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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, 30 November 2016


68 Years ago today, the  body of a man was found on a beach near Adelaide. 
He has never been identified.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016



Now Take A Closer Look..

Yesterday I wrote the following part of this post and added it to the previous post as a 'random'' thought:

Hmm, what if the first letter R in line 1 was really a K? What if someone added the outer flourish? The last letter on line 5 is the R that I showed some time ago. Raises the stakes on the set of initials perhaps?

George Teltscher, the designer of the Hay Bank Notes, used many different techniques to hide names and other information within his designs. What if the letters of the code page had another layer of information woven into them? The Pro Sign theory would remain as would the microcode. I am sure that other names can be found amongst the letters, the question would be, would those names be relevant as is the case with Tibor? What is the probability of Tibor Kaldor's name being spelt out with  letters from the code page? Not, quite spelt in total but incredibly close., we are apparently one letter short being that 'K'.


Below I have listed the names thus far found:





Within the letters of the code page the above names are to be readily found, all 4 of which are very closely associated with the Somerton Man case. The occurrence of Danetta was something of a moment if you recall, this name turned up in the Acrostic code examination of Tibor Kaldor's last note.

Is this really possible? Could it be this simple? Why hasn't anybody found this before? (That includes me by the way). I am sure there are some good logical explanations for some names to be spelt out from the code page letters, but these specific names? I do not understand why no one has stumbled  across this before.

What do we think the probability is that we could find these names, do we think it is pure chance?

There are many thousands of words that can be made up from the 18 letters of the alphabet that comprise the letters of the 'code'. It still begs the question as to how these names, in particular, were readily found. It is accepted that these are familiar names, after finding the Tibor _aldor set of letters I set out to find if other names or part names were there and they were quickly found. If I had another set of names in mind would I have found them as quickly?

I have looked at a word generator but it had a limit of 15 letters, leaving us 3 letters short. The number of possible words found was 8900 of ten characters and less.

I am certain that someone can do the math and ascertain just how many names of say, 12 letters or less could be generated from the total of 18 characters, being:


Quite frankly I was surprised by it, could it be that more names of those associated with the case
are on this code page and could it be that the name of the Somerton Man is amongst them? I don't honestly have the answer to that particular question but I do think it's worth pursuing.

The reality is that I could be wrong.  but I do think that this has the very definite potential to turn the whole case on its head.

In closing this post off, I refer back to the earlier comment regarding the incredible skills of George Teltscher, the designer of the Hay Bank notes and the man who was adept at hiding messages in places where you would least expect to find them, namely, as in this case, in plain sight.

With many thanks to Clive for his ongoing input, advice and support and my apologies to Anton, as you can see there have been quite a few things happening concurrently but I will respond to your comments which I found to be very valuable and they are very much appreciated. Another day or so and I will post a response.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

SOMERTON MAN: THE RED BOOK, A LIST OF SPIES. TIBOR's name found on the code page Updated 17.15 hrs Monday 28/11/2016


(View updated information at base of this post)

The image above is the cover page from a document marked SECRET, It was prepared by the Royal Australian Air Force,  it details a list of 76 men who were deemed to be members of the German Secret Service and who operated in Iran up until their arrest and internment by British Military in 1941.  This document is quite brief having some 21 pages in total.

It was found almost by accident, there had been mentions of the existence of this list and of the interrogations but nothing cropped up using the usual keywords for the NAA website. That is until one day a couple of weeks ago, I happened to enter some hitherto unused words and Voila, the list appeared.

It is a fascinating document, providing as it does, the names, some of which were misspelt, and the outcomes of their interviews.

The note above is from the Red Book file and I suggest you read it in its entirety. It mentions the 'luke warms' and the 'activists', stool pigeons', 'Austrian refugee friends' and their visits to the compounds where these men would be interned. It is in this document that we found the mechanism by which TK and others may have met known agents.

Of particular note is that amongst the list of 76 men, there were some who are referred to as 'Russians', men who, whilst German, had ben 'taken over' by the Russians and who operated on their behalf in Iran.

Working with Clive, the list was scanned for any immediate 'suspects', anyone who would jump out from the list either because of their name or because of their activities. The first one was a known Nazi and agent of the German Secret Service and for employment, he headed up the Iranian Telephone company in Teheran. Of particular interest was a short description of his interests as an agent, his focus was on the Zoroastrian Persians. In a recent post covering Clive's interview with Paul Lawson, you may recall that Mr Lawson made mention of Jestyn, her leaving flowers at SM's grave and her telling a Detective that the act was related to an old Persian religion.

In that scrap of information, we could see the connection between Jestyn, the Rubaiyat, (Often quoted in the Zoroastrian sphere) and a possible and hitherto unknown aspect of SM's religious leanings.

On the list, the man's name first appears as 'Fritz Mecheer', we were unable to find anyone by that
name on the NAA site. Thanks to some great work by Clive, we turned up the man's real name, 'Fritz Mechler' and below is a copy of a document from his NAA files:

This clip is from the Red Book SECRET document.

The files for most of the men on the list include photographs and fingerprints. From the main image, you can see that Fritz does not match the description of SM.

Fritz, along with more than 400 other German men and women from Iran were put on the Rangitiki and arrived in outer harbour on the 19th November 1941. They were all interned at Camp Loveday near Barmera in South Australia's Riverland. Fritz remained there along with his fellow travellers until he was transferred to Tatura Internment Camp on 1st February 1945. In January 1947 he was moved from No.1 camp at Tatura to No 3 Camp, Rushworth near Tatura.

Fritz was repatriated to Germany on 24th November 1947 and travelled on the USS General Stuart Heintzleman, a US Army Transport. At this time, we don't know whether he ever returned to Australia.

There will be more items posted from this book and another set of 3 very relevant manuals discovered quite recently.

UPDATED. 17.15 Monday 28 November 2016. But first a composite image made from some of the letters of the Somerton Man code page:

Hmm, what if the first letter R in line 1 was really a K? What if someone added the outer flourish? The last letter on line 5 is the R that I showed some time ago. Raises the stakes on the set of initials perhaps?

George Teltscher, the designer of the Hay Bank Notes, used many different techniques to hide names and other information within his designs. What if the letters of the code page had another layer of information woven into them? The Pro Sign theory would remain as would the microcode. I am sure that other names can be found amongst the letters, the question would be, would those names be relevant as is the case with Tibor? What is the probability of Tibor Kaldor's name being spelt out with  letters from the code page? Not, quite spelt in total but incredibly close., we are appaently one letter short being that 'K'.

Food for thought.

Next Post

On this coming Thursday 1st December marking 68 years to the day when the Somerton Man's body was found on Somerton Beach near Adelaide in South Australia, we will make available a range of manuals and related documents and links for those that are interested in this story and the facts that lay behind it.

Thursday, 24 November 2016


Recommended Reading!

The Bookmaker from Rabaul is a fictionalised account of the Somerton Man case. An enduring Australian mystery that began in December 1948 when a body was discovered on Somerton Beach: a man, overdressed for hot weather and no clue as to his identity.

Who was he? How and why did he die? Did the Somerton Man get out of his depth in a world of espionage and events beyond his control or comprehension? And what about Jessica – the woman he loved and whose life he changed forever.

This vividly imagined and meticulously researched account offers a gripping fictional interpretation of a true-life mystery that remains unsolved to this day. A detailed afterword describes the people and events that inspired this book.

Fellow Blogger Pete Bowes has been working assiduously on the production of his latest book, 'The Bookmaker From Rabaul'.  Those who have been following Pete's Toms By Two blog will be quite familiar with the story of this story! Knowing Pete, I am certain that this book will be a fascinating read and I am really looking forward to getting my copy from Amazon, it's to be released there on December 1st. A propitious date for the Somerton Man.

Congrats to you Pete, I wish you every success!

Monday, 21 November 2016



This will be a 'Living' post. in other words, as more similar ads are found I will post them here on this page along with a comment.

The first of these ads of interest is this one dated September 1948, it is likely that this ad was placed by Tibor Kaldor, the reasoning behind that being the use of Ph D and Vienna which is where Tibor Kaldor is thought to have attended University and gained his degree. For the record Clive has been in communication with Vienna University and they are actively researching their archives for any trace of Tibor Kaldor, the first pass of their records revealed no trace.

What's different about the ad is that it looks to have a box number attached to it. Having extensively searched through ads for language teachers through the 1944 to 1948 period, this was the only such ad that had a box number, if that is what the numbers were. I was unable to find a set of 5 digit numbers in amongst the ads in the AGE. That's not to say there weren't any, just unable to find an example. If there weren't any such box numbers, then I wonder what signiicance the numbers 94860 could hav had?

Tibor's ad was placed 1 month after he had applied for British Naturalisation and 3 months prior to his death by suicide. In between those times, Tibor apparently had his application for British Naturalisation accepted, in fact, that was just one month prior to his death.

This next ad was found by Misca, (many thanks!)

Of note here is that 10 The Avenue, Windsor was the address given for Tibor Kaldor in the news article telling of his death by suicide in Adelaide on December 14th 1948. In the ad he describes himself as 'Dr' T. K. Note again, the addess was given and not a box number.

Misca believes there are more ads by Tibor but they're proving to b elusive at the moment, sometimes Trove shows links and sometimes they escape.

For those interested, there were a number of Language schools in and around Melbourne, mostly in Collins Street and Little Collins Street. One of these schools, The Berlitz Language School, made a point of mentioning that their tutors were, in fact, native German and other language speakers. It raises questions as to whether Tibor may have been employed there at some time and whether Jestyn ever attended a school like this at an early stage prior to her leaving for Sydney.

This last ad shown below, is the well-known ad placed by Prosper regarding a Lost Tudor Gold watch dated 18th. December 1948.

A few things to think about here, firstly it doesn't say whether it was a man's or ladies gold watch and it doesn't give the model (there were several) The Tudor watch was equal to a Rolex and in fact, Rolex bought the company. This was a very expensive watch.

Next, the location where it was lost was not described, you would think that with such an expensive item, you would recall where it could have been lost and for that matter when.

It has always intrigued me as to how many ads looking for valuable watches and other such items were ever answered.


A known covert or clandestine method of communication was to use 'dead end' classified ads, Ads that you knew were not going to get a reply, the real purpose of these ads was to deliver a message. The question would always be just who was the message being sent to? Normally messages such as these were used to trigger further action rather than inform of an event.

It is a classic example of a clandestine message being effectively hidden in plain sight. The message is sent in the clear but because you don't know who it is for and the code, if any used, may have been just a one-time thing, you are left with some non-actionable information.

The method is discussed in a 1943 SOE manual from the UK.

Incidentally, this ad for a watch posted by Prosper, appeared 4 days after Tibor Kaldor was found poisoned in a Hindley Street hotel and just 18 days after the Somerton Man was found, also poisoned.

Looking at Tibor's September ad, could that be a dead end? Would he have placed that ad knowing that people would be highly unlikely to answer a Language ad that had only a box number if, indeed that is what the number was? Tibor was evidently a very intelligent man who was extremely detailed in his communications. A prime example of his abilities may lie in the acrostic code found in his last letter/suicide note. I would ask the question, was it Tibor who placed this, out of character style, ad or was it someone else? And, what message was being sent? What action was being triggered?

It would be an interesting exercise to research the 'unusual' events that took place in the month leading up to Tibor's last ad and the month or so after. Any takers?

Posted with thanks to Clive for his input, support and feedback.

Sunday, 20 November 2016



Above is an image that compares 5 ears from different people with that of the Somerton Man. The list is as follows:

1. Helmut Hendon
2. Jestyn's Grandson, this mans mother was born after SMs time.
3. Somerton Man
4. Jestyn's son, Robin.
5. Jestyn's husband known as Prosper
6 Jestyn's elder brother.

I first published this image in 2009 whilst a member of the University of Adelaide Facebook page.


This image is significant and very relevant for the following reasons, the claim has been made for some time that Robin is SM's son and as proof of that claim, it was stated that Robin shared the same kind of ear as SM. It was also stated that this was a rare type of ear as shown below:
When you compare the 6 comparison images to this last image, you will see that Robins ear appears to show more in common in terms of structure and shape with Prospers and Jestyn's brothers ear and even that of Helmut Hendon. Jestyn's grandson also appears to have an ear that has a larger Cymba than Cavum

The 'rare' condition is in fact shared by 1% of the population, bearing that number in mind, if you consider the population of Australia in 1946 was approximately 7.5 million. That means that that in 1946 there were 35000 males in Australia with that condition, if we say 25% of them would fit the bill in terms of age in 1946 then that would mean there would have been 7500 possible fathers for Robin in Australia based on this theory. If we then consider that Jestyn was in Sydney in 1946 the population there was approximately 1.5 million, using our example above, then in Sydney there would have been close to 1000 men that could have been a candidate.

It would be valuable to have a photograph close up of Jestyn's ear and teeth and those of her family as well as those of Robin, perhaps that is something that could be done?


Much has been made of the issue of the Somerton Man DNA and the links to America. I noted that no one has suggested that there was a match between Robin and SM in that regard. However, the Thompson/Thomson family have long established heritage in the USA:

I could be mistaken here, but I recall some time ago being told that Prosper Thomson had a number of relatives in the US and may even have visited them. Perhaps Misca or Byron could take a look at that.

I have written this post in response to a number of email requests received over the past few months, it would have to say that it has long been a source of interest for me that such scant basic information has been presented and never really questioned.

Was SM Robin's Father?

In the end, will it matter much if SM had American roots? We have already found strong US connections to the internees; our ballet dancer, for example, had strong connections to Peggy Guggenheim , and George Telstcher, the internee designer of the Hay Bank Notes, had a brother in Massachusetts.  The bigger question is, was he Robins father? As you can see from the images there is room for doubt but again he could have been. If he was, what we would have to address is just where and when SM and Jestyn met up in October 1946. It could have been Sydney but that is necessarily so, they could have met up anywhere. Jestyn may have been on leave for example.

One possible clue is Jestyn's statement that implied she was involved in teaching English to Russians. The CPA in Sydney used to run such classes and not that far from the Hospital where Jestyn was supposedly training. We have one teacher of Languages and a Phd at that from the University of Vienna. Clive is doing some extra digging on that subject as I write.

Thanks to Misca, we have found more links on Trove with at least one pointing to a teacher of langages from Vienna who had a Phd but this time with just a box number and not an address or telephone number. At least we think it's a box number.

Friday, 11 November 2016




The above image is a form signed by Tibor as Dr. Tibor Kaldor. This is the only reference we have to him being qualified as a Dr. apart from the ad in the Age newspaper dated 1944 and found by Misca. The question is, what kind of Dr.?

The image below is of the original Metropolitan Police 'Exemption From Internment' Certificate dated 18.12.1939, in the name of Tibor Kaldor. You can see that at the time of its issue, Tibor was unemployed and he has as his occupation, 'Secretary, Insurance Co.'.  His address was 65 Parliament Hill, London NW 3. I have darkened this image as the original was quite faded.

65 Parliament Hill Road, NW3.

The form has been overstamped with 'INTERNED CIRCULAR 21.6.40' That was the date that all 'enemy' aliens were arrested and then placed in Internment camps first in the UK prior to many of them, including Tibor, being put aboard the HMT Dunera for deportation to Australia. For some there was a step prior, they were placed initially on the Andora Star and headed for Canada. 24 hours out on that ill-fated trip, the Andora Star was in fact torpedoed with the loss of many lives most of whom were Internees and some were German POWs.

The internees that survived the sinking were rescued and then later put aboard the HMT Dunera. Once again just 24 hours out, the HMT Dunera was attacked by a U-Boat but the torpedoe, whilst hitting ts target, failed to explode. You can imagine the panic on board especially for those that had escaped the Andora Star. For one reason or another, the British guards threw  the belongings of many internees overboard shortly after the attack. It is recorded that many personal items including false teeth, were amongst the items ditched.

The fact that the vast majority of the internees aboard the Dunera were German meant that the belongings thrown overboard would contain obviously German markings and perhaps documents. So, whilst it is thought by some that the action of dumping the belongings was done in anger, others suggest that it was a deliberate ploy by the British to fool the lurking U-Boat Commander into thinking that the Dunera had German POWs aboard which would hopefully lead him to cease the attack. Whatever the reason, the Dunera completed the rest of its journey to Australia without any further enemy action.

For the record, there is a common misconception that there were German POWs on board the Dunera on that trip which is incorrect according to records and to the interview with Bern, one of the survivors of the original Dunera boys.

As you can see the house, number 65 Parliament Hill, NW 3, and  at which Tibor lived, was quite an attractive property and would have been even more so in those times.

We do not know at this stage just who owned that property and whether Tibor was boarding there or in fact, it was he who owned it. the initial thought is that a refugee from Europe would have been unlikely to carry much money with him but then again more than a few refugees did. In Australia, the practice was to record details of an Internees property if owned or part owned, there is no such entry for Tibor in his Australian documents.

Apart from knowing where Tibor's mother, Rosa, lived, we have been unable to trace any details of Tibor's life in Vienna prior to his escaping Europe at least up to this stage. The district of Josefstad was quite heavily populated and, in the early days, it was a working class area close to the City Centre. In more recent times the area has become a middle-class enclave.

As you will read in the following excerpt from Wikipeia, these were extremely dangerous times for those of Jewish faith in Vienna.

Rosa's Home. Vienna.

Vienna: The Holocaust (1938–1945) WIKIPEDIA

Immediately after the Anschluss, Vienna’s Jews were forced by the local population to clean the city’s pavements.

Just one day after the Anschluss in March 1938, Jews were being harassed in Vienna. They were driven through the streets of Vienna, their homes and shops were plundered and the process of Aryanisation began. These events reached their climax in the Kristallnacht pogrom of 9–10 November 1938. All synagogues and prayer houses in Vienna were destroyed – the Stadttempel was the sole survivor because its location in a residential area prevented it from being burned down. Most Jewish shops were plundered and then closed down; over 6000 Jews were arrested in this one night, the majority were deported to the Dachau concentration camp in the following days. The Nuremberg Laws applied in Austria from May 1938; they were reinforced with innumerable anti-semitic decrees. Jews were gradually robbed of their freedoms, were blocked from almost all professions, were shut out of schools and universities, and were forced to wear the Yellow badge.

The Nazis dissolved Jewish organisations and institutions, hoping to force Jews to emigrate. Their plans succeeded – by the end of 1941, 130,000 Jews had left Vienna, 30,000 of whom went to the USA. They left behind all of their property, but were forced to pay the Reich Flight Tax, a tax on all émigrés from the Third Reich; some received financial support from international aid organisations so that they could pay this tax. Following the Wannsee Conference in January 1942, where the Nazis resolved to completely annihilate the Jewish population, the majority of the Jews who had stayed in Vienna became victims of the Holocaust. Of the more than 65,000 Viennese Jews who were deported to concentration camps, only a few more than 2000 survived.


(An NAA Document. Search 'POWS and Internees')

For reference only at this stage but it does contain some very interesting information. You will read of the practice of issuing internees with writing materials but not just ordinary writing materials. The reference is to 'NOTELOPES' these were combined letters and envelopes made of light weight paper akin to what we may have been used to calling an 'aerogramme', 'PAR AVION' air mail stickers were also issued to internees.

I have darkened this document as once again it was quite faded.

Note that the paper from which the 'Notelopes' were made had to be specially glazed, that was done to prevent the use of secret inks, there was a real fear that a good number of the internees may have been involved in espionage and would communicate to overseas locations in what would appear to be ordinary and non-suspicious letters home though the reality could be that secret messages could be concealed using secret ink preparations. Notelopes were used specifically for airmail where weight of each letter was an important factor.

Note also that should the 'Notelopes' not be available, then plain white paper measuring 10 inches by 6 inches was to be issued together white envelopes.

Another Link To The Somerton Man Case

Amongst the contents of the man's suitcase, there were what were referred to as 'Lettercards' and Par Avion airmail stickers. There were also plain white envelopes found in SM's suitcase.

Whilst we have many photographs of the suitcase contents, no photographs exist of the letter cards, the Par Avion stickers nor the large white envelopes. You should also consider the fact that letter cards as such were for local, within Australia, postage, they would not need Par Avion stickers which were for overseas air mail and therefore lightweight letter grammes or 'Notelopes'

I think that it would be a worthwhile exercise to go through SM's belongings and identify those items listed but for which no photographs exist and then test to find out whether such items would tend to identify something about the man. It seems to me that at the very least, the writing materials , from their description alone, could well provide another link between the Somerton Man and the German Internees/ POWs of Hay and Tatura.

An Unreasonable Fear?

The fear of espionage agents being amongst Australias Internees was not without foundation, work by the intelligence services, including the men and women who interviewed internees on their arrival, had uncovered an extensive ring of Russian Fascists within the Internment Camps. Not only were there fascists but communists, nazis and not a few religious fanatics. This will form the basis of a separate post to follow:

Tibor Kaldor & The SA Police Process For Sudden Deaths.

I have recently spoken with a former SA Police officer who had some 25 years service dating back to the 1960s. I asked him specifically what the procedure was in the event of a Sudden Death being reported. But first let's consider briefly what actually happened and we will concern ourselves just with the process.

The Process Used

The Police had a report of a man found dead at a Hindley street hotel on December 14th 1948. Two weeks to the day of the discovery of SM's body at Somerton Beach.

The body was examined by Police, a substance was found in a glass, there were two letters apparently written by the man found in the hotel room. The body was removed to the morgue where it joined the body of the Somerton Man, the only other occupant at that time.

The Receptionist at the Hotel identified the man to the Police as the same man who had signed in as Tibor Kaldor on the 11th. December 1948.

The report from the autopsy was that the man's death appeared to be consistent with an overdose of Barbiturates.

The Normal Police Process

On receiving information of a Sudden Death, a uniformed Police Officer would attend the scene and a Detective would also be present. So far so good.

The event is automatically treated as suspicious until proven otherwise.

Any evidence is removed for testing. The glass and contents were removed but there is no record of any test taking place.

There were 2 suitcases referred to in a letter found in the room. There is no Police record of the suitcases or their contents in the Police files.

Whilst the autopsy found that the death was consistent with Barbiturate overdose, no actual cause of death was recorded.

The standard Police procedure at the time when a body was found and it was ascertained that the deceased was from outside the police area, then a report goes to the local Detective Superintendent who in turn contacts hs opposite number in the originating Police area and sends a photograph and report, in this case, to the Melbourne City Division. The Melbourne Detective Superintendent organises for the address, if known, of the deceased to be visited and a photographic identification occurs and is certified. The certified ID information and statement of the officer together with a statement from the person identifying the man is forwarded to the originating Detective Superintendent. That information is added to the file.

There is no mention of such a procedure having taken place in this case. The identification was provided by the receptionist at the hotel, she was someone who did not know who the deceased man was prior to his checking in on the 11th December 1948.

Only One Example of Photograph Identification Found.

On the question of identification in the case of Tibor Kaldor, Clive and I have both carried out extensive research on the man and we agree that we should be cognisant of the  following facts:

1. There are no known photographs of Tibor whilst he was in London
2. On arrival at Australia's first Port, Fremantle, all POWs and internees were photographed and fingerprinted. There are no records we can find of that nature for Tibor.
3. There are no known photographs of Tibor at Hay or at Tatura internment camps nor any mention of him in any camp activities nor any photographs in any of the books covering the subject that I have thus far read.
4. The only photograph we have of Tibor is the one shown on his application for registration as an Alien dated 21st January 1948. His later notification of Naturalisation as a British subject, dated 9th November 1948, does not have a photograph. Note that his Naturalisation notification is barely 1 month prior to his taking his own life.
5. The British National Archives at Kew have no record of Tibor Kaldor or his application for naturalisation as a British Citizen. This included a search for his Naturalisation Certificate number 'A (1) 24198' and the date of 20th October 1948.
6. The SA Police files have no image of Tibor following his death.

Thanks to Misca, we can say that Tibor, now addressed as Dr., Kaldor was providing language lessons from his home address of 10 The Avenue, Windsor in Melbourne:

GERMAN. — Lessons and coaching, single or in groups, by exp. German teacher (Univ. graduate). Dr. T. K., 10 The Avenue Windsor.

This is the same address that Tibor listed in his intention to apply for naturalization.
August 12, 1944:

To this date we have been unsuccessful in finding any further records of Tibor Kaldor but the search will continue.

In the next post we will examine other aspects of Tibor's demise and the records that we have been able to find.

Saturday, 5 November 2016




UPDATED 8th November 2106

Image result for Paul Lawson somerton man bust

The Beginnings 

This part of the story began on December 10th 1948. It was that date, just 9 days after SM was found on the beach at Somerton,  that Mr. Elliot, the undertaker commenced the embalming process.

The process was a lengthy one, no doubt because Mr Elliot wanted to create a good impression and demonstrate his skills. I say this because in all Mr Elliot visited the morgue 4 times a week for 3 months carrying out his work.

Final preparations were completed on May 2nd 1949 and the body was ready for Mr Lawson to commence his work of creating the plaster bust.

Most would know that this was the first and only time in SA history that a plaster bust was made of a deceased person for the purpose of later identification.


I would like to start by saying what a bright and sharp mind Mr Lawson has he was very pleasant and factual. He is a man used to choosing his words carefully. I found him to be engaging and he is still very interested in the case.

There were many questions to be asked and so the discussions with Mr Lawson were by phone and in person.


My first step was to establish the basics and it transpires that whilst Paul made reference to the Somerton Body in his diary, no mention was recorded of exactly by who and when the body was identified to him. I found that interesting but Mr Lawson had no recollection of that event.

I also spoke with him regarding the  comment he diarised on  'the disposal of the original body' but he had no recollection of why he had said that.


Turning to the meeting with Jestyn and the uncovering of the bust that day, Paul was quite specific, he described the room, the 3 Detectives including Det Sgt Leane and Detective Brown and how Jestyn was walked into the room.  Paul removed the sheet from the bust and then stepped back, he recalls that when she first saw the bust he was standing behind her and she looked at the bust and then cast her eyes downwards, she remained looking at the floor whilst numerous questions were asked of her. He was clear on the fact that he thought she was going to fall backwards when she first saw the bust. It was his impression that she knew who this man was.


On the question of Jestyn's religious beliefs, I mentioned to him that it was thought that she was of the Jewish faith but Paul thought not. He can recall two very interesting aspects of the events that followed the burial of the man one being the appearance of flowers on the man's grave for many years after the event. He told me that a Detective stopped a woman at the cemetery after watching her leave flowers there. According to Paul, that woman was Jestyn. He believed that she informed the Detective that the leaving of flowers was a custom in her religion and that her religion had it's origin in Iran, or Persia as once it was known.

Gordon and I followed up on this revelation and found that there was a religion that had similar customs, Zoroastrianism. It included the leaving of flowers annually for a period of 30 years. And, interestingly, The Rubaiyat is often mentioned in online documentation on this 3500-year-old religion. There is an issue though and that is that according to research done thus far, you cannot convert to Zoroastrianism, you are born into it.  It is intriguing and more work will be done on this aspect particularly as it may relate to the question of Internees.

Of interest is the fact that Zoroastrians are someimes buried in concrete lined graves as their preferred method, exposure to the sun and birds, is not legal in many countries; much the same way that perhaps George Marshall apparently chose. The Somerton Man's grave is concrete lined although it is said that is because of the burial ground condition. In Australia there are Zoroastrians who agree with cremation.

Recalling the 60 minutes TV interview in 2014 with Kate Thomson, in the background of one clip is candelabra, in the Jewish faith it is called a 'Menora' and normally you would see them with 7 candleholders. The candelabra in Kate's interview has nine holders which makes it a particular kind of Menora, a Hanukia. This is a ceremonial candelabra used for Hanuka celebrations, it seems a little out of place because I understand that it is only put on display at that time of year.

I think that everyone interested should take some time out and do at least some research into this ancient religion and perhaps some of the offshoots.

So, whilst this is intriguing, we have no way at this time of substantiating Paul's words.


On this point Paul was very clear, the Detective who decide how the case would be run and how or if leads would be followed up was Detective Brown later to be Detective Superintendent Brown. Who was able to view the body and if any follow up was to be done was in his hands. On this point, Paul recalled that there was a family from Kangaroo Island who had identified the man, and he emphasised it was the whole family and in fact, they travelled over twice to view the body and identified it on both occasions. They believed that the man, who had worked on their property as a handyman was, in fact, a Russin defector, a ballet dancer. This lead was not followed up.

There is one other point that Pail raised and that was in relation to the political views of one person involved in the investigation, according to Paul this man had strong communist leanings.

Mr. Lawson's diary notations are available here..


I showed the images we have of Tibor Kaldor and the still shots from the Adelaide University 3D video clip of the bust. He carefully considered the questions raised on this and said that his eyesight is not what it was and he was unable to say anything useful in relation to the images except for one thing, he stated that any progress to be made should make full use of the original Police photographs, they should be regarded as the reliable source. He pointed us away from the bust.

UPDATE 8th November 2016

'How does the matter of Jestyn being involved in an Iranian religion, relate to the Internees?'

During 1941 the British Army moved into Iran where there were a number of German civilians employed on various engineering and some armament manufacturing tasks. They were arrested and deported to Australia as Internees and were located at Tatura Internment Camp. I believe there were around 300 men from Iran and they arrived at Outer Harbour, Adelaide on the SS Rangitiki to be driven to Tatura in November 1941.

These men were not POWs but Internees and were treated accordingly. It is thought that a small number of them would have been spies and not just German.


Perhaps we could summarise the relevant events of the 1940s and this case as:

1. 3 men die of poisoning and one simply disappears.

2. 3 of these men have a link to the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, and one man leaves us only his name and some now, possibly forever, lost documents.

3. 2 of these men are found dead in Adelaide within two weeks of each other and the other was last heard of in Adelaide in 1945. The fourth man died in Sydney.

4. 3 Men in Adelaide leave suitcases behind, 2 in hotels and one in a Railway Station. The 4 th man dies by poison in Sydney leaving only his copy of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam at the scene, we have no knowledge of his other belongings.

5. 2 of these men's bodies were disposed of in a manner that fits an ancient religion's rites and a third man requests such a disposal, with one man who just disappeared.

The men's names:
The Somerton Man, Tibor Kaldor, George Marshall and the fourth man was a Mr J. Carlin, our disappearing man. That is unless, of course someone has managed to trace him down; JR or Barbara?

Could it all be linked? I really cannot say for certain but we could look and say what an amazing set of coincidences. Truth can be stranger than fiction.

That completes this post at least for now. As you can see there are some new questions raised here and a lot of food for thought. We will update this post over the next few days.

Thursday, 3 November 2016



UPDATED Saturday 5th November 2016

See bottom of this post, image of dark marking centre top, close up

The Police did not only cover the individual letters of the code page, they also covered the top right corner and a small section close to the top centre of that page.

Important Note: Ever detail shown here is in plain sight, all it needed was close up images, strong lighting and oblique angles.

Detective Brown's Revelation

According to Professor Abbott, Detective Brown clearly said that Jestyn's telephone number was on the right side of the code page and had been written in 'TINY WRITING'.
When you examine the top right even in this close-up image above, you can just make out letters and numbers running in from the left and into the darkened area.

The extreme close up below gives us a better view of what appears to be Jestyn's phone number. It is dark grey against a slightly lighter grey background. You will need to let your eyes focus on this image for a few seconds and bear in mind that these characters are around .6 mm in height.

This image was taken with an Olympus Digital camera with macro lens, I used an oblique angle and it was taken in slightly filtered bright sunlight, no artificial lighting was used.

There are more images of other areas of the code page that reveal, even more information and they will be posted here in the next day or so.


Centre top of the code page, detailed writing shows up

Still working on this image, fine detailed micro-writing, numbers and letters shown..

Second image from just below the dark mark centre top

Numbers 282186 can be seen in this close-up view

It is quite amazing that with all the technology available, the code page has, apparently, never been properly examined. Putting it under a microscope would never show this detail as, indeed, it would never show the detail of the torn, TAMAM SHUD, piece. If that were the case, the whole range of secret writing techniques based on chemicals and micro written codes would have been simply solved and the discovery of indented writing would not need anything more than a microscope and a learned academic or 10. That of course, was never the case, a wide range of forensic recovery techniques needed to be used, they were not used by those who should have known better. This image and the ones that follow used some very simple but proven forensic examination of photography techniques. SO basic, that anyone armed with a reasonable digital camera could do this.

Thanks to Clive, the next post will contain some quite incredible new information regarding the plaster bust and Jestyn's reaction when she first saw it plus a revelation on the real role of one of the main people involved in this investigation.

My personal view is that we are getting much closer to finding the name of the Somerton Man. Other research has provided Clive and I with a direction that has honed us in on a small group of people amongst whom we believe it highly likely will be the Somerton Man. All being well, we should be in a position to at least publish a list within the next 5 to 6 weeks.