Cast of Characters: O’Riley/Boston/Twigsnapper.

One of the many spies in this story began his career as Royal Marine, attached to the British Special Operations Executive group during WW II. His first “legend” was an homage to  the penultimate spy,  Sidney Reilly , whom he admired greatly.

It was “O’Riley” who met Townsend in France in 1945, and was photographed* with him in France in 1955. He was called “Boston” by  the teenage wanna-be secret agent “Morgan,”  in 1964.

“Twigsnapper” did not make it into The Man Who Mastered Gravity, but he showed up online  toward the end of  the Before Times.  This persona  dropped an occasional hint or pointer to some arcane insider knowledge  that I missed the first time around.  The latest to ping for me was CANES, a microfact buried in the history of the NRL Satellite programs.

I can’t swear that Twigsnapper was Boston was O’Riley was an unnamed AU 30 bootneck. We will be chewing over that forever. But I will swear that Townsend Brown was in the know on CANES.


*Because the original photo has “Bergier” written on the back, I have thought that he might, perhaps be the waiter in the background. But now that I see that photo enlarged,  through recently surgically enhanced vision, I see him very clearly. He is the short, nigh invisible gentleman hiding behind the sailor on the left.  “Verne” (his French Resistance code name) may have been small in stature, but “Twigsnapper” said of him that he  was the bravest man he ever knew.


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