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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.

Sunday, 10 January 2016

SOMERTON MAN: LZ 551/G not a Bulgarian airline ticket but...

You may recall the discovery of the letters and numbers on the code page just beneath the last two letters of the code, at the time I thought that the letters and numbers could have been from a Bulgarian Airline as it seemed to be a close match to a TABSO airline flight number and ticket from Sofia to London.

When you look close at what is admittedly a difficult image to view, the letters LZ are reasonably clear but the numbers seem to be 1556. What if it was misread in the first instance and it should, in fact, be 551 and then not a 6 but a letter G? That could easily be misread.

The picture below tells the story.

Sea Vampire Jet Fighter

The date was December 3rd 1945 and the location was an aircraft carrier, HMS OCEAN, a Royal Navy craft, situated just off the Isle of Wight. The occasion was the first-ever landing of a jet aircraft on a carrier, the Vampire, the fastes jet fighter in the world at the time, bears the registration number LZ551G.

Interestingly, The Ocean was originally destined to join the RAN fleet but there was a sudden change of plan.

How is it that we have this number from a Royal Navy event and the 283X found in the last line which shows up in top secret Admiralty messages as per a recent post? (Read more here..)

On top of that the last post shows the letters AVO beneath the first letter M on the code page, as follower Clive points out, that could be part of the word AVON, which at that time was a top secret and still under development Jet Engine which was meant to be a replacement for the Nene engine which powered the Vampire jet after the initial 'Goblin' engine. As it happens, the AVON engine was used in the Canberra jet bomber after extended development. Read more here.

Interestingly, thanks again to Clive, a long lost article from the Truth dated August 2nd 1942 by him which has a name of great interest, a Mr. P. Thompson, included in it and associated with the then Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation factory in Sydney with a strong link to a well known communist organiser, a friendship in fact.Trove Link here. What do you make of this Pete Bowes?

You can view the video of the landing here, a special moment in Naval history:

There is some further verification things to happen including ensuring we have the right name, one wonders what the effect of this revelation could be? Comments are very welcome


Anonymous said...

Hi Gordon, I contacted Ralph Cusack about employees of CAC. Ralph advised me to contact a Bryan Ridgeway. I spoke to Bryan this am and he worked nxt door to CAC at Fishermen's Bend back in the 1940's. Bryan advised me that CAC records are held in Canberra. Clive

peterbowes said...

A lady over my way seems to have the whole thing solved ..

Anonymous said...

Hi Gordon, Just a couple of comments: Gerry's book Page 84 Lawson's recollections state "Detective Brown pointed out a body" A body? just seems an odd remark. Gerry's book Page 157 Laundry marks on trousers-from UK to Australia? If the SM was one of the 15 engineers in the UK this would rather make sense? Clive

Gordon332 said...

What you say about the laundry marks is correct, it could be one of those apparently small and insignificant details that might link link to one of the engineers. On the 'Body' issue, it seems to me that, from memory, that would be a standard way to refer to it in a statement.