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I had half an ear on that terrible Ancient X-Files program yesterday – a public holiday in South Africa – when I caught the name Charles Warren in connection with Freemasonry, which is something which greatly interests my partner.

This is not the first time I’ve half-seen this episode. Given the cheapskate DSTV service we have access to here in Joburg, I can expect to half-see it many more times.

But something pricked my consciousness this time.

Charles Warren was born in the same area as my maternal Grandma in 1840 and died in 1927.

He rose to become a General in the British armed forces, and spent much of his time in South Africa.

The town of Warrenton in the Northern Cape Province is named after him. That’s where my Mum was born.

He was also noted as the Metropolitan Police Commissioner charged with the investigation of the Jack the Ripper murders. He resigned his commission on November 8th, my birthday.

He also – and this is probably what caused my attention to be focused on him in the first place – has a surname identical with my partner’s first name.

But that’s not what drew me to linger on this man’s biography longer than usual. He also looks remarkably like my partner. The eyes are the giveaway – they are identical. 

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