Men's Vogue


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Trevor Rommelley

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The January edition of this magazine has an article about the discovery of ammunitions in the cargo hold.
 
Jun 10, 1999
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As well as an in-depth article @ Men's Vogue.com
I only wish I was one of the divers preparing to ascend to the Lusitania wreck as seen in image 1 of 6 of the featured slideshow.

Michael Cundiff
NV, USA
 

J Kent Layton

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Mar 27, 2004
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For the first time in a human hand, eh? They may want to go back to the early 1980's, when some of that .303 ammo was pulled up safe and sound from the wreck. I remember seeing someone, who I believe was involved in the expedition, on TV showing it off on the news not long after it was brought up. And of course, it was known about ever since 1915.

Where do they get this stuff? A lack of research.
 

Jim Kalafus

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>Where do they get this stuff? A lack of research

Ah well, stretch the truth for commercial appeal. Hardly an unknown concept in the world of Lusitania journalism, but still irritating when it resurfaces.

What is interesting is that the single greatest threat to Germany aboard the ship was not the cargo, but passenger George Butler.

Butler, who went by the stage name of "Vernon," was the husband of Inez Jolivet, classical violinist. Inez was socially friends with Nicholas II's brother, Michael, and George used Inez's connection to engineer the sale of 3,000,000 rifles to Russia.

Butler died, en route to finalising the deal, but Inez did the necessaries before heading back to NYC, where she committed suicide on July 22.

If you check the NY Times archive for early 1917, you'll find the punchline. One of the Romanov Government's final acts before the revolution was paying Inez's estate her $300,000.00 commission for the 1915 arms deal. It also reveals that George Butler died leaving an estate of $47.

The legality of that sale is questionable. HOW did 3,000,000 rifles legally travel between the neutral US to Russia? Via American ship? Via England? Obviously, the weapons DID arrive (Inez would not have gotten a commission otherwise) but those details are unavailable at the moment.

I find this story more compelling than the wheezy Lusitania munitions tale, and with the public appeal that the loathsome Romanov family still inexplicably possesses, it could reach at least two niche markets. But....I think we are doomed to endless permutations of the same old same old.....
 
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Figures they would go off and chase smoke while a good story is neglected. Jim, You should write a book or Article about the Vernon\Butler's
 
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Actually what I meant was an article on the Jolivet/Veronon's alone. Trust me there is enough material there. What a tangled web it was. No wonder I can't keep it all strait. The three fates were weaving over time with this family. That is probably the only way your gonna get folks away from the stoopid ammunition story legend.

I seem to remember you mentioning them but don't recall the specific details except for Inez's suicide and that Rita Jolivet, her sister inherited all the Vernon money which she probably used to make Lest We Forget.
 
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Naw, the first article I wrote after a ten year hiatus was a longer version of this story!
You should publish an expanded article just about the Vernon's alone to ET or something! We really need a Lusitania site out there! All the Lusi passengers had as just as fascinating lives as Titanic Passengers but their stories are largely forgotten or lost.
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Jul 9, 2000
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>>HOW did 3,000,000 rifles legally travel between the neutral US to Russia? Via American ship? Via England?<<

Would it surprise you if it turned out the Swiss were involved in some fashion? They don't mind acting as agents for some "interesting" transactions and when they get their commission, they tend not to ask too many questions about where the money is coming from.
 

Jim Kalafus

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Been thinking. They could quite easily have been shipped from West Coast ports to Vladivostok, and possibly on Russian ships.

I'm sorry that the documents pertaining to the executing of Inez Vernon's estate have gone astray. I'd like to find out who served as the liason to Russia after her death. I have a crate of Butler/Vernon legal papers spanning 1915-late 1920 and, somehow, the arms deal records have not survived among them, except for one line references.
 
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I'm sorry that the documents pertaining to the executing of Inez Vernon's estate have gone astray. I'd like to find out who served as the liaison to Russia after her death.
I still wonder if there was anything suspicious about her death. Like Jack Thayer, Inez Vernon suicide doesn't add up but I leave that to you, Jim because I don't know enough about it to really have any theories. But you'd think with all that money coming in she'd find a reason to live. Unless she knew to much about something. But what? Who would gain anything besides her sister from her death. Now we have missing documents about her estate which might be suspicious or not.
 

Jim Kalafus

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I could think of a great many reasons for Inez Vernon to commit suicide. The two principal ones:

Her husband of 13 years died unexpectedly two months earlier.
and
She was broke. The Vernons lived on West Eleventh Street, a discretely wealthy block. Her husband left an estate of $47. The Romanov money did not come thru until Jan/Feb 1917.

Death, bankruptcy, and the fact that both Jolivet sisters had rather flamboyant personalities, were a bad combination.

Inez died with no will. Her husband also died intestate. So, both his estate and her estate passed on to Inez's parents. Her mother lived until 1956, and the paperwork pertaining to the arms deal beyond July 1915 would have been in her possession.

Regarding the details of her death. She returned to NYC from London, to close up her apartment,probably before the rent was due. She booked a return ticket to England a few days before she died, aboard the St. Louis. She spent her final week shopping in NYC, and spent her final weekend with friends at their country estate in New Jersey. She was described as "normal" and "in good spirits."

She returned to NYC on Monday, July 22 1915. Found a "bad news" telegram waiting for her at her apartment and was never seen alive again.

It was assumed that she sailed on the St. Louis, so no one noticed she was missing. The following Friday, the new tentants of her apartment found her dead in the bedroom. Which, after a week of NYC summer heat, in a sealed room, must NOT have been a pretty sight.

The details of her death raised eyebrows back in 1915. The police showed the telegram, signed "Paul," to the newspapers. But the papers did not say what the bad news was. The police revealed that she was wearing a black evening gown, and was kneeling in prayer position next to her bed, with her face held in her hands, a bullet wound in her temple, and the gun under her knees.

The police ALSO said she shot herself at her dressing table.

All of which suggests....CONSPIRACY.

Probably not.She shot herself with a small calibre "lady's handbag" type of gun. My assumtpion is that she shot herself at the dressing table, received a massive fracture type of wound, and crawled towards her bed, which she fell towards as she died. Which is how she ended up kneeling on the gun~ would a hit man force her to kneel in prayer position, shoot her in the head, and then tuck the gun under her knee before fleeing? I think not.

That said- I wish I could find the telegram. It, too, would have gone to Pauline Jolivet but would not be the sort of thing one pasted into the scrapbook. Chances are, it did not survive to be thrown out in 1956.
 
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Perhaps the "Bad News Paul Telegram" was from Pauline Jolivet? Sounds like you solved the Jolivet Vernon Suicide Case! Good work Officer Jim.
Pity all the papers pertaining to the Vernon Estate are gone! Probably thrown out as well.
 

Jim Kalafus

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Dec 3, 2000
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>Pity all the papers pertaining to the Vernon Estate are gone! Probably thrown out as well.

No. I HAVE those! Hundreds of documents. I don't have the Inez Jolivet Vernon papers.
 
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I don't have the Inez Jolivet Vernon papers.
Well then it's a pity that the "Inez Jolivet Vernon Papers" were thrown out. Perhaps because she was a suicide and her family only kept what they had pertaining to legal matters?
 
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>>Been thinking. They could quite easily have been shipped from West Coast ports to Vladivostok, and possibly on Russian ships.<<

That would have the virtue of avoiding middlemen who might be inclined to get a little too curious and U-Boats as well.

>>would a hit man force her to kneel in prayer position, shoot her in the head, and then tuck the gun under her knee before fleeing? I think not.<<

Nor do I. Force the victim to kneel, possibly, shoot the victim in the back of the head, almost certainly.

Leave the evidence for the police to find?

Not likely. The bottom of the East River is a better choice!
 
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Perhaps but maybe just to argue or debate. The hit man might of been wearing gloves although why he'd put the gun under her knees?

But to finish it up I think you pretty much nailed it Jim. I can't really think given what I know on why somebody would want her dead although I do wonder if the telegram with the "bad new" from Paul was really from Pauline Jolivet. Maybe she was called Paul in the family? I leave that for you to enlighten me, Jim. I still say an Article about the Vernon's History alone would make a fascinating read. Make a great novel!

I'm getting more fascinated with the Lusi passengers all the time. Fascinating People with such rich lives. Well I'm off to the L.R. and then to bed so G'nite all!
 

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