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@COPYRIGHT softcover edition Coup in Dallas






(Lafitte datebook, 1963)





(Lafitte datebook, 1963)



Clay Laverne Shaw, the only individual to have been formally charged with involvement in the conspiracy to assassinate President Kennedy, kept a social and personal diary that included some 216 names, most of whom were associated with theatre and the arts.  Shaw himself was a playwright.  His name appears in the datebook of Pierre Lafitte so we can assume that he was at best privy to if not an active player on some level in the lead up to the assassination. In light of that probability, the names in his personal diary hold a fascination providing possible clues to a broader understanding of a long term agenda in the plot to weaken the spread of democracy worldwide.  


We are greatly indebted to the exhaustive research into the names in Shaw’s diary done by Anthony Edward Weeks aka Anthony Frewin who served for decades as assistant to renowned film director Stanley Kubrick.  Weeks astutely identified that Shaw’s welcome into a certain milieu of British society which included nobility closest to the Royal Family was most likely the result of his love affair with one Sir Charles Michael Robert Vivian Duff, 3rd Baronet. According to Weeks, Duff was one of only two true loves of Clay Shaw.


It was also Weeks who years ago in the Calcott Memorial Issue of Lobster Magazine laid down the gauntlet to researchers concerning another name in the Shaw diary: “This enquiry had produced at least one significant name that merits further research and attention and which may help us to understand more fully the political and intelligence face of Clay Shaw:  Peter Montgomery.”  Weeks continued “ . . . I was disappointed to find that I was the only person driving down the highway, and doubly disappointed because I was just about to hit the off-ramp.  I hope this piece prompts some other researchers to hit the road.  It did, Mr. Weeks.


Indeed, Captain Peter Stephen Montgomery was a character of interest in and of himself but his associations proved even more so considering the authoritative positions they held during WWII and the subsequent Cold War.  However, before we expand on Weeks’s own research into Capt. Montgomery, we have reason to first consider Shaw’s lover, Michael Duff.  


Born in 1907 at Vaynol Park, Anglesey, one of the most picturesque manors in Wales, Sir Michael was the son of the 2nd Baronet Duff and his wife Juliet Lowther, the daughter of the 4th Earl of Lonsdale. Duff’s godmother, Mary of Teck was married to King George V, the grandfather of Queen Elizabeth II.  Duff was also was deeply rooted in the history of Wales and Ireland thru a maternal grandmother who was a direct descendant of Richard deClare, the Anglo-Norman invader known as Strongbow.  Strongbow’s daughter married William Marshall, an equal of her father’s on the battlefield, and it is thru this marriage that the title Earl of Pembroke was created by King Stephen of England in the 12th century.  Since 1605, the Earls of Pembroke from whom Sir Michael descended have also held the title of the Earls of Montgomery. This particular period in the history of Ireland provides a road map to contemporary Kennedy-Fitzgerald dynasties from which John Fitzgerald Kennedy descended, a study which is for another time, another investigation; but suffice to say that volumes have been written related to the significance of Strongbow and his lineage in the evolution of what became the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland.  For our purpose it is important to emphasize that Michael Duff could claim relationships to much of the nobility of Europe and was no doubt very well informed of the history and subsequent British colonization of Ireland, India, New South Wales, the Caribbean, and the ‘New World.’ 


Aristocrat Michael Duff Assheton-Smith as he was known initially married first the Hon. Millicent Joan Marjoribanks whose grandfather, the Scottish Baron Tweedmouth and grandmother who was the aunt of Winston Churchill financed the purchase and development of the Rocking Chair Ranch in Collingsworth Co. in northeastern Texas Panhandle in the late 1800’s during a period when Scottish and English bankers saw the potential for investments in cattle grazing across the Panhandle and Staked Plains.  Millicent’s relatives, the Lord and Lady Aberdeen (Aberdeen being a shire in Scotland famous for its hearty Aberdeen-Angus cattle) are recorded as having visited the windswept 150,000 acre ranch, one of several enormous ranches in the area, all of which benefited from financing by Scottish and British banks.   We pause to remind the readers of the presence of John A. “Jack” Crichton in the Texas Panhandle in the late 1950s and early ’60s where the headquarters of his Dorchester Gas were located at the time he was employed by Empire Trust – a private investment firm with deep English and Scottish roots and significant investments in the Panhandle via the Texas Land and Development Co. whose president was Minor Cooper Keith of United Fruit.  Assassination researchers have pursued Jack Crichton’s genealogy for decades to no avail; perhaps a faint hum can be heard in the remainder of this analysis.



While it is most likely that Michael Duff was able to introduce Clay Shaw (whom he had met in London while Shaw was stationed there during the war) to Prime Minister Winston Churchill through his marriage into the Marjoribanks nobility, Duff’s own family history and that of his second wife would have opened as many more doors into British society which he chose to share with his lover  Duff’s marriage to Millicent Marjoribanks ended in annulment after one year and he did not marry again until 1949 when Lady Caroline Paget became Lady Caroline Duff. Caroline was the eldest daughter of another British peer, Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Henry Alexander Paget, 6th Marquess of Anglesey and Lady Marjory Manners, daughter of the 8th Duke of Rutland.  The name Paget will surface again in this critique. 


For context of the relationship between Sir Michael - who apparently spent his life in the pursuit of worldly pleasures rather than active participation in the military, agriculture, banking or other commercial endeavors - and Clay Shaw, it should be noted that both Duff and Caroline Paget Duff were known bisexuals.


Michael’s sister, Veronica Duff, married a grandson of British politician, chemist and powerful industrialist Sir Charles Clow Tennant whose involvement with Nobel Explosives and United Alkali company which was enveloped in the 1920s with the mega global conglomerate Imperial Chemicals are sufficient evidence of not only his wealth but the influence had on Britain’s very own military-industrial complex.  The entanglement of centuries old intermarriages in the United Kingdom is well exemplified in the Tennant family.  Sir Charles Clow, Sr. bore 17 children from two marriages, four of whom were born after he turned 76; only an expert genealogist can chart the precise chain of command but suffice to say that Tennant and those who inherited his name and the wealth derived from conglomerates that fed a war machine for decades prove intriguing.  Among them was John Edward Tennant, a young pilot who advanced to Wing Commander at the outset of WWII  who married Veronica, the sister of Clay Shaw’s lover, Michael Duff.   


Another grandson of Sir Charles was Sir Christopher Colin Paget Tennant, the 3rd Baron of Glenconner, a highly colorful aristocrat of extreme interest to our story.  Again, a skilled genealogist would recognize precisely how closely related were Sir Caroline Paget Duff and Sir Colin Paget Tennant who would have been closely related to Sir Michael Duff thru the marriage of his sister Veronica to John Edward Tennant, but we know from the social escapades of Sir Colin Tennant and Sir Michael Duff that they were acquainted, if not very well acquainted. 


Early in his life, Sir Colin fell head over heels for Princess Margaret, the sister of Queen Elizabeth II, both of whom were granddaughters of King George V whose wife Mary of Teck stood as Michael Duff’s godmother; but as shared in his memoirs, Sir Colin suspected the princess ‘wouldn’t have me.’  Clearly that did not inhibit his seduction of her when he gifted her Les Jolies Eaux , an exquisite villa situated on ten acres of the island of Mustique in the Grenadines. Tennant had created a playground for the rich and famous on the island where riotous partying is legendary and no doubt Princess Margaret proved a delightful magnet.  


The story continues:  Colin Tennant eventually chose a somewhat traditional marriage to Lady Anne Coke, the daughter of the 5th Earl of Leicester, who had been one of Queen Elizabeth’s Maids of Honor at her coronation along with Lady Moyra Kathleen Hamilton, the daughter of the 4th Duke of Abercorn and Lady Crichton of Crom Castle.  Lady Kathleen would soon assume the role of Mistress of the Robes to Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother in 1964.


Sir Colin and Lady Anne selected a relatively well-known professional photographer of his day, Tony Armstrong-Jones to capture their nuptials, and according to legend it was at that wedding that Armstrong-Jones (the future Lord Snowden) met his soon to be wife, Princess Margaret.   The godfather of Tony Armstrong-Jones was Sir Michael Duff; considering that deep bond, and Duff’s lineage and relations with the Paget-Tennant families we can safely presume that Sir Michael - a great love of Clay Shaw – was at the wedding at that he knew Sir Colin Tennant (if not Lady Anne or Princess Margaret) on a first name basis at the very least.

                                                          * * *

One might ask why this matters.  

Later in the decade, according to legend, Colin Tennant made an offhanded remark to the president of international real estate brokerage Previews, Inc. that he needed the firm to move quickly on the promotion of the island of Mustique that Tennant had decided to sell. John Colquhoun Tysen, the president of Previews, Inc. when Otto Skorzeny’s wife Ilse was no doubt using the company as a vehicle for travel, introduction and cover, agreed to help Tennant, and in the process convinced him to purchase 80% of Previews.  Such a transaction could not have been made frivolously let alone without agenda.  Allegedly Tysen and Tennant’s introduction came about when Tennant had developed the island; however, as we shall see, there is a possibility that their introductions were made earlier and based more on familial relationship than a casual commercial opportunity. 


Sir Iain Colquhoun, 7th Baronet of one of the oldest Scottish seats of nobility married another grandchild of Sir Charles Clow Tennant (1st Baronet), Geraldine Dinah Tennant which means that Colquhoun and Colin Tennant and Michael Duff were related through marriage.  Whether or not Sir Colquhoun is a direct ancestor of John Colquhoun Tysen (who was obviously so proud of the surname Colquhoun that he named his daughter Anne Colquhoun Tysen) has not been established but the circles the two families traveled in suggest that Tysen may have known Sir Colin before the sale of Previews.  According to Tysen, he was also descended from the Dutch settlers of Staten Island and that his father was posted in Paris with the Morgan bank dynasty at the time of his birth.  It should be noted that Sir Ian Colquhoun, who died in 1948, was the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Scotland; it does not get any higher in Freemasonry than that.   His antecedent, J. C. Colquhoun, Esq. of Killermont penned the highly inflammatory “Ireland—Popery and Priestcraft, the cause of her misery and crime.” Published under the superintendence of the Glasgow Protestant Association.  Sir Ian was succeeded as Grand Master of Scotland by the Duke of York who would ascend to the throne of England as King George VI.  George VI’s Lord in Waiting included the 6th Earl of Erne, John Henry George Crichton who was related thru his aunt Kathleen (Crichton) Hamilton to the 4th Duke of Abercorn.  The significance of the Duke of Abercorn, whose grandfather, the 2nd Duke had served as the Grand Master of Ireland, will be discussed shortly in relation not only to Captain Peter Montgomery but events in Texas.   



In order to grasp the significance of Capt. Montgomery we must first understand the people he served. The thirteenth child of Sir Charles Tennant, Margaret “Peggy” Tennant who was born on his 76th birthday and who would be an aunt of the various Tennants thus far named, married John deVere Loder, 2nd Baron Wakehurst, who in 1937 was appointed the Governor of New South Wales King George VI.  In 1952, Baron Wakehurst was appointed Governor of Northern Ireland as the representative of the British monarch in The North.  Wakehurst was only the third governor of N.I. since 1922 following the official establishment of the Republic of Ireland which preserved the greater portion of the island under one independent, self-governing rule.  


Baron Wakehurst, Grand Prior of the Venerable Order of St. John of Jerusalem from 1948 to 1969, and Dame Margaret - a rare title bestowed by the Order - were both enthusiastic patrons of theatre and the arts; they were also dedicated members of the English Speaking Union, an organization that included American Archibold van Beuren, chief of security for Wild Bill Donovan’s OSS and one of the original directors (and later chairman) responsible for bringing John Colquhoun Tysen on board Previews, Inc. 



Peter Montgomery was  born in 1909 in Blessingborne, outside Fivemiletown, Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland.  Twenty-miles down the road and across the border into County Fermanah sits the stunning Crom Castle, the seat of the Crichton family, Earls of Erne.  Crom is considered one of the finest estates in Northern Ireland.  Members of the Crichton family held the post of Lord Lieutenant of Fermanagh off and on for decades.  In the 1960’s the title was held by Viscount Henry Crichton, the 5th Earl of Erne. As mentioned, his daughter, Kathleen married a neighbor in Co. Tyrone, James Hamilton (of the Hamiltons who descended from King James II of Scotland), the 4th Duke of Abercorn who will help us close out this analysis.   


Peter Montgomery joined the BBC Northern Ireland in the mid-1930’s, a position he retained thru the mid 1970s, advancing to General Advisory Council of BBC by 1963.  His father, an avowed Ulster Unionist was a member of the Senate of Northern Ireland, served as Deputy Lieutenant of Tyrone, then appointed High Sheriff of Co. Fermanagh and later High Sheriff of Co. Tyrone.  Peter’s second cousin was the famed Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery, 1st Viscount of Alemein, a connection that would prove fortuitous for Peter by 1945.  Peter attended Trinity College, Cambridge where he encountered the love of his life for a number of years, Anthony Frederick Blunt who the reader will recognize as the “fourth man” among the Cambridge Five of the infamous Russian spy scandal in Great Britain.  Blunt was also the surveyor of the King’s photos and later the Queen’s.     We are reminded that James Jesus Angleton was a close friend of another of the ‘five’, Kim Philby as was Mexico City station chief Winston Scott.  As Weeks’s points out, “Clay Shaw, in other words, had one stop access to Blunt, Philby and Burgess and their milieu.”  Whether or not Angleton was aware of Shaw’s easy access to Montgomery, and Blunt thru Shaw’s lover Michael Duff, warrants further investigation. 



We do know that at the beginning of the war, Peter Montgomery joined the Intelligence Corp, rising to the rank of Captain.  There is no specific indication to suggest he didn’t remain active with the BBC during this period.  In 1945, he was assigned as aide-de-Camp to the Viceroy of India, Viscount Archibald Wavell who is seen in photographs conferring with Peter’s cousin, Field Marshall Montgomery during the war.  It is not verified that Peter remained in the post in India after Wavell’s death in ’47; Lord Mountbatten, a close relation of the Queen as well as her husband Prince Phillip accepted the assignment as the last viceroy and served until India assumed charge of running its own government.  Most readers will know that Mountbatten was killed in 1979 in a spectacular bombing incident carried out by the IRA just miles from the noxious border between Northern Ireland and the Republic, in retaliation for the violence Mountbatten had managed over the years.  This incident ignited a new and perhaps the most virulent wave of violence in Ireland since 1916.  But most readers would not be aware that according to his own memoirs, Otto Skorzeny - himself living in the Republic of Ireland off and on from 1957 to the mid-’60’s - studied Mountbatten’s guerrilla war tactics and considered him a master. 



In 1954, Capt. Montgomery was again assigned the role of aide-de-Camp; this time to the Governor of Northern Ireland, John Loder, Baron Wakehurst.  We need not repeat the details of Wakehurst’s ties to Michael Duff thru the Tennant family nor his associations thru the English Speaking Union with Archibald van Beuren of Previews, Inc., or his passion for theater and the arts that could brush against Clay Shaw; but we should highlight once again that both Duff and Montgomery are named in Clay Shaw’s diary, Shaw and Duff were lovers, and Montgomery was a lover and later ‘sister’ in the parlance of the gay world of Anthony Blunt.  According to Anthony Weeks, when Blunt was interrogated by the Secret Service in 1964, Montgomery feared that his name would come up and on other occasions he thought their relationship would come out and he would ‘get the chop’.  On the contrary, he was appointed Vice Lieutenant of Co. Tyrone under the then 4th Duke of Abercorn, Lord Lieutenant of Tyrone.  We remind the reader that Abercorn whose antecedents were Grand Masters of the Masonic Lodge of Ireland married the daughter of Viscount Crichton, the 5th Earl of Erne whose seat was 20 miles from the home of Capt. Peter Montgomery.



According to the travel itinerary of former Texas Governor Allan Shivers, The Duke and Duchess of Abercorn were dining at his private home Woodlawn house, Austin, Texas, on October 31 (Halloween), 1963.  It should be noted that a thorough search for any press coverage of the visit has thus far produced no evidence the Duke and Duchess were in Texas; however, there is no reason to think they did not keep their dinner date with the Shivers, which prompts the question, ‘why wouldn’t there be press coverage?’   Allan Shivers was a lifelong active and influential figure in the Freemasons of Texas, achieving the coveted 33°status.  A critical date in the Lafitte datebook – October 17, with the note, JA call yest. Says high-level gathering in DC—Lancelot - cross references with Shivers’ itinerary that places him in Washington D.C. within 24 hours of that meeting.   Further, according to his itinerary, an investiture for new 33° Masons was held on December 7, 1963, just two weeks after the president of the United States was assassinated in his state.  Shivers also served on The Supreme Council, 33°, Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, Southern Jurisdiction, Washington D.C., U.S.  He was also a member of the highly select Knights of the Brotherhood of San Jacinto, the advanced membership of the Sons of the Republic of Texas that extended the formal invitation to President Kennedy to visit the state in November of 1963.   However, according to his itinerary for the month of November and just three weeks after the dinner with James Hamilton, the Duke Abercorn and Lieutenant of Co. Tyrone - whose Vice Lieutenant was Captain Peter Montgomery named in the Shaw diary - Shivers was scheduled to travel from Austin to Houston on the 21st, and on to New York and Washington DC on the 22nd-23rd instead of remaining in Texas to participate in hosting visit of the president of the United States.  For whatever reason, perhaps fate, this would place Shivers in DC when John Kennedy’s body was flown from Dallas to Bethesda. The other entries for the month included a meeting of the board of Neil Mallon’s Dresser Industries. 


Arguably, the details presented here can be struck off as little other than dot-connecting, yet when one absorbs the highly select milieu of British aristocrats and spies into which Clay Shaw seems to have been welcomed and trusted, it is difficult to deny that he remains an intriguing character among those Pierre Lafitte included in his records.  

Edited by Leslie Sharp
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