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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, 31 May 2014

Somerton Man: What the larger letters of the code mean, EUREKA?


Does a WW2 Radio Manual Hold The Answer?




The recent posts have focused once again on the presence of micro writing hidden beneath the larger letters found on the 'code' page. These posts contained numerous images that clearly show micro writing is present in each of the larger letters and in fact is also present beneath the lines across the page. For the record, this was the first time where such a use of micro writing has been discovered, to my knowledge no one has found an example before, at least publicly.

Back to the lines! One of those lines was always considered to indicate that whoever wrote the letters down had made a mistake and had simply crossed out the line. No explanation was given for the two lines with an X at one end that sits around the centre of the page although it was part of a recognised symbol used by radio operators to indicate a separation point between messages; the full symbol is two joined lines with X at each end where they crossed over.

The Clue
This provided a clue to the code page and the large letter meanings, what if all we see on the code page in terms of large letters were radio operators 'Pro Signs' short codes for a number of elements of all radio messages?

Strange M's & The Letter V
Looking at the 'code page' the first thing that may strike you is the use of the letter M on each of the first 4 lines of the code. You should notice how they are different styles, the first and third Ms are quite stylised, unusual in form whilst the second and fourth Ms are what you could call standard in form.

As you will read, it now appears possible that the first stylised M followed by an R could mean that this was a message received by the holder of the book. The second, standard shaped M, could indicate that this line was transmitted by the holder. The same theory applies to the Ms in the third and fourth lines, receiver then sender. Of course, this is a first attempt at understanding the nature of the M's and more needs to be done to either confirm it or consider alternatives.

The first letter in the last line is a letter V. Again as you will read, the V is the from line, this would indicate who sent it. That would be interesting to know, indeed it all will be.

We know that each of these letters contained micro letters and numbers and it now looks like we know at least the purpose behind each of the 5 lines. The next step is to further clean up the indiviual micro code letters and numbers within each of the larger letters, now perhaps we're getting somewhere.

A Eureka Moment..
A US radio field manual from WW2 may provide some more answers.
(View this manual here. When you read it, the first page describes how this version supersedes earlier ones, the search is on for copies of these, they could provide even more insight. Let us know if you find copies.)

Within the manual we find the following 'Pro Signs':
A means 'The originator of this message is indicated by the call sign immediately following'
AB in a sequence means 'All Before'
B means 'More to follow'
C means 'Correct' or, 'The following is the correct version'
D means 'Deferred'
G means 'Repeat back'
N means 'Not received'
O means 'Urgent'
P means 'Priority'
R means 'Received'
T means 'Transmit to..'
V means 'From'

If the last two letters of the code are not AB but AR then that would mean 'This is the end of my transmission to you and no response is required or expected'

What this may mean within the context of the 'code page' is not exactly clear at this time but it does seem possible that the larger letter may have direct relevance to the smaller micro contents of that letter. For example the letter 'C' at the end of line 4 could be saying 'the micro code contents of this letter is the correct version' and another example could be the letter 'P', which occurs twice in line 3, could mean, 'the micro code in this letter is a priority'.

Stay tuned! There's much more to follow and you read it here first!

To borrow a phrase, what we have found here is not the cure, but it does show us symptoms not seen recognised before, they were hidden in plain sight.

Coming soon, 'How the 'code' was 'Transmitted' not how you may be thinking..



10 comments:

  1. This is going to be quite a ride ..

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    1. Pete, you're right, in all fairness the lead for this came from you, in our recent discussion you asked about whether operators would have their own 'shorthand' the answer was that it was unlikely. What the US had was a military radio operators manual which includes a set of message protocols called Pro Signs. Thanks..

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  2. Hi Gordon, Fascinating stuff you've dug up!

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    1. Holds some promise. i haven't seen this picked up before in the SM case so it seemed to me to be an almost miraculous fit but then again :) Right now I am searching for the earlier versions of the manual to see whether other letters were also used. There are 17 letters of the alphabet used on the code page and the manual has 11 of them as stand alone prosigns. Those missing letters are:E, I , L , M , Q , S
      It is possible that the other letters are call signs for other members of a net. thanks for your comment and your thoughts are welcomed.

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  3. GC: Do you think that the code is evidence of a lesson, or an exercise?

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    1. Hi Pete, I think that the letters we see on the page were carriers of information and that this information was not meant to be seen or understood by anyone except those in the know. That task was well executed given the fact that it has taken 66 years to get to the stage that we have now, i.e. recognition that the larger letters were made up of smaller, miniature letters.

      As to their purpose I would think it was a serious one and not an exercise which, interestingly, is the way some have been treating it. Consider the happenings in and close to Adelaide right at that time, a great gathering of high level public servants and military officials from around the world, testing of top secret rockets and other weaponry at Woomera and Salisbury and probably more elsewhere in South Australia then, on the last day of November, the Prime Minister of Australia paid a 1 day visit.

      Our man is found the very next day and thus began a 66 year mystery. So, not an exercise but quite possibly a lesson for someone to take heed.

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  4. GC: am I looking at a coded message, written in miniature, and presented in the form of a code used in by radio operators to identify themselves ... ?
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    1. Pete, it appears to match, at least partially at this stage, a transcript of a morse code message. I am not sure exactly how it works as yet but I see the larger letters being the transcript and the miniature letters within each of the larger letters being the code. There were a few smart technologies including burst transmissions which may be part of what we are seeing. The bursts would transmit at high speed with each being separated by a code letter. Early days as yet but I am sure there will be more. The big questions that need to be answered are, OK so you have a code what does it mean and what did they do with the information?

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  5. Replies
    1. Lengthy process but underway. The larger letters are now relatively straightforward, it's the detail in the micro sense that is going to be a challenge but I have taken some steps to enlist some help with that task.

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