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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.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016



Amongst SM's belongings were the shoes he was wearing...

we have found the match..

SLIPPERS but with a twist have been found, 

Next post 23/10/16

In the marked image above, you will see a range of shoes that are from a NSW catalogue dating back to 1948. It is from FOY's a subsidiary of Coles at the time and also Myers. Specifically marked are two areas, the top right shows the manufacturers name, J McKeown. The shoe that is marked is known as a half brogue and you can see that there are 6 lace eyelets, the colour specified is either black or brown, also note that the soles are genuine welted soles. In earlier catalogues, the brand name was shown sewn inside the shoe, this is not the case in this catalogue and there was no brand name in SM's shoes which helps to date the purchase.

That shoe description is and appearance is an exact match for the Somerton Man's shoes that you can see to the right.

In the image of SM's shoes, you can see the fairly small size of the punch holes across the toe caps where they join the upper of the shoes, in fact there are 21 on each cap. This is less easy to see in the catalogue image, I do have other catalogues which I will search to see if we can get a clearer image,

The significance of the name McKeown is that I believe it was the name written down by Mr. Cleland in his notes regarding the man's shoes.


In the Somerton Man's suitcase, a pair of burgundy slippers were found. Looking through the various catalogues, there were no felt burgundy slippers for men, however, there were felt burgundy slippers for women. This clipping from a Fays catalogue shows them and you will see that the size range went from 2 to 7:

The slippers are seen to the left at the base of the image below and look to be burgundy in colour, you can also just make out the heel which is very similar to the style of the catalogue image above.


Whilst it is good to find this match, perhaps of greater significance is the fact that these shoes were a catalogue item, in those days also referred to as 'mail order'.

As you know, along with Clive, I have been carrying out some extensive research into the Dunera Boys and Internees who were housed at Hay in NSW and then later at Tatura in Victoria. Many internees were released to either go back to the UK, go to Palestine, join one of the labour Battalions in Australia and some were kept in the camps until 1944. Tibor Kaldor was in the latter category for example. Back to the research, those that went into the labour battalions, the 8th Employment company for example, were able to earn money and, according to one letter written by an internee, it was common practice for them to save up and buy items by mail order from Coles and or Myers.

As you have probably surmised, this post supersedes an earlier one in which I had mentioned that it was quite possible that SMs shoes were made at Tatura by one of the shoemaker internees. Whilst that is still a possibility, this discovery is, in my view, far more likely.

Does this mean that he bought by mail order? Not necessarily, he could have walked in and bought/ordered them in one of the Coles or Myers outlets in Melbourne. As you will read in an upcoming post, it is possible that when bought, SM was in fact in a remote location and from which it was practice to use mail order.

Another piece in the puzzle.

Gradually we are ticking the boxes. To date we have the shoes, the slippers and in an earlier post, we have the knife and scissors that show a marked similarity to tools used in Internment and POW camps in Australia during WW2.

We have also been able to show that many internees came ashore with nothing but the clothes on their backs and that clothing was donated by various charities.

What of the white laundry bag marked Kean? What of the American made jacket with feather stitching? The steel comb?


In the next post we will discuss those items and more plus there will be new information that will show the one place in Victoria where American and Australian servicemen and women would be found along with Dunera Boys/Internees.
We really seems like we are closing in on the identity of the Somerton Man. The next post will take us even closer.


duroncrush said...

The photo of the shoes show that both had an unusual lacing. Unfortunately the aglets of the lace are not visible, obscuring possible reasons for the unusual lacing. Some possible reasons are the laces were trimmed back to remove frayed ends
They are the wrong length, possibly from a different pair of shoes. To reduce pressure on the top of the foot maybe because of an injury that affected both feet, or some other reason.

Gordon332 said...

The photo of the shoes was taken some years after the event I think. As for the reason for the unusual appearance, I suggest that the shoes would have been unlaced to remove them and then later they have been subjected to search which would have involved removing the laces entirely and then replacing them. All we can do is take a guess at this stage.

duroncrush said...

Good point I failed to consider that the police would search shoes, but this is an unusual case. Thanks

Gordon332 said...

As a matter of interest, shoe laces could be used in a few ways two of which would be known as 'active concealment'. An active concealment relates to the message being incorporated into an item that still retained its original use. A 'passive' concealment would be concealment in a special purpose item such as a 'dead drop' stake or similar. One concealment for the active shoe lace was to use different patterns of tying the shoe lace which would convey various messages to the informed observer and the other was to insert tiny rolled up messages inside the shoe lace itself.