In February, 1961, Ward and Christine Keeler moved to 17 Wimpole Mews in Marylebone. According to Christine Keeler’s autobiography, The Truth at Last, Anthony Blunt and Roger Hollis, the Director General of MI5, were regular visitors to the flat. She should know and she was right.
It was Blunt who carried out the ‘clean-up’ operation after Ward’s arrest, wandering in to the Museum Street Gallery in Holborn one afternoon in July 1963 and purchasing, via a banker’s draft, all of Stephen Ward’s sketches then on display in the gallery. These works revealed nothing in themselves; however, they betrayed the extent of the circles in which Ward moved.
Princess Margaret by Stephen Ward
The sketches were of extremely prominent people and were a virtual ‘who’s who’ of the infamous Thursday Club; of whom both Blunt and Ward were members as were Prince Philip and his uncle, Louis, Lord Mountbatten. Indeed, Ward supplied the girls for the Thursday Club.
The Duke of Edinburgh by Stephen Ward
These sketches, as well as documents and photographs, would find their way into the hands of the Russian KGB and, it is said, contained ‘material which was devastating for the British Royal Family’.
Knowledge of this cache, coupled with his 1945 trips to Germany to retrieve sensitive information sent to Kaiser Wilhelm and to Adolf Hitler by prominent royals, enabled Anthony Blunt to avoid the same public skewering that befell Ward or, indeed, Blunt’s fellow Cambridge spies.
Besides which, who knows how much material was still available by the time the exhibition opened? In the book I Couldn’t Paint Golden Angels by Albert Metzler the author recalls that the Ward exhibition had been organised by a pornographer named Freddie Reid and that:
‘Before opening there would be a private sale and the public could come in on the Monday after. There was a stream of limousines to Museum Street that week as the great and good bought compromising pictures of themselves at high prices. It is a joy to think that they may have included some responsible for blacklisting the man now blackmailing them’.
Not all of Ward’s material though was obtained by Anthony Blunt for Ward shrewdly, or so he believed, deposited some of his archive with his solicitor David Jacobs.
I suspect some of you may be thinking that all of this is bordering on the unbelievable, well, let us examine some of the circles within circles and how they all interconnect.
The aforementioned David Jacobs, who represented Ward at his trial, was somewhat of a solicitor to the stars given that he also worked on behalf of celebrities including Brian Epstein, Diana Dors, Judy Garland and John Vassall. The importance of these names shall be revealed as we go, but first, let us start with Vassall.
William John Christopher Vassall was, according to Wikipedia, ‘a British civil servant who spied for the Soviet Union under pressure of homosexual blackmail’. Prior to embarking upon his civil service career, however, Vassall, the son of an Anglican vicar, had been a photographer for the RAF. Vassall had been lured to a KGB arranged party in 1954 where he indulged in some sort of ‘compromising activity’ with another male.
This activity was secretly photographed and the classic ‘honeytrap’ was sprung. Vassall was now entirely in the hands of his KGB tormentors and would go on to provide a steady supply of high-class, confidential material for his Soviet paymasters. This work would prove lucrative; indeed lucrative enough for him to be able to purchase a luxurious flat at Dolphin Square, near the River Thames in Pimlico in London, from where he would throw lavish parties.
Dolphin Square was at one time home to some 70 MPs and 10 Lords and its other notable residents have included Princess Anne, Harold Wilson and David Steel as well as the odious fascist Oswald Mosley. MI5 would take full advantage of Dolphin Square’s facilities and use it as a deluxe pied-à-terre for its undercover agents. Generally undercover agents could expect to find themselves having to blend in to just about any environment, so it is telling in the extreme then that MI5 felt the best place to locate them was at the very heart of the great and the good of the British Establishment! The MI5 operative, MP and journalist Tom Driberg reported back all his secrets to MI5 top-cheese Maxwell Knight – codenamed M - via a flat in Dolphin Square.
Another Dolphin Square resident, and fellow Thursday Club member, was the photographer Anthony Beauchamp and he, like Vassall, was also fond of throwing the odd soiree, or two, from within its gilded environs. Beauchamp was the husband of Sarah Churchill who was the daughter of Britain’s wartime leader Sir Winston Churchill who, in turn, had been a client of Dr Stephen Ward and his healing osteopathic hands. Moreover Beauchamp had been the appointed keeper of the Thursday Club records, which included numerous drawings, notes and pictures capturing the sordid shenanigans of the clubs illustrious members.
Beauchamp and Churchill
Beauchamp also photographed Vicki Martin who was one of Ward’s early protégées and who had been engaged to the Maharajah of Cooch Behar before she died in a dreadful car crash. Martin was also the best friend of Ruth Ellis, who had embraced infamy herself when she became the last female to be hung in Britain. Ellis was yet another member of Ward’s extraordinary stable of girls and we shall return to both Vicki Martin and Ruth Ellis in due course. Anthony Beauchamp, however, would commit ‘suicide’ in 1957 after overdosing on sleeping tablets.
A recurring theme throughout this narrative will be the alarming insouciance the dramatis personae displayed toward their own mortality. Far more than can be coincidental will die, supposedly, at their own hands.
But back to Dolphin Square; that we have established was synonymous for its resident’s wild parties, its A-list clientele and its convenient proximity to the Palace of Westminster; however, one might even conclude that it was also a hub for all that was sick and perverted about the more powerful movers and shakers of the twentieth century.
Indeed, this conclusion may gain further validity when we factor in that two of its more famous ex-residents include my old friends Christine Keeler and Mandy Rice-Davies. Now whatever else Chrissie and Mandy may have been, powerful movers and shakers they were most certainly not. So, why were they there?
Well, somebody else who was also most certainly not a mover or a shaker but yet also knew the interiors, and ceilings, of Dolphin Square intimately was one Hannah Tailford.
Tailford was a west London prostitute who had been attending parties at the Square since 1962; she would die, just two years later, in ‘64 after having seemingly falling victim to a serial killer who the press later christened ‘Jack the Stripper’. As with the papers pertaining to the Profumo scandal the documents concerning the Stripper killings also remain unavailable for public scrutiny. These will remain under lock and key until 2050. Anyone would think someone had something to hide!
Back in 1888 the dim and murky alleyways of London’s East End had reverberated with shock and horror to a series of gruesome unsolved murders. The victims, all brasses* of various ages and states of road-worthiness, died beneath a volley of frenzied, slashing knife strokes that shocked both prince and pauper alike. In the process the world gained a bogeyman of unparalleled fame and the legend of Jack the Ripper was born. Saucy Jack ushered in the modern era of the serial killer.
*Brass – Cockney rhyming slang meaning brass door = whore.
By the late ‘50s and early ‘60s another whore killer stalked London’s streets; though this time it was the byways of the west, rather than the east that were his deadly domain.
Whilst attracting plenty of column inches at the time these killings would never share the kind of legacy that had been bequeathed by their Victorian counterpart, however, the similarities did incline the gentlemen of Fleet Street to append their stories of the slayings with a friendly sobriquet, or three. Hence the attacks became known as the Jack the Stripper murders, the Hammersmith nudes or the Thames torsos.
With the dubious benefit of hindsight the killer’s reign of terror is now generally believed to have begun with the death of one Elizabeth Figg. Figg was found sitting under a tree at Duke’s Meadow in Chiswick, on the north side of the River Thames, in 1959. She looked just like she was sleeping but, on closer inspection, it was discovered that she was dead and had been strangled. This one fact, when combined with the proximity of her lifeless carcass to the river, and the reality that she had been a prostitute would be enough to deposit her name on to the list of Stripper Killer victims once the bodies of Gwynneth Rees and Hannah Tailford had subsequently been discovered in ‘63 and ‘64.
I do not believe though that Figg ever met the Stripper Killer; however, her demise provides a neat introduction to a series of killings that are highly pertinent to this little tale and the stories of these poor unfortunates will be weaved into the narrative from here on in.
Now little Betty may have been partial to a Figg Roll* in the back of a motor in return for a handful of shekels, however, the girl wearing no knickers under her blue and white dress found propped against the willow tree by the Thames shared little in common with the other victims, other than she was a prostitute who had been strangled.
*Fig Roll – biscuit based item of confectionary used in a childish attempt by the author to utilise a euphemistic pun as a form of sophisticated humour – it is not!
So, let us return to Hannah Tailford. Just four weeks prior to her death she had attended one of these Dolphin Square parties in the company of a man named Andre Padoux who worked at the time at the French embassy in London. Padoux is now an author on Yoga and Tantric mantras and is a so-called master of sex magic.
Padoux’s tantra mantra
Whilst our Hannah, to be fair, was just a low-grade, low-class whore whose usual place of employment was the back seat of a Ford Zodiac; so just what was she doing in such high company and within such luxurious surroundings? Was she instructing the Gallic love god in the finer arts of the wow-him powwow or the torrid tidal wave? Was she bollocks!
When Tailford’s bloated corpse washed up in the Thames it was discovered that she had consumed a large quantity of the rivers fetid water – meaning she was alive when she entered it - this being despite the fact that her soiled knickers had been stuffed, unceremoniously, inside her mouth. Moreover, these knickers bore traces of semen as did her vagina and rectum. She had, according to the autopsy, been strangled and had lost some teeth; however, the cause of death was recorded not as strangulation but as drowning.
We do not know where Hannah had been for her final bunk up; however, I guess the location of Dolphin Square, right next to the Thames from where Hannah’s body was later dragged, is just coincidental right?
One can only speculate as to what she had been participating in immediately prior to her death, and in due course we shall do just that; however, given that she was known to attend parties at Dolphin Square, and given that one such party had taken place just a few weeks prior, and that we know these parties were attended by professional photographers like Anthony Beauchamp and self-declared sex gurus such as Padoux, and given that we know that Dolphin Square was home to both spies and the secret services, one possible speculation is that she had been involved in, to some extent, the procurement of compromising photographic and/or cinematic materials for the purpose of blackmail. This speculation gains further validity when it is considered alongside the claim of one of the leading authors on the ‘Stripper’ murders, Brian McConnell, who stated in his book Found Naked and Dead that Hannah had had access to a photographic studio and developing equipment in Victoria in London.
Brian McConnell was a contemporary of another investigative author on the ‘Jack the Stripper’ murders; a guy named David Seabrook. Indeed his book Jack of Jumps was an enormous help to me in my researches. In 2009 Seabrook was discovered dead in his flat, having quite possibly been murdered. At the time of his death he was writing a biography of the show-business lawyer David Jacobs! One can only speculate as to what little pearls of historical wisdom Seabrook may have been about to go public with concerning Jacobs. Circles within circles.
Jacobs, as we know, had acquired a reputation for representing the rich and famous; he had worked on behalf of Marlene Dietrich, Judy Garland, Liberace and the Rolling Stones as well as the clients already mentioned. He did not, however, represent the Kray twins despite their rumoured plea for his assistance following their 1968 arrest for murder.
The Krays did, though, know Lord Boothby. In 1964 Boothby successfully sued the Sunday Mirror newspaper for publishing a photo entitled ‘A Peer and a Gangster’, in which we see Boothby, Ronnie Kray and petty criminal Leslie Holt sitting on a settee having a cheeky smoke.
From Kraydle to grave: the gangster and the peer
For the uninitiated amongst us the Kray Twins were underworld crime barons who specialised in extracting money with menaces, principally by running so-called protection rackets from the pubs and clubs of their native East End of London. However, as their reputation began to precede them their extortion techniques expanded; as did their social circle.
This social circle brought them into contact with Boothby, who was, at that time, involved in a long running affair with the wife of the then Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan. It is rumoured that Boothby was also, or had been, having an affair with the Queen Mother. True or not, and however utterly repellent the mental image that conjures up may be, Boothby had clearly ‘never had it so good’. His association with the Krays seems to have provided a heaven made relationship for both the bisexual Ronnie Kray; as Boothby introduced him to the stiffer-lipped, old-school-tie kind of homosexual, and Boothby; as Kray returned the favour by providing the peer with an endless supply of far younger, more working-class, bits of rough.
This, in time, developed into a scene in which Boothby became a regular at orgies thrown by the twins in the East End at which Boothby abused both the Kray’s hospitality and a never ending supply of rent-boys, runaways and care home residents. It has been said that Boothby used to enjoy lying under a glass-topped table whilst young boys took a dump on it from above. It makes a change, I suppose, those Tory bastards are usually the ones shitting on everyone else!
Stephen Ward once told me all of the kids at the Dr Barnardo’s home he worked at for free as a councillor had been sexually abused at some time. But anything untoward at Dr Barnardo’s stopped when Heywood (Johnny) Jones rose in the ranks and took over. Johnny ran a tight ship, suffered no excuses and was very hands-on, often doing surprise inspections. He even sacked a few people.
No wonder his co-workers called him ‘The Sergeant Major’. That was the nicest name he was called, others used different terms.
Johnny Jones lived around the corner to me, in the poorest street in what was a fairly well to-do town in south-east London. Everyone knew him, he was a nice man when not suffering one of his ‘black-moods’, but then he would sit in the dark in the front room and avoid people. He had his pride.
I knew his son, we were only months apart in age and we used to kick a ball about together and were in the same cub pack, so I often visited. You probably knew him better as David Bowie.
I liked Johnny, despite his problems he was one of the good guys, and I was thus, at a suitable age, invited down to Dr Barnardo’s; Johnny driving me there in the tiny Fiat 500 two-seater that came with the job. It was where I saw a man I’d seen before at the Harley Street practices and at Leonard Cheshire’s care-home. It was the aforementioned Stephen Ward who used to help Leonard and Sue Ryder for free too. He used to hypnotise the kids and dig out the problem and try to deal with it. “No point in pushing it deeper, that’s short-term, these things usually surface sometime and can cause even worse problems. Better to try and deal with it now, with a young, unformed, mind.”
Of course at the time I thought this was perfectly honourable and charitable, I was only a child myself, but re-reading an old newspaper article, years later, did make me question his motives.
‘Dr Ward…had full control over my mind’; so said Christine Keeler, in court and under oath no less!
What, exactly, did she mean by that? I now believe that Ward was trained by the CIA to be a mind-control agent. Ward spent four years living in the United States in the thirties; it was where he trained to be an osteopath and gained his Dr prefix. Also, Ward was never a stretcher-bearer Corporal during the war as it says at Wikipedia, but was, in fact, seconded to military intelligence.
Everybody in intelligence during the war operated under a false name and identity so as to stop the Nazis kidnapping relatives and forcing Intel people to work for them. So it was with Ward. He was a Lieutenant in rank and, after being seconded to work with Sir Archie McIndoe during the Battle of Britain helping with the burned pilots, he worked on a secret programme for the USA, called Project Monarch. This involved mind-control, remote viewing and other weird stuff. Ward was good at that sort of thing. Keeler often said ‘Ward controlled her’. She wasn’t understood, but she was saying it as it was, Ward could work her like a puppet just by looking at her.
I now wonder if he ever had control over me. I certainly don’t think so, but then I was never sure what was really happening in those sessions up at Harley Street. It was after those sessions that Ward started sketching and photographing me.
Ward applying his healing hands upon me
I began modelling for him because he thought I was a good subject. He liked my mother and we used to visit him sometimes, or he visited us if he was lonely. Our medical work though had expanded drastically including into, on many occasions, illegal research.
Ward was the front-man: Miller, Asher, Cilento, McIndoe and a surgeon called ‘Doc’, the guy I started working for though I forget his real name, were the main players but they had to be careful. They daren’t get struck-off but Ward said he was expendable (he was interested, he needed a hobby and he needed friends he otherwise wouldn’t have). Thus I spent time, quality time, with Ward, often sleeping over.
I met loads of people he knew, George Harrison Marks included. I met Beate Uhse, the German woman fighter pilot who became Germany’s porno-queen who was into some of the things my medical people were; sex education being one aspect. I modelled with her and Mandy as Harrison Marks and Ward filmed a prototype education film.
It luckily coincided with our research at that point, so we were halfway there anyway, saving time. Ward asked me to ‘step over the line’, so to speak, to help him make this film. As I knew and loved the couple involved I didn’t hesitate. We saved their lives, well his certainly. I was promised a girlfriend to fully research the project but they had a hard time finding the right girl; a slapper from Soho or a Notting Hill strumpet wasn’t going to cut the mustard, it had to be a girl I would normally fall for. And this turned out to be Mandy Rice-Davies.
The doctors were quietly involved, of course, and as it fitted in with the spider-web of research and projects they and a lot of other people were involved in - the police and social-services, for example - the film was later extended to be used as part of the sex-education curriculum in schools. Profumo’s wife, Valerie Hobson, was involved and he absolutely knew of it. We actually did four films together: three to practice on and get our hands in, so to speak - though a fine photographer, Ward knew nothing of making movies – whilst the fourth, and last, was in colour for the schools.
By this time the couple were okay, by the way; as such one film would have sufficed. They invited me home for the weekend, to thank me!
Then we moved up to Ewhurst Manor in Borehamwood where Harrison Marks shot a lot of his work. I recall Asher, Miller and Ward were trying to help the owner Alec Clifford to deal with his war wounds. A lot of psychology was needed there. I'd been here before.
Mind-control you see. Ward was working for the Yanks during the war on what I think was called Project Monarch, latterly infamous as MK-Ultra, the Cold War brainwashing scandal. This was started, as already mentioned, by the Tavistock Institute after World War I as a means of trying to restore some peace to the lives of the shell-shock victims.
They quickly realised though that there were other, more sinister, uses for the dark arts. Using our past experiences and my input they tried to devise a way to help Clifford. Apparently there were about 2,000 others in Britain alone who had the same problem; it was an important job but highly illegal. The legal, but barbaric, approach involved Dr William Sargent and his ECT and deep-sleep therapy. Essentially you were strapped to a bed and plugged into the National Grid. Believe me; you did not want that, it just fried your mind.
I began by helping the medical men to train nurses and doctors at 12 years old. There were many kids, not just me, but I only met two others. They decided I was ‘suitable and flexible’ and asked me to help with their research.
Basically they were into learning how the brain worked, but they were into other things too. Most of the time I didn’t know what they were getting up to, it was all mixed up and above my head, but they fed me well!
They got into drugs as they knew it was becoming a problem, the police wanted to train cops to deal with it, how to work out what drugs they were on etc. They supplied the drugs and were observing the tests most of the time.
The police, led by top-cops Joseph Simpson and Shirley Becke, used to supply Doctor’s Emanuel Miller and Richard Asher with the drugs they wanted to study, and used me as a guinea-pig! There would be several off-duty coppers present to see the result and work out how to deal with an acid-head.
William Sargent was different from the others, he was ‘an outsider’, the others didn't let him in on all they were up too, but they needed his input occasionally.
They never spoke of it to me but they all did work for the government at times. There was a sanatorium in Chislehurst that Ward moonlighted at. It transpired they were into weird stuff like making people madder than they already were. I know he was involved in ‘programming’ when he worked there during the war, he told me.
But I knew little about that sort of stuff otherwise.
What I do know is it’s not necessary to hurt or drug people to brainwash them. Sargent had to, as he wasn’t blessed with the psychic-abilities Ward, Asher and Miller possessed. They were all able to read minds, perform telepathy and undertake deep hypnosis. I am not kidding, I know because they were using this on me to get deep into my mind to understand how it all worked.
Strangely, they all could do it but nobody knew how it worked. It seems it was passed down by word of mouth over the centuries to those who exhibited a talent for it. William Sargent wasn’t so blessed; he could do hypnosis, but only at level 1, the one we all know about, the end-of-the-pier-show type of thing.
With this psychic ability they could go down much deeper. The command-lines needed to access the lower levels of your brain can only be implanted via telepathy, to avoid harming the patient. It has to be done a step at a time, giving the patient time to rest in-between, and more importantly, the patient must be trained over time to accept this. You don’t go deep in one go, first time, so to speak, as you will harm the patient trying that.
More importantly, coming back up is like a deep-sea diver resurfacing, it must be done in stages, just like a diver does to avoid the bends, to avoid guaranteed brain-damage.
But as you must be born with the ability only a few in the world can do it, and they are usually very secretive about it as ‘certain people’ would love to recruit them. But most of these people are men of compassion and don’t want that.
Sargent was unaware his colleagues were much better than him.
The Harley Street doctors were trying to work out how and why all this worked. They knew it did, they could do it (the actual methods having been passed down by word of mouth over the millennia) but wanted to understand the mechanics of it. Enter muggins here.
I don’t know how it ultimately ended for Alec Clifford, the ex-naval man at Ewhurst. My family emigrated to Australia taking me with them as I was too young to stay and had no money. I hope it worked out well though.
I used to visit Ewhurst with Ward and run around in the garden in nothing but my tight swimming-trunks, which caused some of the girls to get a bit frisky. I was a young teenage boy and all the girls liked me, ahem.
The artists kept cameras in their bags, and when Harrison Marks and his wife Pam Green weren’t looking fired them up and slipped the girls a fiver. It was their pocket-money! This is when I sometimes lost my trunks.
Only one in ten girls made it into the magazines that Harrison Marks was producing. Stephen Ward took photos and did his usual pencil/watercolours at Ewhurst.
Fun in the gardens at Ewhurst
George Harrison Marks and Stephen Ward were good friends. Unfortunately, I can’t give a detailed account of a lot of my memories of him. Too hard-core! The man I recall worked hard and drank hard. He often used to dress like Zorro, the bandit-hat and cape bit. He hammed it up a bit too much. But then so did Pam. They generally weren’t liked by the theatrical crowd I mixed with because of this.
Now, let’s get it straight, both were very nice people otherwise. But there was this barrier there. Pam used to come down for tea with my Mum, once they got to know each other, having met at Ward’s. My personal opinion is that she was rather lonely. I wonder what happened to her in her childhood.
Something, I’m sure. She had no close friends, apart from Peter Rachman, his wife Audrey, and Mandy. I recall they always went down to the Harrison Marks’s for Christmas.
Harrison Marks was undoubtedly a good photographer, but a crap organiser and businessman. Pam made him. A couple of times I was with them alone at home, helping out in the garden usually.
They were very laid-back people. I recall talk that they were spending far too much money on themselves and their opulent lifestyle, all to the detriment of the business. When the time came to invest they didn’t have the funds.
I recall Pam loved to cook for us all, and liked the girls to stay the night, probably so she had some company and got a good chat.
Of course the Harrison Marks’ knew people. Showbiz is like that; you must see and be seen, you must mingle with everybody who is everybody no matter how famous you are or you will miss out on a lot of work otherwise.