SHARK ATTACK: The dangers lurking in Australian waters

ALAN LUCAS

Adapted by FRANK MORRIS

THE SHARK HEADING FOR ITS PREY IN FULL ATTACK MODE.

“GO FOR YOUR LIVES, FOR GOD’S SAKE – SHARK!”

Despite it being a cloudy day, February 4, 1922 saw dozens of swimmers at Coogee Beach. Well beyond them was a young board rider named Milton/Michael Coughlan who was waiting for a break.

Coughlan cracked a wave that was too small to carry him very far; so he dropped off to wait for a more suitable wave.

That’s when he saw a shark coming straight at him. He yelled a warning to other surfers telling them to “Go for your lives, for God’s sake – shark!”

Swimmers swarmed ashore leaving young Coughlan alone with a shark that was by then in full attack mode. He wildly flailed the water and punched at the shark.

But he could not discourage it from tearing one arm off below his elbow and stripping the flesh off his other arm from shoulder to wrist.

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THE WHITE POINTER, THE ONLY ONE THEY MAKE MOVIES ABOUT. SO IT’S LABELLED THE GREAT WHITE, THE WHITE POINTER OR WHITE DEATH, AND SITS RIGHT AT THE VERY TOP OF THE UNDERWATER FOOD CHAIN. IT IS NOT THE BIGGEST SHARK IN AUSTRALIAN WATERS, BUT THE MOST DANGEROUS.

THE TIGER SHARK IS ACTUALLY A FAIRLY FRIENDLY-LOOKING FELLOW – BUT THEN SO WAS NED KELLY. SO DON’T BE FOOLED. KNOWN ONLY AS THE TIGER SHARK, THERE’S NO NEED FOR ANY OTHER NAME. THEY WON’T (GIVE UP) ONCE THEY GET A GRIP ON WHATEVER TASTY MORSEL TAKES THEIR FANCY.

SOURCE: Shark in our waters from Shark Attack by Mike Edmonds; Five Mile Press, Victoria; 2003.

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Milton Coughlan, according to reports, somehow kept fighting, despite his appalling injuries in a crimson sea.

Coogee lifesaver James Hanley was the first to respond. But another lifesaver, Jack Chalmers, beat him to it by slipping into the water closer to the victim.

Chalmers, unhesitatingly, swam for nearly forty metres to reach the bloody melee where critically injured Coughlan was still fighting for his life.

He dragged him towards the beach, embracing him with one arm while fending off the shark with the other. Interestingly, another lifesaver ran into the surf to assist Chalmers in getting the victim onto the beach.

AWARDS FOR BRAVERY

He was Australia’s champion swimmer who was later knighted for a variety of reasons. For his fortitude in Milton Coughlan’s rescue he was awarded the Royal Humane Society’s Gold Medal plus 500 pounds that he used to start an automobile tyre company.

His name was Frank Beaurepaire.

Jack Chalmers fearless response ranks as one of the bravest acts in surfing history for which he was awarded the Albert Medal for bravery, the Surf Lifesaving Association’s first bravery award called the Meritorious Award in Silver.

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ON ITS WAY …
HOME CARE A-Z: A MULTI DOSE OF SPECIAL FEATURES INCLUDES DEPRESSION, SLEEP AND YOUR ROLE AS A GRANDMOTHER. COMING.

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And a Gold Medal from the Royal Humane and Shipwreck Society.

The people of Australia were so impressed, that they sent Chalmers thousands of pounds.

As for the mutilated shark victim, Milton Coughlan was taken to Sydney Hospital where he died five minutes after being admitted.

Next: The collision between a motor launch and a 26,000-ton ship off the coast of Brisbane.

Source: Shark Attack by Alan Lucas; AFLOAT Magazine, January 2019.


REAL MURDER: George Reeves, the first TV Superman. Was it natural, or was it a killing!

Adapted by FRANK MORRIS

GEORGE REEVES WAS LAST MAN IN THE WORLD TO BUMP HIMSELF OFF, SAY THE EXPERTS.

In Benedict Canyon, Hollywood, the pallbearers at the funeral of husky, but handsome George Reeves, TV’s durable Superman and happy-go-lucky man about town, were still chatting about it.

Reeves was still a major talking point.

A .30-caliber Luger bullet through the brain had killed Reeves and the LA police called it “suicide”. One of the pallbearers, actor Alan Ladd, immediately replied: “George was the last man alive to bump himself off.”

Reeves, who was ambitious and an achiever, didn’t have the gumption to do this.

A self-proclaimed health-addict, he was young at 45 and rich. He was collecting residuals from 105 episodes of Superman, which had made him an idol to a world of kids.

In a few days he was to marry an ex-New York show girl and fly off to a honeymoon in Spain. Reeves purchased $5000 in traveller’s cheques for the trip.

His 190-pound body was found sprawled across a bed in an upper room of his home and a Luger beside it. Although Superman had ended its run some 18 months earlier, “the Man of Steel” was about to be revived.

Coroner’s finding of “indicated suicide” set off hoots and jeers by those who cried murder. They theorised that a gunman had entered the house and did the deed.

The shot was heard by Reeves’ fiancée, Lenore Lemmon. Police finally speculated that Reeves was arguing with two of the guests and he asked them to leave.

Within hours, the well-to-do mother of Reeves, Helen Lecher Bessel, walked into the Nick Harris Detectives agency and said: “I want his killer found. George would never do it. My God, I’d just talked to him and he was perfectly happy.”

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ON ITS WAY …
CAN YOU NAME AT LEAST ONE OF THE DRIED FRUITS OF AUSTRALIA? YOU EAT THEM EVERY DAY. COME ON, WHAT IS IT? JULY.

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The manhunt cost $50,000. “But we never turned up a solid name,” said Milo Seraglio of the detective agency. My feeling remains that it was homicide.”

Deputy attorney Noel Slipsager was “hounding” the wife of a top film-industry executive, but Slipsager eventually announced that the woman wasn’t guilty. The lead petered out.

In 27 years in Hollywood, Reeves made enemies. Women went wild about him, and he got a lot of loving in places where he didn’t belong.

To honour her son, Bessel converted part of her Pasadena estate into a Superman shrine packed with hundreds of items of the “Man of the Steel” memorabilia.

Below: George Reeves, just about when he becomes air-borne.

SOURCE: From Under Cover, No 1.

Real Murders is an on-going series to be published regularly.


VIETNAM WAR: The battle of Long Tan, a Viet Cong hotspot!

BOB FRESHFIELD        

Adapted by FRANK MORRIS

THEY FOUGHT THEIR WAY AS DARKNESS FELL AND FORCED THE VIET CONG TO WITHDRAW.

The Australians forces, in strength the next day, returned to the battle site and located a large number of Viet Cong dead.

They believed they had suffered a major a major defeat, as the scale of the Viet Cong’s losses were revealed, the Australians realised that they has actually won a major victory.

D Company 6RAR lost 17, and 1 more Australian from 1APC Squadron were also killed, and 24 were wounded.
The Viet Cong lost at least 245 killed, with blood trails as dead and wounded were carried away by the enemy.

DOMINANCE

It was a decisive Australian victory. But Long Tan proved a major local setback for the Viet Cong, indefinitely forestalling any further movement against Nui Dat.

Although there were other largescale encounters in later years, 1ATF was not fundamentally challenged again.

The battle established the task force’s dominance over the province, and lowed it to pursue operations to restore government authority. A Presidential Unit Citation, from the USA, was awarded to the men of D Company 6RAR.

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ON ITS WAY …
WHERE DOES THE EASTER BUNNY COME FROM? CASSIE COOPER ASKED. IT WAS THE TURNING POINT IN HER JOURNEY TO FAITH. JUNE/JULY.

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What should not be forgotten is the continual close-in and accurate bombardment of the enemy throughout the battle by American, New Zealand and Australian Artillery; nor the heroism of the RAAF crew that flew in the ammunition re-supply in weather that would normally have grounded them.

FULLEST CAPACITIES

By April 1967, 5 RAR was replaced by 7 RAR, and 2 RAR, with a New Zealand contingent of Infantry and Artillery, forming 2RAR/NZ, arrived in April and May 1967.

This move would bring 1 ATF to one of its fullest capacities of the ten year, with 3 battalions and sundry other units.
Below: A well-camouflaged Viet Cong force illustrated for Time magazine.

JUNE: The Tet offensive ’68! Was this to fuel the growing protest against the war in the US and other allied countries?

SOURCE: Part of the Vietnam War is from an Australian perspective. Bob Freshfield, Vietnam veteran Federation, March 2017.


THE QUEEN: Meeting the Presidents of United States

President Bill Clinton, and the Queen, stand silent, ready for her entrance to a major function.

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ON ITS WAY …
THE KING OF BISCUITS! WILLIAM ARNOTT, WHO CAME TO AUSTRALIA AND WORKED FOR 25 CENTS, BECAME SYNONYMOUS WITH BISCUITS. COMING.

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Posted in: Grand Years with Frank Morris at 24 May 19

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