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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, 24 September 2016



The First Of Three possible 'suspects' for the Somerton Man

The header image shows the covers of two flyers designed and produced by the internees at Hay Internment Camp 7. They both depict ballet dancers and was indeed part of their productions, but. at this point at least, our interest is in one particular ballet dancer.

You may notice the name HECKROTH on the flyer to the left. If his name sounds familiar it could be because this is the same Heckroth who painted all 120 backdrops for the ballet Movie, 'The Red Shoes'

This is a joint post with Clive who continues to put in a huge amount of effort with this project, apart from that he's a good bloke to work with. He is seriously good value and when we find SM it will in no small part be due to the work that Clive puts in.

UPDATE: Please see base of the page for latest update, 'Dental Records'

This is what we know:

This man was described as a ballet dancer :

5' 11 1/2 " in height

156 lbs in weight

Hazel eyes

He had brown hair

He had no distinguishing marks recorded

He arrived in Australia on the HMT Dunera in September 1940. He was a Dunera Boy.

He was one of 25 men that lived in Hut 26 at Hay Camp. This is the same hut that was occupied by George Anthony Teltscher, the designer of the Hay Bank notes that included on them numerous instances of very clever, concealed and disguised micro written letters and numbers. 

(As a slight aside but quite relevant is that Mr. Teltscher's mother's maiden name was Adams, she was an American and was a known descendant of George Adams, the 2nd. President of the United States, DNA included.)

He was born in Berlin

He was a Catholic on his form, (an issue with that is that only Jewish and part-Jewish internees occupied Camp 7 with Protestants and Catholics in Camp 8 at Hay.)

He had considerable international dance experience and was well recognised in those circles in Europe according to press reports. (The DVD The Dunera Boys, includes a section on a dancer and a cabaret put on by the Dunera Boys)

According to  records, his family being deceased, he nominated just one friend on his form, an American,  a Mr Milton Waldman of Oxfordshire as a next of kin. Mr Waldman was an author who also carried out proofreading and editing work for book publishers. His main claim to fame is that he once famously turned down Alexander Tolkien's work, The Lord of The Rings for being too lengthy. 

Our ballet dancer was later to name a Peggy Waldman as a next of kin.

In 1942, after first being transferred from Hay to Tatura in Victoria, our ballet dancer is released from internment and  joined the 8th Employment Company via Bendigo but with it's base at Royal Park in Melbourne . The 8th was the home of some 500 ex Dunera boys whose work included fruit picking, wood chopping as well as loading transports vehicles and trains.

In January 1943, the man, now a Corporal, announced his engagement to an Elisabeth Weiner, a teacher and herself a well-known ballet dancer.

Following the war, our man took part in a number of dance productions and one article in particular was of great interest, in it an evenings entertainment and dance described our man as appearing in tartan. Those familiar with the case will recall the case at Adelaide Railway Station that contained a large tartan scarf. A small detail but who knows where that may lead?

In 1945 he applied for Naturalisation.

In August 1948, it appears that he had found that his mother was still alive and he applied for her to enter Australia. No doubt he would have communicated with her by mail, possibly lettercard as would many other internees with relatives in Europe. One wonders how he may have known that his mother was still alive.

That year 1947, is the last in which we can find any trace of our man who's name was:

Karl Alfred Elmar Peter Schmitz.

This man is the first of three on our list. 

We have two issues for him, both of which will possibly be resolved:

1. His date of birth is shown as 1918, this would make him too young to be SM. However, on talking with both Dunera museums, they were quite clear that it was very common for wrong details including dates of birth to be entered on internees forms. Another issue that could relate is the apparent age difference between Peter and his fiance, Elisabeth Weiner who was 12 years his senior, which, at that time was not the done thing. We found no record of a marriage between them. The level of Peter's experience as published makes it unlikely that he was just 22 years of age when he arrived in Australia.

2. We have no photograph of the man we will call Peter Schmitz.

This is where we need your help, of the 9800 people who view this blog each month, I am hopeful that some will be able to join us and see if we can find a photograph of Peter. We won't publish your details unless you specifically ask to do so. 



The Hay Internment camp had an excellent dentist, himself an internee, there is a very interesting story attached to this man and his work but for this time, our focus is on the detailed dental records he kept of the treatment of his many patients. As many will know, the Somerton Man had some specific dental issues including a number of missing teeth. Dental records can be a lot like fingerprints of course and Clive is in the process of following through on this aspect.

The images above are examples of the Hay dental records kept by Reinhold Waldsax

These records will be extraordinarily valuable in our research.

Some additional background, Mr. Waldsax had very few instruments when he arrived in Hay and often had to fabricate them from other items such as 6 inch nails and screws, an incredibly resourceful man.

Another update for you, there is a link between Peter Schmitz and an Internationally known Art benefactor. More to follow.

As you can see, we have some more work to do with this man's information. If we find something that totally precludes Peter from our search then we will move on to our next 2 'suspects'.
We will be adding a number of images of various press articles over the coming days.


Anonymous said...

What's his place of birth and nationality?

Gordon332 said...

Peter was German and born in Berlin. To this time we have not been able to source any documents from Germany, the understanding is that many documents were destroyed and no doubt that would have contributed to the question marks over refugees and the stateless.

Australia undertook to have 6000 male deportees from the UK. The Dunera carried 2542 men in total, 2342 were German and 200 were Italian. The group included 250 German POWs and the 200 Italians were also POWs.

Gordon332 said...

Peter Schmitz has been found, he had cut short his full name of Karl Alfred Elmar Peter Schmitz to Alfred Peter Schmitz and he resurfaced in records in the electoral roles between 1963 and 1972. Peter died in 1977 and is buried alongside his mother on Springvale Botanical Cemetery in Victoria. Interestingly his date of birth is shown as act 1914 and not 1918.

Misca, Many thanks for letting us know that you had found Peter Schmitz's records. Well done! You've been involved in this case for quite some time and your approach once again underlines your level of professionalism. Congratulations and hope to hear more of you.

Anonymous said...

Second president of US was John Adams.

Gordon332 said...

Thanks, For a moment there I thought everyone was asleep, besides I always thought it was Sam Adams, not a bad brew.