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The author of this blog is a member of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers and as such the views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not represent the views and opinions of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers, its staff or Directors.

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The Somerton Man Case. The body of a man found on an Australian beach close to a major Atomic Testing ground, he was probably poisoned, a copy of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam and an unbroken Code page found and associated to him. Set against a Cold War background in 1948, was this man a spy? We think so and this blog focuses on the evidence that was left behind and in some cases missed, the Code page, Dry Cleaning numbers, A Poem and a small, torn piece of paper bearing the words TAMAM SHUD.

Saturday, 19 August 2017

SOMERTON MAN: NEW MICRO IMAGES AND A TEST


THE TEST



Over the years there has been lots of reaction to the discovery I had made that showed the presence of micro written letters and numbers within the larger letters of the code page. It reached fever pitch when the same kind of code was found in the Verse 70 poem written by Jestyn and also within the torn piece.



Amongst the reactions, there was one case of a person who roundly denounced the findings and ridiculed the example of the letter Q which clearly showed the presence of code letters and numbers. This person went so far as to mock the very idea that spies communicated with each other using tiny handwriting. The result of that episode was that the claims made against the existence of micro-code were completely unfounded, you see this person had asked me how I had gone about finding the code which I duly did in sufficient detail for him to replicate the process and get the same result. Despite him inferring initially that he had followed the process and couldn't get the result, he later admitted that he hadn't followed it at all. Sad.

For the record tiny handwriting is proven to have been used extensively by intelligence agencies over centuries and more recently on this blog we showed it's use on the Hay Internment Camp bank notes.

As a matter of interest, Detective Brown in the case told Professor Abbott that Jestyn's phone number that was found on the code page, was written in tiny handwriting. Indeed, SOE had a technique known as INK H which described exactly how pencilled micro-code could be hidden within handwritten normal sized letters.

The same 'critic' of the earlier discoveries then loudly announced that he had found a new high-resolution scan of the code page that didn't show any sign of micro writing. Sadly and yet again, he was proven wrong as I have come to expect from our 'friend'. In this case, the new scan he had found wasn't a new scan, it was an image of the same code page and someone had gone to the trouble of injecting additional pixels into the file in the mistaken belief that it would improve the quality of the code page. Anyone with even basic knowledge of photo editing and digital imaging would know that you cannot improve the quality of an image by simply adding more pixels, the fine detail is lost and though the output may look 'smoother' it's because the edges of shapes within the image have effectively been 'smudged'. My verdict is that the effort was decidedly amateur and I had actually thought that the person responsible for this 'find' had more about them than to stoop to such inane practices.

Interestingly and as you might expect, much of the criticism came from those who do not believe that the Somerton Man case is an espionage case. On that particular point, I read a survey just last week on a public site that showed that 72% of people who visited that site believed it to be a Spy case.

Example from Louise de Bettignes
during WW1. Micro Code written
beneath a stamp.
Feint but clearly there, set of numbers in the
upright of the T in the torn piece, Tamam Shud








A string of numbers found in the blet section of the Fez Lady sketch beneath the Verse 70 written by Jestyn.


The Test

It strikes me as being obvious that the critics and naysayers are telling us that because they know what micro writing doesn't look like, then it stands to reason that by default, they must know what it does look like.

So here's their chance to prove their skill.

Below there are 4 images, more than one of them contains micro-written numbers and/or letters.Your challenge is to identify which are the ones that have it. 

Remember that this is micro written and the characters are all below .7mm in height, you won't suddenly see a set of crystal clear words and letters, these things were made to be difficult to find even if in most cases they were hidden in plain sight.

1. 

2. 


3.   







4.
The answers will be published in 7 days time, it will be interesting to see how many got it right. I suspect some will dismiss it as it won't fit with their narrative :) Sad.

Last but not least, here's an image that has a secret written message, see if you can find it!





 The answer to this last challenge will also be published in 7 days time.












Saturday, 5 August 2017

SOMERTON MAN: LAST OF THE 'M SPECIAL UNIT' MEN, AN INTERVIEW


JIM BURROWES, OAM
M SPECIAL UNIT



 ‘The Coastwatchers saved Guadalcanal, and Guadalcanal saved the South Pacific.’ Admiral 'Bill' Halsey, US Navy.

Some days ago I managed to get in touch with this man, retired Sgt Jim Burrowes, Commando.

We had a phone call an exchange of emails and Jim kindly gave me permission to summarise our discussion and made materials available to me.

I explained to Jim the background to my enquiry and he was only too happy to share his knowledge of his time in New Britain, the work he did and the equipment he used. We covered a lot of ground in what was a relatively short time

RECRUITMENT & TRAINING

Jim was 'recruited', for want of a better term, in January 1942 at the barracks in Albert Park at the age of 18.

'There were about 50 of us in my group and a burly Sergeant-Major commanded ‘Okay you lot, raise your hand if you work in an office or as a school teacher.’ He told those of us who raised our hands to ‘Stand over there!’ As I had worked in a Chartered Accountants’ office for the previous two years, I stuck up my hand. He then said to the others: ‘The rest of YOU ARE INFANTRY!’ Thus, my later destiny as a Coastwatcher was set.'

His first 6 weeks were spent training, he was stationed at Camp Pell interestingly enough, those followers of the blog will recall the role that Camp Pell played in the Tibor Kaldor posts. He was trained in the use of Morse code with that part of training taking place at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, RMIT. He managed to reach a very useful speed of 25 words a minute. If you learnt Morse code in your past you would understand that the speed he mentions was well above average.

DEPLOYMENT & RABAUL

Following a spell in both Melbourne and Brisbane both sending and receiving signals from Port Moresby and other locations to the North,  Jim volunteered for special service, that despite the army maxim, 'Never volunteer for anything!, was subsequently transferred to the Amphibious Landing Force of the US Navy's 7th Fleet, Jim is now the last surviving Australian member of that force.

Jim spent 10 months in the jungle overlooking Rabaul which had earlier been captured by the Japanese, the role of his group was not to fight but to avoid detection and to transmit much needed and valued intelligence reports on troop and particularly aircraft movements from Rabaul airfield.


Jim Burrowes, kneeling, the centre of the front row.


We spoke of the practicalities of the Rabaul operation, the details of how intelligence was gathered and then how it reached AIB HQ. 


THE EQUIPMENT

Below is the set, type ATR-4A, which was in use by the M Special units at the time. A standard Morse code key s also shown.



There were two officers in Jim's group and it was generally they that took off into the bush surrounding the airfield and then made notes in pencil that described the aircraft types that were seen, if and when they took off and which direction they headed.

Naturally capturing details of the loading of bombers was of high importance. On most occasions, the information was returned to the camp and from then, Jim or another operator would encode the handwritten notes and then transmit the details using Morse code. 

THE CODES

They made use of two codes, one of which was Playfair and the other was a code he referred to as the 'Nave' code, that was the code created by Eric Nave. Most interestingly, they used a standard book, in this case, a Dickens novel, to help with the encoding for both codes used. to use Jim's words. 'We encoded and referred to the page line and word numbers from the book to create the finished messages.' He may have used the book as a rest when writing up the encoded message, he couldn't honestly remember that detail.

Jim believed that each group may have had their own books, it could have been a decision of the senior officer who may have chosen his own favourite novel. All that mattered was that the HQ people knew who was using which book. Jim had not heard of the Rubaiyat being used but it could have been.

THE DENTIST CAME TO CALL

The visit of the travelling dental technicians, Jim was sure these guys couldn't have been qualified. was both amusing and somewhat painful. Equipped with their pedal powered drills, they set about removing teeth only, not materials for fillings.

This, explained Jim, was the reason he came back from his tour minus all but two teeth. When asked about dental plates, he laughed and said they were given wooden pegs to act in the place of their now departed teeth. He hastened to add that as soon as he could he invested in a proper set of dentures.

We covered so much more in what was a fascinating discussion. Jim is a real gentleman of the old school, honourable, trustworthy and not a bad word was said about anyone except the enemy.

Jim went on to a long and highly successful career in the private sector as an accountant. Not quite a bookkeeper Pete Bowes :)

It was an absolute privilege to talk with Jim, now 94 years old and last of the M Special Unit heroes.

Jim with the help of his son has put a website together, filled with accurate historical information, it is a great read and I highly recommend it to you: 



General Douglas Macarthur, Supreme Commander, Allied Powers, South West Pacific wrote the following commendation for the Coastwatchers:
'The enormous contribution of the Australian Commonwealth to the Allied war effort contains no brighter segment than this comparatively unknown unit which naturally worked under the cloak of military secrecy during the war.… They are officially credited with having been a crucial and decisive factor in the allied victories of Guadalcanal and Tulagi, and later on in the operations of New Britain especially in the landing on and capture of the Cape Gloucester area.'

Friday, 4 August 2017

SOMERTON MAN: THE PELACO SHIRT, OR WAS IT?



SUITCASE CONTENTS: THE PELACO SHIRT



Amongst the contents of the suitcase that was recovered by Detective Sgt Leane on January 19th 1949, there were two shirts, one white and the other a yellow Pelaco shirt, well at least that's the way the story goes.

Pelaco was a brand that was manufactured in Mebourne originally although there was also a factory in Brisbane. Their range tended to focus on pyjamas and on shirts.

In the image above you can see that the buttons appear to be of the metal type and you can also see that the shoulder panel behind the label is comparatively deep,. The hand tends to obscure the general line  of the shirt at the collar such that it is not readily seen whether the flap that appears to the left of the image beneath the hand is part of the collar or possibly a shirt pocket flap.

Here's an ad from the late 40s for a normal Pelaco shirt with a similar fabric colour and dark buttons:


The collar looks to be somewhat different in style. and it has short sleeves.

The issue relates to the description of both shirts found in the suitcase and included in the Inquest document,  were both described as 'COAT SHIRTS'. 



My understanding is that a 'coat shirt' design means that the shirt doesn't have the traditional 'tail' but is square cut and it was made to be worn outside the trousers, this advert for Arrow shirts from the same era illustrates the difference quite well:




The 'coat' style is upper left in the image.

Why is this important? The shirt as shown is very much for casual wear, in fact sometimes they were worn with shorts and were at one time given the name 'SAFARI' shirts and suits:


Ex residents of Adelaide may recall the late Don Dunstan and his notorious photograph in a pink safari suit.

So, we have a shirt that is for casual wear and yet the rest of the contents point to very formal wear, the jacket, the shoes, the trousers are all formal. Should there have been a pair of casual trousers in the case? Is it possible that the two coat shirts were worn not over trousers but over swimming trunks which would leave the upper part of the body covered and therefore not tanned but the lower part would be?

For those interested, you can download a copy of the 1958 Inquest document here...

Thursday, 3 August 2017

SOMERTON MAN: A NEW LOCATION OF INTEREST IN GLENELG


PLACES OF INTEREST




Firstly thanks to the people who wrote in following the last post that showed a map of places of interest in Melbourne for Tibor Kaldor history, I have taken on your suggestion and above you will see another map but this time of Glenelg.

If you click on the icons, you will be able to read further information, some of the icons also have one or more images which you can click through.

Many of you will be familiar with the locations shown but there is a new location that could be of interest.

It is known that many business people were Freemasons and attended lodge meetings normally once a month. On this map you will find a location of 9 High Street Glenelg, the home of the Macdonnell lodge.

You will notice that it is a five-minute walk from Jetty Road which is where the Rubaiyat was found. If you click on each of the markers you will see more information and in some cases images.

There is a possibility that the person who found the copy of the Rubaiyat was a member of the lodge. and it will be explored.

I have also included the possible route from 90A Moseley Street to the beach where the man's body was found.

More will be added to this post in the coming days.


Saturday, 29 July 2017

SOMERTON MAN: TIBOR KALDOR, NEW INFORMATION, MORE NAMES & A MAP




MEYER MANUFACTURING


In 1948, this relatively small building in Melbourne's Little Lonsdale Street housed the post war activities of the Meyer Manufacturing Company. They produced mostly pressed metal and plastic gift items and advertised regularly for skilled and unskilled employees. In August 1948, Tibor Kaldor started work for them presumably as a process worker.

Significantly more information has now come to light following Clive's further and earlier research on Tibor Kaldor.

TO DATE, A SUMMARY


If you recall, Tibor Kaldor was the man whose body was found in a bedroom at the Victoria Hotel in Hindley Street, Adelaide on the 14th December 1948, two weeks to the day following the discovery of the Somerton Man's body on Somerton Beach.

Tibor had apparently ended his own life although the Police files and autopsy notes leave room for doubt. He left a last letter in which he provided a list of his wishes and informed us that he had two suitcases the contents of which he had apparently recorded in an inventory contained in a separate letter. The police files on his death record no details of the suitcases nor their contents.


Curiously, when Tibor's last letter was put through an acrostic decoder, the name 'DANETTA' was retrieved, a second pass of the decoded letter expanded on that and the decoded contents now read:

'AND SEE DANETTA AND SUITCASE DANETTA DANETTA DANETTA DANETTA'

Also unusual in my view was a phrase taken from the letter:  '...AND HAVE INFORMED A FRIEND IN LONDON MYSELF'. Perfect syllabic meter, 4:5:2. I believe that it was the only phrase within his last letter that did that.

We were able to trace Tibor's name on the NAA site and found that he was, in fact, an ex-internee, he had been arrested and deported from the UK in 1940, along with 2500 other German, mostly Jewish, men and boys. They arrived in Australia on board the HMT Dunera in September 1940; he was a 'Dunera Boy'.  He was released from Tatura Internment Camp into Melbourne in 1942.

Despite a number of leads stemming from adverts apparently placed by Tibor offering his services as a PHD from the University of Vienna and a teacher of languages, Clive was unable to find any trace of him at the University of Vienna nor any other University in and around Vienna. Thanks to Misca we found two other men of the same name who had died within days of each other in 1945 in Austria following their release from concentration camps. Both men were of similar age to Tibor Kaldor.

Clive was able to find records of Tibor living in Windsor near the centre of Melbourne. He also found a record of Tibor having successfully applied for a Certificate of Naturalisation for Australia. His application provided us with a further sample of his writing and his signature.

Tibor's body joined that of the Somerton Man in the Adelaide morgue.

NEW INFORMATION

Clive made extensive enquiries of the NAA and they have recently responded with further files on Tibor. As you will read, apart from information regarding his employment, they include more examples of Tibor's handwriting, names of three people who knew him and interestingly a copy of forms that show two distinctly different signatures.


CERTIFICATE OF NATURALISATION


To the right is the front page of Tibor's application for a Certificate of Naturalisation, the application had to be accompanied by proof of Tibor having placed ads in the local press announcing his intention to apply for Naturalisation. Images of those ads are included in this post.

There are three names and addresses included, better detail in the next image.

Note the signature style, the same as in earlier posts, the exaggerated T and the extended curve of the letter K.

The form was dated 29th April 1948.















The image below has been enlarged so that you can see the full details of the names of 3 householders, one of whom had to be chosen from a list of professions as in Certificate C. The date of the form.


The names are:
1. Certificate A. John Widmer, an electrical engineer from St.Kilda. Note that Tibor's name was entered by Tibor himself with a signature that differs from other examples of the same, the letter T is markedly different. Also,  note that this man states he has known Tibor for 2 years.

2. Certificate B. Helen A.E. Ross, home duties of Hawthorn East. Once again we see Tibor's signature in the name of applicant field with the different style T. Helen knew Tibor for 5 Years and this would indicate that she would have known him from a time shortly after his release.

3. Certificate C. The third signature is that of Elizabeth Bethune Stainforth, a State School teacher of Armidale in Melbourne. Once more Tibor's different signature appears.




Below are copies of the two statutory ads placed by Tibor on 28th. April 1948.



For those unfamiliar, these 3 suburbs lie almost in a straight line from Hawthorne through Armidale and then St.Kilda. from the entries, it appears that Tibor may have started his certificate collection at St.Kilda then, perhaps, Armidale and finally Hawthorne. Unless of course, two or even three happened to be in the same place at the same time.

STATUTORY DECLARATION
This two part form has quite a deal of information including the already known fact that he had spent 6 months in Italy prior to his arrival in the UK where he spent 16 months. He was then arrested and interned, what's missing here was that he was transported from London to Huyton in Liverpool prior to being boarded on the HMT Dunera. He would have been grateful that his ship was not the Andora Star. He arrived in Australia, docking first at Freemantle which is omitted from this form, then Melbourne at which point 250 or so internees disembarked and were taken directly to Tatura in country Victoria and the balance of some 2250 sailed on to Sydney and eventually by rail to their new, temporary 'home' at Hay in far west New South Wales.



Note his description, he is 44 years old, 5'6" in height, he has brown hair, his image shows him as being almost bald, and he has gray eyes.

He gives his address as 10 The Avenue, Windsor.

The form notes his occupation as being a process worker at Meyer Manufacturing Company, 20 Little Lonsdale Street which is the city of Melbourne. He states that he was employed at Meyer for a period of 4 weeks prior to the date on the form, 3rd May 1948, making his start date around 3rd April 1948. Note the signature





On the 26th May 1948, a note registering no objection from the Commonwealth Investigation Serviec Office was signed and filed.



21st June 1948 was the date on this internal report on Tibor's application for Naturalisation. Note that '..he desires the rights and privileges of a British Citizen.'



The  form below was probably attached on the same date in June 1948
.

Dates of interest are his release in December 1942, well after many internees were released, and his permission to stay permanently in Australia on 28th of April 1948.




To the left is a signed note by Tibor dated 9th September 1948, in the letter, he refers to an enclosure being a form of the Oath of Allegiance. Note the signature style.

The paper used appears to be similar to that on which he wrote his last letter in December 1948.




















Tibor's last letter for comparison below:
I will carry out further comparisons of the handwriting in these two documents and publish the results of that in due course.


RENUNCIATION OF NATIONALITY & OATH OF ALLEGIANCE




This final form is dated 9th September 1948, it shows two noticeably different signatures from Tibor and is formally countersigned by one Frederick Charles Percy Hill Clerk of Petty Sessions.
Again we have two styles of signature from Tibor, it may be that where he is asked to enter his name he uses one style and where a signature is called for he uses a more formal, flourished style. Perhaps the further comparisons of handwriting will reveal more.

As an aside and on a topical note, it beggars belief that our Australian politicians had trouble understanding the process for renouncing previous Nationalities.

NOTE:

There is one name missing from all of these documents and that is Miss C.Brown, the lady who it is thought also lived at 10 The Avenue in Windsor.

As you can see, Clive Turner has done a significant amount of work here right from the start, I gratefully acknowledge that, it's a tribute to his great skills and ongoing commitment.

LOCATIONS MAP

This map shows the various locations of where Tibor Lived, Windsor, the area where John Widmer lived, St.Kilda, the area where the Teacher Elisabeth Stainforth lived, Armidale, the area where Helen Ross lived, Hawthorn East and finally to the top left, where worked from May 1948, the premises of the Meyer Manufacturing Company in Little Lonsdale Street in the CBD of Melbourne. With the exception of Hawthorn East, each location is a single gram ride away from Windsor where Tibor lived.




THE NEXT STEPS

There are a number of leads that stem from this information, some of you may notice an apparent disparity in the dates although I would not place too much importance to that. The new names and his employer though could well yield more about our man of mystery, Tibor Kaldor.

We have no indication why this man would go to the trouble of organising his naturalisation, securing certificates from those he knew, holding down a somewhat menial job but a paying job nonetheless only to travel to Adelaide a few short months later and, apparently, take his own life. Not only that it looks as though he has left us with an Acrostic codename, 'DANETTA'.

Where was Tibor between December 1942 and May 1948?

From a bigger picture perspective, the path is clear. We need to further explore and glean whatever we can about our prime Somerton Man candidate, Pavel Fedosimov. Further work has to be done in relation to the other ex-internee, Klaus Fuchs who, like Tibor, spent a little time, and at the same time, in Huyton Internment camp, Liverpool prior to their departures to Canada and Australia respectively. There's more to be done on other players from the camps as well as further research on whatever part Alf Boxall may have played. And it doesn't end there.

Interesting times ahead I suspect.