Rufus appears in ‘Staff Picks’ window at Mosaic Books, Kelowna; and will be featured in the Westside Weekly on Thursday, November 6.


There he is, right in the middle near the bottom. I bet he’s happy to be there.

He’s keeping company with some bright lights, for sure –  I see Paul Theroux, Bill Bryson and Stephen King. Oh, and Tolkien too – and Mike McCardell,  and J.D. Salinger,  of all people. So, yes, I’m sure he would be pleased – he was never one to under-rate himself! Let’s hope it does the trick and that Mosaic sells some books.

So what kind of coverage will the Westside Weekly be giving him? Have they interviewed you.

Not exactly – I spoke to Dave Trifunov, the editor, but he was only wanting me to send him a few pictures from the book  – here’s one of them.


Rufus in the army during the war?

Yes – that’s him, to the right of grumpy old General Loomis (centre). Rufus was Loomis’s Staff Captain ‘Q’ in 2nd Brigade. However the reporter writing the article has a copy of the book, apparently, and I directed them to this website. I think he may be fitting Rufus into Remembrance Day coverage.

They say there’s no such thing as bad publicity when you’re trying to sell books – so as long as he makes a bit of a splash it will all be good, I’m sure. There are a whole lot of people in West Kelowna and they all get the Westside Weekly delivered.

So we’ll just have to wait and see – look, Rufus isn’t worried!

Cartoon of Rufus with pram, 1913

Westside Weekly will run a story on Rufus, Thursday, 6 November.

Did you have an interview?

No – the first I heard of it was an email from Granville Island. They asked me to provide the Westside Weekly editor, Dave Trifunov, with  pictures from the book – and to get a new picture taken, wearing a plain shirt or sweater.


I see you managed to do that, anyway. Did Val take it?

She did a pretty good job, I thought – made me look fairly normal! And I sent Dave these pictures, so we’ll have to see whether the Westside Weekly uses them

N 14  Aviators Rufus, T.V. Scudamore at Jericho 1926J 10  2nd Bde HQ staff at Etrun, June 1918. Loomis centre, Sandy McMillan behind him, Rufus to his left

Why did you choose these pictures?

To illustrate what he was and what he liked to do. The picture on the left shows him with his chum Scudamore in 1926 – they were about to fly from Jericho naval air station to Victoria in an open cockpit. And the other is the 2nd Brigade staff in 1918; General Loomis is the one scowling in the middle, and Rufus is to the right of him. There were two more pictures:

N 14 - with Bishop Adams of the Cariboo, 1927 N 14 - Walter Miller, Rufus at Williams Lake rodeo 1925

On the left, Rufus is with Bishop Adams of Cariboo in 1927 – the bishop, a friend, was driving round his diocese and Rufus caught a ride with him. The picture at the right is in William’s Lake 1925, where Rufus was reporting on the stampede

They’re good pictures and I hope the Westside Weekly uses them

Well, pick up the Westside Weekly on Thursday and we’ll find out.

3 November 1933 Rufus visited Lichtenburg concentration camp (pages 263-4, ‘Rufus’)

How do you know about his visit to the concentration camp?

Because Rufus tells us about it in his diary. Have a look:

Friday  November  3                                                                                                                                           “Left (Berlin) at 9am from Ministry of Interior to go to Lichtenburg concentration camp (in Prettin castle) near Leipzig – 100 miles.

Gen Faubisch, Swedish journalist, German church missionary (YMCA), young Norwegian on European tour with Ford car, German preacher from Brazil, a Red Cross man and Puifhé. Not home till 9pm. Tea at Wittenburg (where Luther nailed up his 95 Theses!). Very tired. Wrote dispatch in UP office at night.”

So the picture is of Lichtenburg Castle, and it was a concentration camp? Funny, I’ve always imagined concentration camps being barbed wire compounds with rows of huts for prisoners.

Most people do, because that’s what places like Auschwitz were like later on . But Lichtenburg was the first, opened in June 1933.

Rufus doesn’t say anything in his diary about his group talking to Herr Ebert – how did you know about that?

Bundesarchiv Bild 183-83285-0029, Friedrich Ebert.jpg

Because it was in that story he filed from the UP office, which then appeared in all the Southam newspapers in Canada – including the Province. Basically, Ebert, son of the first President of the Weimar Republic, had been brutally beaten by Nazi guards. The press got hold of the story and it ‘went viral’, or the 1933 equivalent. I think the Nazis wanted Rufus and the Swedish journalist to be able to report that Ebert was okay.

And did they?

Rufus certainly did, but he added that it was “strange that this was the first occasion any journalist was allowed to see him since the reported outrage.”

Anybody reading that would realise Rufus didn’t buy the Nazi claim that they treated their prisoners well.

Quite right. And just to make the point, Rufus then told a story that, in his words, “savoured of barbarous bullying” – of a prisoner being made to shout out, three times, in front of everybody: “I was a murderer – I stabbed a Nazi leader in the back.”

It’s hard to imagine how the Nazis thought people might believe them. The story reeks of menace – and Rufus, of course, wouldn’t live long enough to hear the really terrible stories about concentration camps. He was just reporting things as they seemed to him.

Which leads one to wonder whether the Gestapo was reading what Rufus was writing for Southam. Obviously somebody was.

Wikipedia entry and a piece in the Calgary Sun bring Lukin Johnston back to the limelight.

What do you mean – that these things “bring Rufus back to the limelight” ?

Well, take a look. More people know about him again, and anybody who wants to know more can now find out easily.

Hey, that’s pretty cool. Did you write the article?

No, I’m afraid not – but I’m delighted that a mystery somebody made the effort to do so.

You really don’t know? The writer seems to be as up to date as can be – it must be somebody you know, surely.

That’s quite likely. But whoever it is has made some annoying small errors that we need to edit out.

Oh yes! Look, he says Rufus died on 18 November – it was the 17th, wasn’t it ? And wasn’t his mum, Nellie, General Harry Lukin’s sister, not his niece?

A 1 Harry Lukin as Brig-Gen. in Cape Mounted Rifles uniform c 1900 B 2 Nellie Lukin, Rufus's mother who died in 1903

She was indeed – and you can see the resemblance in these pictures.  But why did you say the writer was up to date – how can you tell?

By the list of references – it even includes a Calgary Sun article from 21 October, only five days ago.

Hey, let me see that! I never saw that article before! Good for Michael Platt – let’s give readers the link

I’m having another look at that list of references. Do you know something really funny – the Wiki article included references to everything under the sun – but guess what it left out.

You tell me

It left out your book!! It’s mentioned in the text, but only because Dave Obee referred to it in the Times-Colonist. All that work, and you don’t even get a reference! What a hoot!

Cartoon of Rufus with pram, 1913

Look, even Rufus is having a chuckle. As you say – what a hoot! He can’t wait to tell Bee “ALL about it,” as she would have said.

Bee 1969 at 1664

This was Bee in 1969 – 36 years after Rufus died.

Rufus deluged in media attention! He would have been pleased, but hard-pressed to do a better job than Glen Schaefer

What do you mean – “deluged in media attention”?

Well, take a look – first the Province

and then the National Post

It’s been slim pickings around here for a long time, but now we have people phoning, emailing and tweeting – and all about Rufus.
That’s great news, isn’t it?  It means more people will want to buy a copy!
True – and that’s not the end of it. The Kelowna Daily Courier will also be picking up the Province article and we’re hoping to persuade the Vancouver Sun to do a review.
So, how do I find my copy of Rufus?
First, try the local independent bookstore. People in Western Canada should also try their local Chapters/Indigo store. If they don’t have a copy, they can order one.
How do they do that? I thought Raincoast no longer distributes Granville Island books.
Almost all independent bookstores subscribe to Book Manager, a books-in-print database, and Chapters have their own system. Book Manager will tell them to order directly from Granville Island’s website.
And how long will they have to wait?
We’ll just have to see – not too long, I hope.
Cartoon of Rufus with pram, 1913
What’s Rufus looking so pleased about?
Wouldn’t you be feeling pleased if you were he – after 81 years Canadians are talking about him again. And eventually, maybe we’ll find out what really happened to him.
How is that possible after all this time?
Well, the fat man’s minions kept good records – hopefully, about journalists they were keeping an eye on. Nazi archives are still full of secrets, waiting to be discovered…
But nobody, not even Goering, would keep records of assassinations, would they?
Perhaps not; but if we find they were monitoring his dispatches – why else would Goering, at the door of Hitler’s office, threaten him as he did? – then we get a pretty good idea of what was in their evil minds.
Wow, this is the story that keeps on giving!

The Province will run an article on Lukin Johnston (Rufus), Sunday 5 October

They’ve told you the date – 5 October, for sure?

Yes, they’ve told me the date – Glen Schaefer telephoned two days ago.

Well, that’s good to know. Will it have pictures in it?

I hope it will. When they interviewed me, Chris, the photographer, was popping pictures from every angle – even artsy shots reflected in a mirror. I was most impressed.

So there’ll be a picture of you, maybe?

Maybe, but hopefully they’ll focus on Rufus’s diaries and the man himself. However, it won’t be a review of the book. I think it’ll be the story of a forgotten Cold Case – concentrating on Lukin Johnston’s interview with Hitler and on what happened to him afterwards.

Hitler interview - Vancouver Province Hitler interview p2 - Vancouver Province

Is that the article that Rufus filed after the interview?

It is – clipped from the Province by Bee herself.

But your book will be mentioned in next Sunday’s article, won’t it?

Of course – and I’m sure it will also tell Province readers how to get a copy.

You know, the story would make a good movie – have you thought about that?

It certainly would, and yes, I have thought about it. Who knows, maybe the Province article will inspire someone to write the script. The story’s too good for amateurs – it needs a scriptwriter who knows what they’re doing.

Someone like Rufus himself, perhaps?

Precisely, my dear Watson!

Cartoon of Rufus with pram, 1913

Finally – Rufus to be recognized by The Province

So what does that mean?

It means, chucklehead, that the Sunday Province will soon be running a feature on Lukin Johnston, their long-lost correspondent – the man we all know as Rufus.

Wow, that’s pretty exciting – Province readers will be able to make his acquaintance once more, after an 81 year silence. When, exactly, will this be happening?

Don’t worry, you’ll be the first to hear. I’ll make another post when I have the actual date – all we know for now is early October.

Wonderful, wonderful – I can’t wait – I’ll tell ALL my friends and get them to buy the paper that weekend.

Good man – you do that, and I won’t call you chucklehead ever again!


Cross my heart!

How to buy your copy of Rufus in the UK

Image not yet available

If you live in the UK, you can now buy Rufus by following this link:

Alternatively, contact Gazelle by using the details below.

Gazelle Book Services Ltd



Tel: +44(0)1524 68765

Good hunting – and if you have difficulty, remember that Amazon can probably find a book for you – if not, then Amazon .com or

Cartoon of Rufus with pram, 1913