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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.

Monday, 29 August 2016

SOMERTON MAN: WE HAVE A NAME PART 5. The 3 Connections SMs Dhoes, The Tools & The Laundry. UPDATED 13.50, 31/08/16


Tatura Internment Camp 3 



Tatura Camp 3 was for Internees who came from overseas as well as from within Australia. Each of the various camps at Tatura were almost self-sufficient. They had canteens, a shop, a hospital, a laundry,  a school and workshops. The map above is dated 1945, the Dunera Boys, Tibor Kaldor amongst them, were released in 1942 but all other internees remained at the camps until late 1946.

Connection 1: SM's Suitcase, The Woodblock Carving Tools

The men were able to work and get paid within the camp and many went along to educational and art classes. Amongst the artwork created, were prints made from hand-carved woodblocks. Those that are familiar with the Somerton Man case would know that amongst items found in the suitcase were tools, here's an example from this blog almost 2 years ago, it shows the comparison between woodblock carving tools and the knife found in SM's suitcase:




This is yet another item linking the Somerton Man to an internment camp, there's more as you will read in this post.

Connection 2: The Somerton Man's Shoes


Cleland commented on the quality of these shoes, in his view they had been custom made and were a good fit for the man. They had no brand name but they did have a number inside the shoes, 204B.

In an amazing document found on the web, 'TRANSPORTED TO THE END OF THE WORLD' the author Helmut Ruff had recorded some intricate details of life in the Tatura camp. You are able to download that document here.

Here's a relevant extract from page 16 of the pdf it describes some of the tradespeople within the camp and the sorts of things that were available to them, you'll note that there was a bootmaker, other reading says that there were in fact 5 boot makers in total:

The rate of one shilling [ = 10 cents for  a minimum  of  6 hours'  work  a day was the standard payment by the Australian authorities to POW's and civilian internees  employed  on jobs  deemed  essential  by  the Army.
The value of the money in those days was much more than today. For one shilling or ten cents you could get a basic meal in a cafe, buy a bottle of beer or a large packet of cigarettes or visit the cinema.)

Of those employed permanently inside the camp the Army pays at present 9 cooks, 1 boiler stoker, 1 bootmaker, 1 gents' tailor, 1 ladies' tailor, 1 plumber, 1 hairdresser, 2 hospital orderlies and 5 teachers. But these are not sufficient to guarantee the efficient running of the camp. Therefore these paid workers voluntarily donate 2 shillings per week with which those additionally employed but unpaid workers are recompensed. The latter are 9 men in. administrative positions, 2 carpenters/joiners, 4 gardeners, 4 boot makers, 3 kitchen helpers, 2 doctor's assistants, 2 dental assistants, and 11 teachers. Many of these voluntarily forgo any regular payment.

The Army requires daily an average of 15 men to work on various duties outside the camp, including those in the vegie garden. These workers are not asked to contribute any of their pay.

The bootmakers', tailors' and joiners' shops are run on a non-profit basis, charges are based on costs of materials plus the one shilling per day for the tradesman. This also applies to our watchmaker and the hairdresser.

For shoe repairs the Army supplies only soles for army boots,  material  for  all  other types  of  shoes  must  be  purchased  by  us.

As you can see, shoes were repaired and made on the camp and internees were able to order particular kinds of sandals and shoes that were then made for them. In discussions with the Museums, it was said that hand-made shoes were numbered, they had to be in order to keep track of a customers order. You can also see that the army supplied the soles and if you look carefully at the welt/ soles on SM's shoes above, you will see that they look to be oversized. That could be as the result of using a standard size army issue sole attached to the hand-made but bought in leather uppers.


Apart from having a store where items could be bought, internees also had rations and could obtain items of food and select from a range of cigarettes. The image below is from a camp at Tatura.




The camps also had a University with many subjects being taught including languages which were English,Italian, German, French and Russian.

       Connection 3. The Laundry


This is a typical hut for internees, it appears to have twelve beds and you can see chairs, boxes and suitcases as well as numerous items of clothing. If you look carefully to the right of centre towards the top of the image and hanging from a beam you will see what appears to be a white laundry bag, these were apparently quite common and bore names. A similar white laundry bag was found in the Somerton Man's suitcase with the name 'Keane' written on it.

We also know that many people would do their own laundry but the hospital units in the camps had a serviced laundry which used laundry numbers. We are waiting at the moment for the result of a search for images of laundered items and the inside views of camp laundries.

The research thus far has established that shoes could be made to order at the camps, we also can see how the tools found in the Somerton Man's suitcase could well have been used in woodblock carving for prints and we now await some confirmation on laundry marks.

This post is the culmination of other posts in part and is also the result of collaboration between Clive, myself and others. We are focusing in now on other issues that we have uncovered and believe that it is only a question of time before we can create a short list of SM potentials.
Clive is digging deep into the issue of dentistry, in particular, the dentist at one camp who kept meticulous records of any dental work he carried out, those records still exist and are being researched.

Clive will be revisiting the archives today to see if he can clarify the issue regarding the apparent non-identification of Tibor Kaldor's body and more.

UPDATE

We will be publishing significant additional information about Tibor Kaldor this coming Friday morning Australian time. Clive has done an incredible job of digging out more details on Tibor's passing with a revelation that will surprise and shock many.

In the following post, we will be looking at the relationship between certain internees and the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation establishment at Fishermans Bend. Not generally known is that the Chief Engineer at CAC from 1942 was also a Tatura Internee who had arrived in Australia via Japan. It is also known that there were a number of internees employed in various areas of the CAC in Fishermans Bend.



5 comments:

  1. Both men from the same camp, is that where we're going?

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  2. I think so Pete. That is likely where they would have met. The Tatura area had a number of camps for Internees and POWs (German and Italian) with Internees being basically in three groups, The Dunera Boys arriving in 1941 ex Hay although it seems some stayed on in Hay as well, then there were Australian Internees plus Internees from Palestine, Singapore, Malaya.

    The background provided by Tibor has a lot physically in common with SM. Not a big leap to think that they would have met up in the camp. Around 1000 Dunera Boys stayed in Australia the rest went back to the UK. Having said that, some of those that went to the UK returned here after the war.

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  3. .... and all the homing pigeons come home to roost.

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  4. Indeed, like a boomerang you might say :)

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  5. I found a pic of a bunch if Hay internees who had formed a small musical outfit, I was hoping hoping to find a man with a flute but they were mostly Italian and they had lots of guitars and trumpets.

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