  for  nearly a  quarter  of  a  century  before they were  granted the  right  to vote  for  freedom  due  to  belated  international   pressure . 
Townsville has a strong connection with Timor  through military personnel who served  there  ; a  popular city barber shop which featured military items  included   a  riot shield   from  there .  

Tuesday, November 17, 2020


 An  odd look at  life  on  Magnetic Island  

The new owners  of  the  Horseshoe Bay convenience  store must wonder  if  they are  seeing a mirage when they look out the front door  and see  sights like the above  , because we hear they have come  from way out in the hot and dusty west of the state . It sure  is  a change  in  lifestyle  and  outlook.

On  an island notice board ,tucked  away near the bottom of  a  beaut  garage  sale  this   weekend , is mention of  pre-loved Scottish kilts. Itchy trigger finger  gel  blasters are invited to contact Warren . 

Another public notice ,featuring a  banana, is  an invite to  view a 75 minute documentary in Townsville  on food waste and rescue , pointing out nearly half our  tucker  ends in  the bin , bananas no exception .  


Identified as a  Port Darwin native , this  is one of 51 photographs in an  album compiled by French naturalist Philippe Francois (1859-1908), who visited Australia in 1888 , which is on sale  by  Douglas Stewart Fine Books, Melbourne , for $30,000.

 Francois passed through Victoria and New South Wales on his way to New Caledonia and the New Hebrides  where he carried out   research into  coral reefs . He made a return  voyage there in 1893-l895. Taken by commercial photographers, the  collection includes Australian Aborigines, Victorian goldmines ,wool transport on the Murray River , views of Melbourne and Sydney . A large part of  the  natural  history specimens and ethnographic artefacts  built up  by   Francois  were  bequeathed  to  French  institutions .



Within a short time of having lost to Barking Owls their two young chicks hatched the day of the recent  Queensland election, Curlews  have produced  an egg  of  which they are  very  protective . 


You have to wonder if Magnetic Island is part of a parallel universe . In a startling statement , a woman declared she had seen none other than the great American novelist and  short story writer Ernest Hemingway, or his double, walking about a shopping centre.  

An adventurous  and  literary minded  island resident , a researcher  with a swag of fabulous stories, who  has  penned  illustrated works  on  exotic subjects ,some for New Zealand , is the spitting image of  Australian playwright  David  Williamson .

Some years ago, lined up to board a  plane at Tullamarine Airport, Melbourne, the tall  island man looked  across the way and spotted tall   Williamson in another  queue . Both  just  stood  there- closely examining each other, without speaking.. 

The ABC recently ran an interview with Williamson  which highlighted  the effect of COVID-19 on the staging of  his  latest  play.  The similarity between the  two  men  was  apparent  and  remarked upon  in the   Little Darwin den. 

Just recently some Americans told the islander there is a person who looks like him in a South Australian vineyardLike  Hemingway , the   islander   spent   time  in  Africa when  he  was a  young  man. In  his house are two  large  photographic  panels  depicting him  during  those  travels , one  in Egypt with the  pyramids . He  also spent  time  in  the Northern Territory .

Monday, November 16, 2020


 A  prominent North  Queensland   resident  waged  a  lengthy campaign to try and stop Australia being swamped by American culture.  He was the now almost forgotten Townsville  chartered  accountant , poet, singer, composer and actor, the late John Ashe, pictured above on the front of an album . There was a time when Ashe was regarded as one of Australia’s best ballad writers. In 1964 , Ashe wrote Townsville’s centenary song Queen City of the North . Selected as an interesting Australian for the l988 Australian Bicentennial series Yarn Spinners, he was taped in  Townsville  community radio station  4TTFM recalling various events , including World War 1 peace celebrations in Townsville .

Over the years  his distinctively Australian songs received much airplay on 4TTT. Dubbed “one of the last Dinkum Aussies”, he ran a half century long campaign to help Australia develop a country music/ballad “soul”. Ashe deplored the ever- growing signs in his lifetime that Australia was being taken over by everything American. Australians, he lamented, would rather sing of Texas than their own country .

By Peter Simon

With a great sense of humour , a love of literature and classical music , he composed and sang scores of rollicking Australian songs. Some of  his early ones were sung to troops in the jungles of New Guinea and played by military bands in Australian Army camps. A prominent American country singer , Wilf Carter , sang an Ashe composition in a special tribute to Australian country music in the l960s.

Breaker Morant , bushrangers Ned Kelly and Ben Hall , drovers , flying doctors , coppers, two-up, the Melbourne Cup , bush race meetings and juvenile delinquents became subjects for Ashe’s songs. Ashe was included in the Festival LP Lights of Cobb and Co along with Tex Morton , Leonard Teale and Chips Rafferty. The ABC used his song Game As Ned Kelly in a television documentary Changing Matilda – the New Australia which was screened on American television. Slim Dusty , a close friend, sang several of Ashe’s tunes .

He received support for his campaign to increase the nation’s interest in its own roots from a former New Guinea magistrateReginald Arthur Vivian . Vivian had retired to Magnetic Island, off Townsville  . From Melbourne, Vivian had spent many years in the outback and on his retirement , under the name Aldus Thurian , penned verse which “oozed the Aussie spirit”. He had a “ devastating sense of humour ” and also wrote six songs . Vivian told Ashe he , too, was heartily sick of the American jazz beat which flooded the airwaves , and lamented that Australia had no folk songs apart from Waltzing Matilda.

The two  agreed it had been unfortunate that early Australia had not produced a folk balladist like the American Stephen Foster . Foster , who died in poverty in l864, gave America a sense of nationhood through songs like The Campdown Races , My Old Kentucky Home , Beautiful Dreamer and I Dream of Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair .

Oddly enough , these two critics of the American takeover of Australia converted some Stephen Foster songs to ones with an Australian touch. Unfortunately, Vivian had no sense of rhythm , so Ashe got him to write lyrics to existing tunes . Their first joint effort was Julia , a “twin” of the Foster song, Clementine . Ashe gave the song a “ corny ” finish and it was sung by Grace Newman who in her teens had studied opera in Sydney and performed in many bands. Wilfred Thomas liked the sheet music and the record was eventually played on the ABC.

In the months before he died , aged 70, on July 23,l948, Vivian sent Ashe lyrics for more than a dozen songs , most “really terrible”. One , however, So Long, based on a similarly titled American hit parade tune , captured the Stephen Foster style , but in an Australian way. Ashe said Vivian had put " dynamite " into the song and a Townsville band led by Bill Tinker was told to swing hell out of it for a recording . Ashe so liked the song that when it was played at private parties it incited him to “ do my hula , crossed with a snake dance . ”

Australia, Ashe said, was being submerged by American culture through films, records, radio and television . It got to a stage where most Australian artists were singing about the USA , even with an American accent. In his song Celebratin’ Australia Day Ashe had Australians rocking to the latest Yankee hit and kids in blue jeans not knowing the words of Waltzing Matilda or  the  meaning of  the  term swaggie .

His songs often bore zany titles and had humorous lyrics. A warning to all damsels was included in the ballad When the Sheila From Biloela Met the Stinker from Innamincka . And they don’t write songs today like The Bandy Trollop from Bandiwallop who got involved with a politician ,although a recent ABC documentary  about  Canberra  may cause an outburst of  similar  hits  by Sammy J  and  even  Randy  Rainbow in  the  US of A . 

Flying Fox Frolic was well received in North Queensland where the fruit bats cavort at night , mauling mangoes and pawpaws , leaving unwanted deposits in water tanks . The song was so popular that he was asked to sing it at many Townsville functions . His “true” story of the famous dog on the tucker box at Gundagai received much airplay throughout Australia as did Goanna Rock .

In the l970s, Ashe noted an upsurge of interest in all things Australian and his distinctive songs were in demand , some records being reissued and new ones cut . RCA, E.M.I and Festival brought out LP albums of his , the songs inspired by “ real Australians ” in North Queensland and Out West.

Ashe composed most of the songs for an American produced LP entitled Songs of the Great Barrier Reef , performed by Rod Rogers and the Tropical Island Serenaders. The songs were about  Green, Hayman, Magnetic , Orpheus  and  the Whitsunday islands.

In l978 he wrote and recorded Dam The Burdekin with the Bill Beldan Trio in the Peacock Room of Townsville’s Lowth’s Hotel . The record urged that the Burdekin River be harnessed for the benefit of Townsville and the rest of North Queensland.

His whimsical approach to life came through in his poetry , although not evident in Songs of Sentiment , dealing with love , which had a preface by Henry Lawson authority and literary critic, the late Dr Colin Roderick of James Cook University . In part, Roderick wrote :... (Ashe) seeks candidly to depict the attraction of woman for man , the dawn of love, its highnoon of ecstacy , its grey hours of disillusion, its bleak midnight of rejection – and the quiet hours of philosophical compensation … Ashe was a frequent visitor to Roderick’s house in Townsville and would have long discussions with him . Mrs Roderick remembered Ashe as being a likeable, garrulous person who walked everywhere because he never owned a car . As he strode about the city , being well known , he chatted to scores of people along the way .

His writing of light verse was influenced by yet another American – the Lithuanian born screenwriter, Samuel Hoffenstein , described as the poor man’s Ogden Nash . Ashe referred to him in correspondence and wrote a piece as a tribute to " the great Samuel  Hoffenstein." This work, Ashe explained, had been designed to show the futility of life, not a new discovery , the Lord Buddha having found this out 2500 years previously .