A WARNING: Those site visitors of Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander Culture should be aware that there are photographs and images of the deceased.

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.

Learn more about the Association including membership requirements at

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, 20 August 2016

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


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.


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..


Swords14 said...

That's entirely left field! What a find, wonder why no one has come across that before? Any sign of a suitcase?

Robert Nowak said...

Really interesting, Gordon and Clive! Great sleuthing, gentlemen! I hope others heed your admonition to act respectfully, and the Dunera museum is a good cause. Well done, all round.

Gordon332 said...

Lots of stones turned over! Always good to get a result and a result like this is rare. To this time, we haven't found a suitcase nor a mention of one in the docs.

Thanks for comment!

Gordon332 said...

Thanks Robert, Good things happen when you cooperate :) Glad you like the post, I think it is probably the most exciting lead that has crossed my path. Good work by Clive and then working together to tease out any related opportunities and there certainly are plenty of those in this case. Thanks for the comment!

peterbowes said...

this is so good, it's unsettling ...

Gordon332 said...

Thanks Pete, What's really good is that the original documents are still in existence. A stark comparison with the SM case information, the manner in which much of the evidence was kept is in stark contrast to the SM situation, and yet the same people were involved.

Anonymous said...

Hi Robert/ Pete, Thanks for your comments. I must admit if I hadn't been looking for information, on Detective Canney, in The Advertiser, I wouldn't have checked Tibor Klador's death. Then again, as I mentioned to Gordon, anyone could have stumbled across the item.

Gordon332 said...

Aha!, Well my response at the time was, 'Not everyone would have looked!' And they didn't for nearly 70 years, you did. :)

Somebody said...

Are you sure all of those articles refer to the same Tibor Kaldor (which seems a surprisingly common name)?
The newspaper articles about his death talk about him being "a Hungarian" (and yes, I know, sometimes newspapers get things wrong), whereas his naturalisation intent talks about "of Austrian nationality".
I'm also not sure the "living in London pre-war" fits nicely with the refugee boat either.
The missing Kaldor is "about 50" - which while almost consistent with someone who would have been 46, leaves enough margin to be someone other than the dead Kaldor.

Not saying everything is wrong, but I'm not sure we're getting a complete picture just yet.

Somebody said...

Oops - ok the PoW record shows London as place of capture

Gordon332 said...

SOMEBODY: No problem, it's easily done. There will another post going up on Wednesday Australian time and that will hopefully clarify a few things whilst at the same time creating more questions no doubt.

What I have found interesting is the fact that the TK case has a huge amount of background information and a fair amount of original documentation as opposed to the SM case which had very little and which was handled by the same people, within 2 weeks.

Most of the TK and Dunera information has quite a good audit trail but there are instances where some internees place of birth information seems to have changed as did their occupations, that may be for political reasons to suit their case. Might publish a few examples of bureaucratic bungling. Some of it is heart rending.

I reiterate that we will share what we find but cannot guarantee what gets released and when as it does depend on what we have as priorities and there's only so much resource available. I am sure you understand, I am equally sure that many will pursue their own lines of investigation and where we can offer any additional information for them, we will do that.

Thanks for your comments.

Somebody said...

Eating small piecves of humble pie :)

The NAtional Archives paperwork shows birthplace Hungary and Nationality Austrian (and there appears to be some link to records of dual citizenship that I'd have to pay to see) so I take back the Hungarian vs Austrian difference as being significant....

Gordon332 said...

In fact, the history of this man is even more complex. I don't want to pre-empt Wednesdays coming post but it does contain further interesting and relevant information about Tibor courtesy of another valued team member. That's cruel isn't it :)

Gordon332 said...

In fact, the history of this man is even more complex. I don't want to pre-empt Wednesdays coming post but it does contain further interesting and relevant information about Tibor courtesy of another valued team member. That's cruel isn't it :)