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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, 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.


peterbowes said...

Gordon, you would wonder about the risks, both business and personal, in advertising yourself as a German translator so soon after the end of the war, wouldn't you?

Gordon332 said...

You certainly would, the second ad above was dated 1944 so still at war. Maybe a little naive?

Anonymous said...

Or desperate....

Gordon332 said...

Yes, I would agree that the September Ad from Tibor with just a box number could be an act of desperation, I am not sure what the cost of placing such ads would have been and whether or not if it was below a certain number of characters, would it have been free? The first ad, the one found by Misca, is far more precise and he gives an address. A little surprising that there was no phone number but in those days that may well have been common practice.

renoarnon said...

Is this how he 'informed my friend in London myself' ? As he wrote it down in his last note. Arnon

Gordon332 said...

The exact words were:
..and have informed a friend in London myself'. Whether this was a reference to the Society of Friends, I do not honestly know. It is a possibility as the Quakers were active within the camps. Thanks for the comment.

peterbowes said...

If an Australian government agency had any doubt as to the purpose of Kaldor's visit to Adelaide, then the identity of his London friend would prove helpful.
The friend whom Kaldor 'informed himself' of his impending suicide.

Gordon332 said...

Arnon, I have done some poking around and not found any ad in the London papers so far. It is a very good thought. I can tell you though that another name associated with Tibor in London has cropped up and we are trying to dig out some further information. The same name turns up on the Dunera. Not sure where it will lead us but it is very interesting. It was your comment that led to Clive doing some additional research so many thanks.

renoarnon said...

Glad i can contribute.. Im waiting for the post.. Btw i want to ask something.. Those two first ads.. Were they really placed by Tibor Kaldor ? And you said this kind of message were used to trigger an action rather than inform an event.. If i put it this way.. Those ads were resulting Tibor Kaldor's death. Would it make sense ? Because the time of the ads and Tibor Kaldor's death make me think so.. Plus there are still some doubts regarding his death.. Arnon