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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.

Friday, 26 August 2016

SOMERTON MAN: WE HAVE A NAME Part 4. THE NOTE


AN ADVISORY NOTE:

This and subsequent posts on this topic addresses the issue of suicide. It was a significant problem in those days and is a growing problem now. In fact here in Australia, last year we had 2800 suicide deaths comprising of 2180 men, 65 children, and 560 women. Bullying both institutionalised and personal, was a contributor in the majority of these deaths. Bullies themselves are also victims in a way, they have numerous issues, pain and pent up anger that they struggle to deal with and often project these feelings onto others. It behoves us all to be sensitive to the situations of others, we never really know what is going on in their lives. If you or anyone you know is in need of help, there are a number of organisations that can help. Here in Australia, we have Beyond Blue, 1300 22 4636 and there are others including Lifeline.


 Tibor Kaldor:  Last Written Words 

It is always a sad event when someone passes, made even more difficult to handle for those left behind when someone decides to take their own life.

Tibor Kaldor was a Jewish man, he had already lived through persecution in his country of birth, Austria, and then at the hands of the British when he was interned, loaded on to HMT Dunera, and sent to Australia as an Alien.

Prior to his arrest and deportation, he had lived at 65, Parliament Hill, Camden near Hampstead Heath, London and had a legal practice there, a significant improvement on life in Austria. Little is known of those years in the UK but perhaps a clue is given in his note that follows.

The note itself was recovered by Clive in Adelaide amongst other documents related to the case. The original note was faded and hard to read so it has been digitally enhanced. The image of the original is available on request. Clive and I have had numerous discussions by email and on the phone regarding this post and I acknowledge the significant effort he has put into chasing down every lead we could find, share and verify.

There are two pages so it is quite a long note given its purpose, a full transcript of the note with comments is below the images. I have formatted it as close as possible to the original document in relation to spacing, line lengths, paragraph beginnings etc. There were two words that I was unable to clearly identify but thanks to 'Annonymous', one has now been cleared up.



Transcript:


Page 1.


                                                                13/12/1948

Dear Sir,
             I am very sorry to cause some unavoidable in  -
convenience. I have decided to end my life and have
taken an overdose of sleeping tablets. The reasons
do not matter, but you will understand that nobody
would take such a decision lightly. There was no
other way out.

           I suppose the formalities will be fairly simple, and
I would like to ask you, as far as it  rests with you, to see
that the following arrangements are observed.

           I should like to leave my body to the University
for research or teaching purposes. If this is not possible
I should like to be cremated without any ceremony.
I leave my belongings to the Red Cross if something is
left after payment of expenses.

          No notifications are necessary as I have no relatives
and have informed a friend in London myself. I
should be particularly grateful if you could prevent the
incident getting in to the press as far as this is possible.

       I am enclosing one pound for my hotel expenses
and 10/- sh for distribution to the chambermaid and
others to whom I may cause inconvenience.

Page 2.

          I think this covers about everything. Once more
sincere apologies for the unpleasantness and best?
thanks for the trouble you are taking.
                                                 
                                                Yours Faithfully
                                                     
                                                               T Kaldor

             P.S. If you want to take any of my things
you are quite welcome.    There is an inventory
of  clothing  articles in  the  bigger  suitcase


 Initial Notes on Content ( Clive & Gordon)

1. The note itself is written in a neat hand, carefully constructed and without any spelling errors.
2. Grammatically perfect
3. The writing has a marked forward slope.
4. The form of the capital letter T was interesting, similar in style to the T found on the T Keane tie.
5. Paragraph one comment '...have taken an overdose of sleeping tablets'. Question, how would he have known how long it would take for the overdose to take effect? It could have prevented him from completing his letter. Also possible that he deliberately wrote it in the past tense prior to taking the overdose.
6. Tibor was Jewish, it is not an allowed practice to be cremated within that faith. However, as Byron pointed out, he was brought up in a family that apparently belonged to a Jewish Reform movement. Some Reform Movements endorsed cremation. Similarly, some movements disagreed with the practice of male circumcision. The latter point may apply to SM and that would explain the Jewish custom of stones at his grave site.
7. Last line first paragraph, '.. no other way out' will remain a mystery, we do not know what he was trying to escape.
8. Paragraph 3, line 4'... I leave my belongings to the Red Cross' No mention of items such as a wallet or a wristwatch.
9. Paragraph 4 page 1, '... have informed a Friend In London Myself' The phrase structure seems different to the rest of the letter, it seemed 'clunky'. Examined and found that the first letters of each of the 4 underlined words spelt out the word 'FILM' a code?. According to a mathematician friend, the probability of a word being spelt from the first letters of 4 consecutive words in this way is .0001. Was he telling us that there was a FILM hidden somewhere? Was it just coincidence? The last paragraph on page 2 may have an answer for that. 
10. Unusual to have a Post Script and the contents tell us a little more than at first may be apparent. Notable he indicates that he had two suitcases, a larger one and by default a smaller one. Why would he have written an inventory of the clothing articles? Was this meant to be an indicator as to where the FILM referred to was to be found. Was he hoping that someone in particular would read the note and inspect the belongings? No mention of the suitcases is included in the file recovered. 


This ends this edition of this post, it will be updated over the next few days.

     

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

SOMERTON MAN: WE HAVE A NAME, PART 3. Updated, 0630, 25/08/16, Who was buried on February 23rd 1949?


HMT DUNERA, Port Melbourne 1940

Having spent many hours searching and researching about the Dunera Boys, every time I return to the image of this ship, I wonder to myself, 'Was SM onboard?' On this page we issue you a challenge to everyone in relation to an item of evidence that may just prove at the very least a connection between SM and the Dunera Boys.

Don't misunderstand, this isn't just wishful thinking, these thoughts are based on the mounting series of items that literally tick a box of aspects of the Somerton Man case. it seems to me that he had so much in common with the experiences of the Dunera Boys and, our case in point, Tibor Kaldor.

Firstly, here's a valuable piece of research by Byron Devison, many thanks Byron:

On Tilbor

Tibor Kaldor's parents were Julius Schoen (maybe that is Schon?) and Rosa Breuer, and his step-father's surname was Kaldor. The material below may relate to a brother of Tibor. I will see what I can find. It is interesting that George, Tibor and Rosa Breuer were communists.

“My connection to refugees is as strong as it is instinctive,” he said. “It is a political issue for me, but it’s also a question of human rights and humanity.” Breuer’s father, Georg — a middle-class Austrian Jew who was not observant but belonged to the Reform Jewish milieu of Vienna — was himself a refugee. In 1938 he fled Austria for Italy and, from there, to Britain, where he became a communist and a journalist. Rosa, Hans Breuer’s non-Jewish Austrian mother, also a journalist and a communist, was tortured by the Gestapo during the Nazi period — she tried to commit suicide by jumping out of the fourth floor of a hospital building where the Gestapo imprisoned her. Her father was sent to a concentration camp for dissidents. “They weren’t like those couples who survived the Holocaust and never spoke about it,” said Breuer of his parents, who died several years ago. “On the contrary: They told and told and it dominated my youth. Their refugee experience wasn’t exactly a trauma for me, but it wasn’t too far from that.”


I am certain that 'Somebody' will be interested in this information. What Byron has done here is to show that Tibor's family were communists at the relevant times and that Tibor would have been heavily influenced by their thoughts and ideology. Not for me or anyone else to make any judgements on their politics, our interest here is to establish a better understanding of Tibor and his views and motivations. This information adds a very valuable piece of the puzzle. From what I now know of the Dunera Boys, Tibor was not alone in his political views. 

On the Autopsy (18.45, 24/08/16) (Notes from Clive)

On 16 Dec 1948 an autopsy was performed, by Dr Dwyer, and PC Sutherland gave 1 glass jar containing the Stomach, another glass jar containing the Liver and another containing Blood to R Cowan. Cowan found in a 100ml there was 26mg of a barbiturates and in 100 gms of Liver he found 33mg of barbiturates.  Stomach contained 8 ounces of partly digested food.  His teeth were in excellent condition as were all his organs etc.

Cause of death not ascertained, but consistent with barbituate poisoning.  Coroner Cleland signed warrant to bury the body on 17 Dec 1948.  There were no photos in the file.

Byron's Interim Comments:
The “barbiturate” (type not specified) finding of 26 mg/100 mL of blood is in the well and truly fatal range. The ranges for various barbiturates in fatal poisonings range from 15 to 106 mg/L depending upon the type of barbiturate. 

(It is thought that in compliance with Tibor's expressed wishes, the jars and their contents were given to Adelaide University. We will be publishing Tibor's note later this week.)

Byron as usual, focuses on the information and has given his insight as to the nature of the 'dose' of barbiturates found in Tibor's system. I have attended a few Autopsies in my time all of them forgettable. Some are able to accept the proceedings, however, many Police Officers I knew and still know, prefer not to discuss their feelings on the matter, understandable. Without exception we were in agreement that it was a good job that there were men and women who were able to carry out that duty as a Coroners officer, a nephew of mine included.

For the record, whilst I don't profess to understand lethal dosages to any great extent, I did notice that,  in the report and as with SM, there was a quantity of partly digested food in his stomach and a cause of death was not ascertained. It will be interesting to read Byron's considered thoughts on this subject.

TICKING THE BOXES

What follows is a list of specific items/issues that are common to the Somerton Man and to the Dunera Boys. Of itself, the list is interesting, it could be argued that you would find similar items to this list by searching the web and covering the relative time span. But could you find all of them belonging to just one specific group? You could look to POW camps and would get a reasonable strike rate but all seven? Maybe not..

Now add to your new list the apparent suicide of a man by poisoning within two weeks of the Somerton Man and within metres of a building, believed to be used by the main person of interest in the Somerton Man case. There is more to it and we will be posting on that shortly.

Thanks to Clive for the numerous telephone calls and emails discussing this aspect and others. A good man to work with.

For now, let's examine some of the 'tick box' items:

1. The first report on the environment on board the Dunera and the condition of the men:


Here's the transcript: 
'They have little clothing, all underclothes are fumigated regularly and reissued but not to their owners, consequently everybody is wearing someone else's clothes. The baggage is very light'

SM had underclothes with what seems to be someone else's name on them, 'KEANE' although we do not have anyone called Keane on the Dunera, it could have been donated clothing on arrival which no doubt would have been similarly fumigated.

2. The men's dentures thrown overboard:

'The crew searched the men daily, threatening them with loaded rifles fixed with bayonets. If guards found any vital medications, such as insulin, they threw them overboard. They also threw false teeth away..'


The question of SM's teeth or rather missing teeth has been a hot topic for many years. In this one statement from the Captain's report, we have a good reason why there were no dentures found with SM although he had enough missing teeth to assume that he should have had them. Enter Clive!

3.The suitcase:


This is a photo from the 2014 reunion of the Dunera Boys at Hay in NSW. They're carrying the luggage they had at the time. Our research tells us that many had no clothes and no luggage and items and used clothing and donated used suitcases were handed out to them.

The Somerton Man's case found at the Adelaide railway station showed signs of having had travel labels that had been removed. 

4. Stencil:
It has been suggested that some of the items found with SM's suitcase were similar to those used in stencilling:


According to research, the men at Hay and Tatura were adept at creating stencils for clothing, signage and laundry bags.

5. Tiny Handwriting:
The code page found and associated with SM has numerous examples of tiny handwriting. In fact Detective Brown made specific mention of tiny handwriting found on the back of the RUbaiyatt, it was Jessica's telephone number. The other better-known example for this blog is the use of the SOE's Ink H technique of micro writing in the form of larger letters.


This image is from a collection from Hay and Tatura. It contains what appear to be scraps of paper but most are in fact sheets of toilet paper. They contain tiny writing. Paper at the time was in very short supply so this is what they used. Interestingly these old style sheets were approximately 6 inches by 4 inches in size. A close fit for the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam book found and associated with the case. As an aside, a similar technique was used by Nelson Mandella when he wrote Long Road to Freedom whilst in prison. I should point out that the edition of the Rubaiyat found and associated with the Somerton Man was a 1942 edition. That would mean that the cide page if written by a Dunera Boy, was written when he had left Tatura.

Being thin it would have been necessary to lean on another surface, a book for example, to write their notes.

6. The Tan
There are of course lots of places a man could get a tan in Australia but the Dunera Boys had more opportunities than most both whilst they were interned and, significantly when they were released with many of them joining up to the 8th Employment Company:


Initially formed to work as a 500 man fruit picking unit, the 8th Employment company the work that they undertook ranged from railway construction and maintenance to buildings for Defence forces , transport and dockyard work. As you can see that resulted in some very heavy tans.

At the autopsy, specific mention was made of the tan lines on SMs legs, they were judged to have been from some time earlier than 1948.

'The company consisted of refugees from Nazi persecution, most of them transported from Britain in H.M.T. Dunera; all had volunteered for army service and joined from internment camps. Apart from the detachments based in New South Wales at Albury and Tocumwal, the unit was stationed in Melbourne where it provided labour on the docks, in warehouses and at railway yards. While 'Tip' Broughton was reticent about himself, he was devoted to the men he commanded. Intelligent, well-read and gifted with a sense of humour, he learned German phrases, spoke to his charges in two languages, knew many of them by their first names, respected Jewish custom and did much to restore their confidence as free men. Comprising volunteers between 18 and 60 years of age, and including some veterans from World War I, they constituted a unique entity in the Australian forces. Captain Broughton was a humane leader who enjoyed their affection and respect.'


7. The Laundry Marks
In discussions with Clive we agreed that there is one last issue we should include in this post and it could provide a definite link or as close to one as we could hope for at this stage. The Laundry marks:

These 3 sets of laundry number were found on one of the pockets of SMs 'Elasta Strap' trousers. Thorough searches at the time and since have failed to get a match. However, to my knowledge, no one had searched the Internment camps laundry records.

For the enthusiast researcher, the camps at Hay and at Tatura had their own laundries according to the Hay Museum. I would also think it likely that the 8th Employment Company had their own laundry or access to one of a number of military laundries dependent on where they were located/attached. If someone is able to find a match for one, two or all of these marks, then that would be compelling evidence that would solidly link the Somerton Man to the Dunera Boys.

Please let us know if you make any progress or if you need any further information on these laundry marks.

Closing thoughts:

What's being done here is that we are gradually painting a picture and sharing the various discoveries that we have jointly made and I include Clive and Byron as well as thoughts from Pete Bowes in this effort. The seven points above are in effect circumstantial evidence, we have no other kind as yet but we are working on some very interesting and solid looking information that may yet lead to the revealing of the Somerton Man's real identity. Amongst the work are the original documents from the Tibor Kaldor case including the notes that were left and notes from the autopsy.


A question for all to consider: Who was buried on February 23rd 1949? We posted this comment today on Pete Bowes Blog:

'I have spent a fair bit of time on the images including autopsy, pre-burial and the bust. It was niggling at me and then the penny dropped. With photographs, you can readily make changes and the SM images have been changed as per previous posts on the blog, but with a bust? That’s a whole lot more difficult.

I took an even closer look at all the images and found that the pre-burial image had been massively changed, the neck, the ear the face and the hairline all very different and obviously touched up extensively in comparison to the SM autopsy profile but with similarities to the bust images.

The result? I think it very possible that the man who was buried on February 23rd was not Tibor, it was SM.

When you consider the implications of that they are significant. It explains, for example, the serious deterioration of the face of the man in the pre-burial image, SM had been embalmed but Tibor hadn’t been, he was only kept on ice. It also explains Lawson’s ‘difficulty’ with the ears for the bust, he was trying to make them look like the ones in the autopsy photograph of SM but he couldn’t and the man with those ears had been buried in February. Fixing the ears on the pre-burial photograph was easy but not a lot you can do with someone else’s ears which were different in shape and the subject was no longer available. Take a close look at the hairline of the bust photograph.

Finally, this would mean that Professor Abbott’s work on the DNA was carried out on hair samples from Tibor and it was Tibor who had the exposure to lead, we simply wouldn’t know if SM was so exposed. So, the man in the well-kept grave is Tibor and the man in the grave that was destroyed in the 1970s would be SM.

None of this train of thought would have been possible without Clive’s discovery of that newspaper article and the discussions I have had with Byron on the Mikkelsen images

I have thought this through and I don’t make the comments lightly. The identity of SM is still paramount and that is being pursued with vigour with more posts for the weekend.'



Check back, we will be updating this post and there are more posts to come on this topic. Your thoughts and ideas are very welcome.

Saturday, 20 August 2016

SOMERTON MAN: WE HAVE A NAME PART 2. Updated 0630, 23/08/16



AN ADVISORY NOTE:

This and subsequent posts on this topic addresses the issue of suicide. It was a significant problem in those days and is a growing problem now. In fact here in Australia, last year we had 2800 suicide deaths comprising of 2180 men, 65 children, and 560 women. Bullying both institutionalised and personal, was a contributor in the majority of these deaths. Bullies themselves are also victims in a way, they have numerous issues, pain and pent up anger that they struggle to deal with and often project these feelings onto others. It behoves us all to be sensitive to the situations of others, we never really know what is going on in their lives. If you or anyone you know is in need of help, there are a number of organisations that can help. Here in Australia, we have Beyond Blue, 1300 22 4636 and there are others including Lifeline.

Acknowledgement

Before we get into this post I want to clarify that this was a joint investigation with the initial finding of the newspaper article being made by a good friend of this Blog, Clive. He subsequently has put in a great deal of time and effort in additional research and has uncovered some very valuable further information as you will read. I acknowledge Clive and thank him for his extraordinary efforts and invaluable input and advice.

It was December 1st 1948 when SM's body was discovered, it was relatively quickly decided that there was something untoward about his death, not natural causes. He had been poisoned:



But, the man found on Somerton Beach was not the only man to be found poisoned in Adelaide during December 1948. 


In room 3 of the Victoria Hotel in Hindley Street on Wednesday 15th December 1948, the body of another man was found, he to, had died by poisoning. This time, it was barbiturates and he left a note, in fact, he left two notes and in one he advised that he had informed a friend in London.

This man's name was Tibor Kaldor. More about Mr. Kaldor later in this and another post to follow.|

At this point, I should point out that the Victoria Hotel was approximately 100metres from 200 Hindley Street, this was the premises from where it is believed that Prosper and Jestyn operated a business, Clinic Distributors. We have been able to date adverts to 1947 for that business. (Corrected 23/8/16)

Another interesting point is that the team who handled the incident included:

PC Sutherland, Mr. Cowan, Mr. Cleland and Mr. Dwyer, starting that process was Detective Canney. Familiar names.

 A Dr. Kneebone at the Royal Adelaide Hospital pronounced life extinct. The body was then taken to the City mortuary which, at that time, had one other male body, according to the records the other body was that of the Somerton Man.

You can read the original newspaper article here..

In the article, you will read that he is described as being 44 years of age and a process worker of 10, The Avenue, Windsor, Victoria. That address was just 25 minutes on the tram or train from Mentone. To this time, whilst we know there were items taken from the room by Police, we do not know exactly how Detective Canney was able to quote the man's name, age and occupation.

Remember those details for, as you will soon see, Mr. Kaldor has been recorded as having a number of quite different jobs including an Insurance Clerk, a Language Teacher and a Lawyer. From what we can ascertain, as a Lawyer he lived in Hampstead, London. In 1950, UJORF ( United Jewish Overseas Relief Fund) posted a request for information about a Tibor Kaldor who was believed to have been a lawyer in London.

In many ways, Mr. Kaldor was a most unusual man and a man deserving of great respect.

To summarise the above, both the Somerton Man and Tibor Kaldor supposedly arrived by train from Melbourne, were poisoned, the same team handled the processing of the incident. Tibor and SM shared the same mortuary, in fact, it was not until February 23rd, 1949 that Mr. Kaldor was buried,  in the same cemetery as the Somerton Man was eventually laid to rest. The Somerton Man was found a few minutes walk from Jestyn and Prosper's home in Somerton whilst Mr. Kaldor was found literally across the road from Jestyn and Prosper's business premises.

There are more facts to be revealed about Mr. Kaldor as well as other things that SM seems to have had in common with him, upcoming posts will deal with them.

1948, Before The Trip To Adelaide

  • On 28th April 1948, Mr.Kaldor had successfully applied for British Citizenship. On that form, he had put his occupation down as a 'Language Teacher'.
  • On Monday, 6th December 1948, Mr. Kaldor went to the South Australian Tourism Commission in Melbourne, and purchased an Accommodation Voucher for the Victoria Hotel in Adelaide
  • Mr. Kaldor had apparently arrived at the Victoria Hotel on Sunday 12th December. That may have meant that he had boarded a train in Melbourne on Saturday 11th December. To this time we have not been able to locate a train ticket.

1940, Arrival in Australia

Tibor Kaldor arrived in Sydney on September 6th. 1940. He was aboard a ship, the HMT Dunera. Born in Austria, Mr. Kaldor was an internee and was one of that rare and very brave group of men known as The Dunera Boys. The ship was filled to overflowing with Internees as well as German and Italian POWs. It had rightly been named the 'Hell Ship'. This ship first docked at Freemantle and then the Port of Melbourne where it disembarked around 545 German and Italian POWs for transport to Tatura camp. Sydney was the destination for the 1900 internees deemed to be less of a risk. For them, Camp 7 at Hay in far west New South Wales was to be their new yet temporary abode.

Here's an excerpt from a report by an Australian Staff Captain who inspected the ship and its passengers on arrival in Sydney.

The crew treated the refugees with extreme cruelty. The internees remained uninformed of their true destination until their own knowledge of geography and navigation by the stars — and arrival in a western coastal port of Africa — made further secrecy impossible. The crew searched the men daily, threatening them with loaded rifles fixed with bayonets. If guards found any vital medications, such as insulin, they threw them overboard. They also threw false teeth away, confiscated razors and shaving utensils and threatened men who hid their razors or were clean-shaven with detention in the bunker. Any valuables, hidden food, or Jewish religious vestments, phylacteries and prayer books were confiscated and either kept or thrown overboard. Beatings were daily. Staff Captain “A” Branch, who boarded the Dunera in Melbourne, reported as follows:

Prior to arrival in Australia, the crew ordered the internees to shave off their beards, providing the 1600 men with 8 razors to do the task. The ship reached the Port of Fremantle in Western Australia on August 27 and Port Melbourne on September 3. At Melbourne, two groups disembarked: the 251 German and Austrian “A” Category internees whom the British government regarded as dangerous or potentially dangerous due to their political affiliations, along with 94 Germans and 200 Italians whose political affiliations were seen as “doubtful” since they were members of the Fascist Party in England. These men were interned at a camp at Tatura. Those who remained on board were mainly refugees of Nazi oppression. Around 10 o’clock on the morning of September 6, 1940, fifty-seven days out of Liverpool, the Dunera entered Sydney Harbour. The atmosphere was tense: on one hand, the press sniffed a sensational story — in its coverage, the Daily Telegraph reported that “among the internees were parachutists, other prisoners of war, and hundreds who had been carrying out subversive work in England.” On the other hand, the first Australian to board the ship, medical army officer Alan Frost, was appalled by the conditions that greeted him. His report led to the court martial of the officer-in-charge, Lt. Colonel William Scott. For the weary internees, “some in heavy overcoats, hats, others with summer wear having lost everything else, some orthodox Jews in their traditional black garb and hats,” they didn’t much look like spies as they left the ship.

These men arrived with hardly any possessions and in many cases, just the clothes on their backs.

Put yourself in their position and imagine the enormous relief when they stepped off the boat and were given fresh fruit and sandwiches before boarding the train to Hay.

The Questions

What prompts a man, who had recently successfully applied for naturalisation, to walk into the South Australian Tourism Commission offices in Melbourne on Monday 6th December 1948, buy an accommodation voucher for a hotel in Adelaide, and then that next weekend, he gets on a train and eventually arrives in Adelaide, checks into his hotel and a few days later is found dead having apparently taken his own life by taking an overdose of barbiturates? What was it that happened over that previous weekend of the 4th and 5th of December 1948? Was it something he read in the Newspapers? Where did he get the barbiturates from?

A Request

I have a request, for those who are inclined to do further research, you will come across a number references to organisations in your searches. Please bear in mind that both Clive and I are dealing with a number of them and they are being very helpful. It would not be good if they were to be swamped with calls and requests at this time. I guarantee that we will share all that we find over the next posts.

There is a Museum at Hay dedicated to the Dunera Boys. David Houston and his wife at the Museum have been very helpful and are a wonderful source of information for all who visit. On that point, the first Sunday in September marks the 76th anniversary of the arrival at the camp of the Dunera Boys, the museum is funded entirely by voluntary subscriptions, I will be making a donation and I hope that when you read the story you will be of the same mind. 


That concludes Part 2. of this series of posts. There is much more to come..

Friday, 19 August 2016

Somerton Man: WE HAVE A NAME


DECEMBER 1948


In December 1948 in Adelaide, a man was found dead, he had been poisoned. He was found not far from the premises of Jestyn and Prosper Thompson.

Who was he? Where had he come from?


We have a name and in the next few days, we will publish some incredible news.


In the meantime, we can confirm that there were two bodies and both died from poisoning.

One man was a language teacher and lived just 25 minutes away from Mentone where Jestyn grew up and his initials were, coincidentally, T.K.

We will be explaining how the tan was acquired and how it was that some items of clothing came to bear the name Keane, and as for SM's dentures, we can tell you that they very probably lie at the bottom of an ocean.

You will notice that it is something that 'we' will publish, that's because this a joint effort, based upon the findings of another person. A known and trusted person who has long been involved in the SM case and is committed to finding out just who he was.

There's so much more..

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Somerton Man: Jestyn: Links To The Russian Social Club, Petrov Affair


Jestyn Linked To The Russian Social Club 

Where The Petrov Affair Commenced..



Sydney in the 1940s was a rushing, bustling place and the end of the war in 1945 saw if anything an increase in activity across a wide spectrum. The building of infrastructure to meet the needs of a rapidly growing population, the creation of jobs for Australians and the huge numbers of refugees from all over Europe, Poles, Hungarians, Latvians,  demobbed servicemen and women and not a few ex-POWs. The place was alive.

Everywhere, things. people and ideologies were changing. On a Global level there was an increasing awareness of the emergence of new World powers and the perceived threats that came with them.

Going back a little further, it was in Sydney in 1930 that the Russian Workers Association, a pro-Soviet organisation was formed and it grew until in 1943 it moved from its tiny premises in Oxford Street to larger accommodation at 727 George Street Sydney, just next door to the Great Southern Hotel, a gift for any intelligence agency. 

Modern day photograph, the old Russian Club was in an earlier, now demolished, building to the left. The Great Southern Hotel, number 717, is clearly seen on the right.
In a way, the club became the de facto HQ for the Communist Party of Australia, a convenient watering hole and meeting place, for the real HQ which was situated just a few doors down at 695 George Street.

The Russian Social Club would have been across the street to the left of this building.


Interestingly, the new premises for the Russian Social Club were almost directly opposite the Russia House at 800 George Street, an organisation with its ranks being filled mainly with Russian Monarchists, the White Russians. Through the war years, both organisations closed ranks and worked together to raise and send funds to Russia. When the war ended, the organisations drifted apart once more and in fact at around that time, the CPA went into decline.

The image below is from 1942, taken in Melbourne:



It would be fairly certain that many of Australia's leading Communists would have been regular visitors to the Russian Social Club, not hard to imagine the likes of Fred Rose, Jack Miles, Wally Clayton (code named Klod) and Lance Sharkey being amongst the visitors. Indeed in the years to follow, Vladimir Petrov met a certain Polish emigre, Dr.Michael Bialoguski, a classical violinist and a qualified medical practitioner at the club. After first having tried to recruit the good Dr., Petrov himself was recruited by Dr.Bialoguski who was, in fact, a part-time agent for ASIO who had been involved with Australian Intelligence organisations since 1945. And, as they say, the rest is history.

So, what has this to do with the Somerton Man Case? 

Jestyn Spoke Russian & Jestyn Was A Member Of The CPA..

Jessica Harkness was training to be a nurse at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital at Camperdown, a 5-minute tram ride from the Russian Social Club and it is known that she became a member of the CPA in her time in Sydney. What better place to become acquainted with Communist ideals than the Russian Social Club? Of itself, it is something of a stretch to make that statement but there was something else that brought Jessica into the Club.

We've already touched on the fund-raising activities carried out by the club and which included the Russian Medical Aid and Comforts Committee amongst others but they also used to raise funds by holding Russian language classes for fees.



 'The main functions of the club were to provide a place where Russians could meet to hold functions, social gatherings and other activities such as church services and musical events. Other aspects of the club included a school to teach the Russian language and a Russian library.'

Jessica could speak Russian, there seems to have been no opportunity for her to learn the language in her home state of Victoria, but when in Sydney, The Russian Social Club and it's proximity to the Hospital would make it very probable that this was where she learnt to speak the language. (Note: There were also Russian language tutors available in Sydney but that was at a cost which would likely have been out of the range of a young woman on a trainee nurses salary.)

And there you have it. Jessica was a member of the CPA, she could speak Russian and given this information, we now have a very real probability that Jessica learnt that language at the Russian Social Club, she would have joined the CPA in the same location or just a few doors down the street from it. It was an ideal hunting ground for Australian and Russian Intelligence agents as was later proven by the Petrov case.

There is another question that remains, just how did she come to meet Alf Boxall a man with an Australian Intelligence background?

We know that Military Intelligence and later ASIO agent Dr.Michael Bialoguski frequented the club, it would be no great surprise to find that he and others would have done so to source and recruit agents from other members. Could it be that Jessica was amongst those recruits and she was introduced to Alf as a result of those efforts? On the balance of probabilities, that is what happened. Bear in mind that in those post-war years, there was a huge effort to close down the communist party by the then Labour Government and the subsequent Menzies Government, counter-espionage activity was very much on the cards. That would explain her meeting with Alf Boxall, she was recruited and then introduced to him for further training.

Could it be that the Russian Social Club is where Jessica first met the Somerton Man? Was he her language tutor? Was he another attendee at a course? Or was he another recruit for Australian Intelligence or perhaps even a Russian agent?

The Russian Social Club still exists today only  now it's based in Lidcombe. What a trove of information might still be in existence there, photographs, membership records, visitors books. A task perhaps for the dedicated enthusiasts?

This blog has many visitors from all parts of the world including a good number from Russia. I ask our Russian followers to please share this post and the latest, photo-realistic image of the Somerton Man shown below in the hope that we can get him identified and have him returned to his homeland wherever that may be.


Short description: About 1750 mm tall, grey eyes, auburn hair, physically a very fit man for his age which was around 44 years in 1948, unusually high and well-developed calf muscles.

Three more posts in this series yet to come, each offers something new and hitherto not published in connection with the SM case.