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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, 2 July 2016

Somerton Man: About that tie..


Tracking Down the Somerton Man's Tie..



The tie that the Somerton Man was wearing has long been a subject of interest. Was it a club tie? Where was it made? How did it come into his possession?

All good and valid questions and researchers have looked high and low and came up with some very close matches. One of the challenges we have with this image is of course that it is in black and white, we can see what appears to be 3 different shades of colour but no more than that; enough to get an idea of the pattern at least. As events unravelled, there are references to the colour of the striped tie and that it was likely of US design due to the right to left diagonal pattern. The issue being that British striped ties had diagonals that went from left to right or 'heart to sword' as it is/was more popularly known. However, both patterns were common in Australia during the 1940s as is evidenced by this image of the SA Police Radio Communications Room in August 1948:

As you should be able to see, the gentleman second in from the right of the image is wearing a right to left striped tie.

So, it would be fair to say that the use of this particular design was reasonably common place.
Having spent time over the years in tracking down the SM design as in various manufacturers, eBay and others, it seems to me that there are quite a few possibilities.

What if we were able to track down an example that was linked in some way to an Intelligence Service for example? That would be interesting and, certainly, break the tedium of browsing endless catalogues and web pages only to say, 'Look what I've found!'

As part fo the normal research process, I quite regularly browse through YouTube and some of the WW2 and early cold war video clips looking for various bits of clues. SOme few months back I came up with one particular documentary that looked specifically at MI5 and SOE in WW2. The subject is always of interest because of the micro-writing link to SOE and their Ink H process which was used to create the SM code page. Rather than suggest you go through the entire video, which is very interesting by the way, I took a couple of screen grabs of two narrators that were most interesting:


This gentleman, in particular, was most interesting, he is sporting a very nice example of a diagonal striped tie that seems to me to be a match to that worn by the Somerton Man. I would admit that I would be happier if we had a few more different angle shots to better highlight the pattern but it is certainly very close. I was unable to find this man's name but some more digging will probably turn it up.

And so was this man:


Although, his tie is not quite close enough being minus a pale coloured stripe.

So, here's the side by side comparison of SM and the closest match
tie wearer!

















It appears that the blue band may not be broad enough but it may be that the angle at which both images were originally taken could be causing the problem. SO, here's another shot of SM's tie but this time in amongst the suitcase contents:


Looks a little different here doesn't it? Sufficient I think not to discount it at this stage.

A very brief post on what may prove to be a link, albeit tenuous for now at least.

Here's the link to the video:

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