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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.

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Somerton Man: Police File Image of Code Page

The Real Deal? 

This Image is From Police Files & Not The Advertiser Newspaper

The difference between this image and the image that everyone uses, being the one from the Adelaide University Wiki which they in turn had obtained from the Adelaide Advertiser, is that you will see the actual weave of the paper on which the letters were written.

It has long been thought that this particular image was no longer in existence but now here it is.

Where did I get it from? I can tell you that I received it in an envelope and it was postmarked Adelaide and I have had it for some months. I think you may be surprised at its origins.

I have taken some UV close up images and they are revealing. A sample few are below in this post.

Here you can clearly see the differences, the top version is sharp whilst this one shows the letters but not quite as sharp and you certainly cannot see the weave in this version. You are able to download the full Advertiser version of the code page from this blog or from the Adelaide University Wiki.

What intrigued me most though was the appearance of the weave in the paper, I am doing some further research on that and will post the results in due course. Pete Bowes at TomsByTwo, we should discuss this.

Some sample UV light close ups for your comments:

If you decide to examine this new page, I will make it available shortly, then in taking any images especially under UV light it is important to remember to alter the direction and angle of the light and the camera, you will be able to capture a lot more due to the nature of UV lighting and how it works.

In the image above, the end of line 2 on the page, there are a number of examples and they are very small as you can see.

Two images of the X lines in the centre of the code page, here you can see numbers and letters closely packed to form the lines so that they are not 'lines' but lines of code.

 This is the raw image without being scrubbed, If you look at the thicker area of the lower crossed line, that's where we are focusing the attention.

The image of the same section has been 'scrubbed and you should be able to make out a series of numbers and letters in the thicker section.

The next 2 images are of the lines closer to the Letter X which crosses both lines.

 Here you can probably make out the darker shapes in the upper line.

Below you can can see definite numbers and letters closely packed in the scrubbed version.

I am currently working on the letters themselves and will post them when ready.

One last image, those who have followed the various posts on the Laundry Marks may be interested in this image. It is the original Police image prior to it being marked over:

Saturday, 20 February 2016

SM Did Not Board The Train in Melbourne May Not Have Boarded At All

SM Did Not Board the Train In Melbourne
& May Not Have Boarded At All.

The Name Of The Train..

To be correct there wasn't one steam train, there would have been 3, two (double headed) A2 Class engines drawing 'The Overland' train up from Melbourne on through Geelong to Ballarat, Ararat, Stawell, Horsham, Dimboola, Nhil then Serviceton. A town that once marked the old border between Victoria and South Australia with a station being, wrongly, built there. There had been a surveyors error which eventually led to Serviceton being more properly placed within the State of Victoria by some 3.6 klm. 

The significance of the local was that the engines were then changed over from the double headed S class Of Vicrail to the SAR 500 Class single engine.

The image on the left shows a 'double headed' A2 Engine arrangement drawing a Royal Mail train out of Spencer Street Station in Melbourne

The video clip below shows a double headed steam train in action though not of the precise type, these engines being 'R Class.

The point in showing you these first images is really an 'immersion' exercise, what you see here illustrates the actual conditions, just what it was like for travellers on steam trains in those days. Imagine boarding your train in the late evening in Melbourne, the two engines billowing smoke and steam as they drew out of Spencer Street.

And they continued to do that for close to 9 hours all the way to Bordertown.

The Journey From Bordertown

From Bordertown, the train drawn by the 500 series SAR engine would have headed towards Adelaide via Murray Bridge on the flat with gradients to encounter approaching Nairne in the Adelaide Hills and then down to Adelaide. Railway Station arriving at around 9.15 a.m. if it was on time.

In 1948 the full journey would have been around 12.5 hours in duration with close to 9 of those hours being in Victoria on the run to Serviceton/Bordertown.

The image on the left shows a 500 series engine in the Adelaide Hills, again note the huge smoke clouds and some steam coming from the engine, dressed in its working clothes.

The train that drew the Overland looked somewhat smarter but the emissions were the same.

And The Point Is?

Not sure how many can recall steam train journeys in their early life. I certainly can. In the mid 50s I clearly remember the train from Holyhead to Chester at night. It was cold and the ventilation windows in the carriage let in vast amounts of smoke and steam. It got into your hair, it got into your skin and it got into your clothes. Quite some odour and it stayed with you until you and your clothes had been thoroughly cleaned.

Legend tells us that SM arrived at the station from either Melbourne, Port Augusta or Sydney. Whichever the case the engines used to draw the trains on which he travelled would have spewed forth thick, dark and sooty smoke which would have contaminated him and his clothes.
It is thought that he either went to the public baths or could have taken a shower in the Railway Station bathing rooms. That would have addressed the sooty deposits in his hair and on his skin, leaving his clothing. When he was found he was  wearing a clean shirt and his appearance was of a well dressed man. The clothing found in his suitcase was also clean or at least no mention was made of it being otherwise, certainly from the images we have they showed no sign of soiling in any way.

Back to his taking a shower, do you think that, having cleaned up and showered he would once again don the grimy and sooty clothing from his overnight journey or would he change into clean clothes? He was apparently fastidious to all accounts and I think it highly unlikely that he would not have changed into clean attire, very much the way he appeared when found on Somerton Beach. The problem with this scenario is, where are the soiled clothes? None reported and yet they really should have been there.

The foregoing and the questions raised below all add up to a very reasonable suspicion that our man did not travel from Melbourne and may be did not travel on the train that day at all.

More Questions..

Your answers and ideas are invited:

1. Adelaide being a very busy station there would no doubt be lots of luggage left in custody. You would also think that there would be a fair amount of unclaimed luggage. Was it practice for luggage room attendants to always report unclaimed luggage? Remember, until the suitcase was 'found' there was nothing at all to link the man to Adelaide Railway Station. So, how come the luggage room attendants contacted the Police some 6 or 7 weeks after the man's body was found? What would have prompted them to do that?

Photo of original Left Luggage Ticket for SM's suitcase. 

Not time stamped on this which conflicts with Ralph Craig's statement that ' was left after 11 a.m. because it was stamped on the ticket.'

2. In the suitcase was found some square envelopes and some pre paid letter cards together with some air mail stickers. The man had apparently been keeping in touch with someone by mail. Curiously, there was no address book found in his belongings. Why would that be?

3. On every major leg of a train journey in those days, there would be a ticket inspector, these men would travel through trains and clip every passengers ticket. This applies whether the man came from Sydney, Melbourne or Port Augusta. Yet, there is no record of the Police ever having interviewed or made an effort to find the ticket inspectors for those trains on that night. The information would have been available and there would have been a fair chance that our man would have been remembered. Why was that simple, basic Police enquiry not made?

An Interesting Coincidence

That very same week, Adelaide was graced with the presence of a number of visiting International dignatories of the military kind. All had gathered to visit locations including weapons research establishments at Salisbury and Woomera.

Amongst these men was a civilian scientist and Senior Scientific Advisor, Ministry of Defence. Sir Henry Tizard. The same man that contributed greatly to the development of Radar and the Whittle Jet engine.

During the same time period, these 3
high ranking Army Officers were also in and around Adelaide.

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

SOMERTON MAN: V70 Micro Code clearly captured

VERSE 70 Part 1

Revised technique example

There are two main focuses of attention for forensic examination. One being the code page and we have scored some success with that, and the other being Verse 70 from the inscription in a copy of the Rubaiyat given by Jestyn to Alf Boxall.

Basically there are 3 techniques we can use to lift and show hidden markings. 

We can use bleach as demonstrated in an earlier post. 

We can address the lighter shaded areas of say the code page letters to make them lighter thus bringing the darker markings beneath those letters into relief, a little extra work and we can show the micro codes,

The next thing we can do is to address the darker shaded areas as we have done below and then make them darker, black in fact. This is the best result achieved thus far as you can see the micro written letters and numbers relatively clearly in the highlighted boxes. I used the colour change tool with fine settings and then slowly picked out the darker areas which changed to black as you can see in the image below. I should point out that there is as always, more work to be done but this does represent a significant improvement to earlier posts on this subject.

In each of these 3 cases, you can make use of various lighting techniques including oblique lighting, back lighting and UV light to enhance the visibility and you can also use some of the functions found in digital image editing tools such as, a free downloadable image tool, which I have used in this instance

I am not at all sure that this is actually a code, I suspect it's just practice work. The challenge we have is that whilst we know that Jestyn wrote the inscription, we don't know when the micro code was added with one exception, that being the number 70 at the base which was done by Alf Boxall sometime after the Stuart Littlemore interview. 

For this image, the approach was to carefully choose the settings for the colour change tool such that the effect was only applied to areas within the inked cursive letters and then to apply the most appropriate colours, sensitivity/hardness for each letter in turn. You will note that the number 70 and its contents shows up quite well whilst the other letters are not quite as sharp. The reason for that being the number 70 was added some 30 years ago to the older original document which dates back to 1944. That makes the number 70 somewhat 'fresher' and less faded.

I will add a screen capture video to this post which will show how the colour change tools work to reveal the micro code. In the interim though, I did not write any of the tiny letters and numbers into the cursive writing or the number 70, it was simply a matter of using the colour change tool to highlight what was already there.

What's the impact of this post? It underscores yet again that Alf Boxall and very likely Jestyn knew of this, secret at the time, SOE technique. By default we can link SM via the torn piece to the code page which also contains micro code only in that example I don't think it was done for practice.

Hopefully Professor Abbott will take a close look at this and perhaps task his students to get to work on the actual book.

Monday, 15 February 2016

Somerton Man; What Is Wrong With These Images?

Before you read further, an apology, there are some fairly macabre images in this post and you really should be aware that images of dead people are contained within it.

In earlier posts, we looked at the issue of the original images of SM released in the week he was found on Somerton Beach. It was said then that the initial images had been altered. This has since been proven to be correct, there is a difference of opinion as to the degree of the alteration.

The images shown here add more weight to the argument that the man shown in the initial images is likely not the man of whom the bust was made.

There are three sets of comparison images to the right.The top images are the initial profile and full face view.

Next we have the images taken just before the cast was made. The full face image has some questions about it. In the earlier post on this topic the difference between the pre bust profile image and the initial SM profile image was examined in some detail.

Finally we have still images from the 3D laser scan taken by Adelaide University some two years ago. This was the bust that caused Jestyn to almost pass out, as you can see these last two images bear little if any resemblance to the the initial SM images.

There will be those who will say that the differences could be attributed to the deterioration of the body which had been preserved. I don't believe that to be true and am inclined to believe that the full face image in the Pre Bust set has more than likely been altered. If you compare the pre bust full face image with the 3D scan full face on the left  you will understand the reason why I think this way.

Here's the comparison of the SM initial full face view with the 3D scan version. There does appear to be noticeable differences, discounting the ears which Lawson had said caused him a great deal of difficulty.

The metrics seem all wrong and that is something that needs to be researched and measured carefully. At first and second glance, there are quite different facial features. The lower image shows a much more rounded face whilst the upper image seems longer in the face and quite a bit narrower.

Could you put this down to some form of bloating and/or the casting process? Reasonable questions and your views are seriously invited.

Comparing the pre bust profile image with the 3D scan profile, they look to be correct and not a great deal of difference between them that couldn't be explained by the pressure applied during the cast process.

The image below shows a death mask being made in the early 1900's.

The last comparison images here raise more questions than answers. The comparison between the SM initial profile and the 3D scan profile which supposedly is the same person.

In this first comparison the two profiles look distinctly different.

Of note is the absence of the bump along the forehead in the 3D scan, it can be seen in the SM initial profile image.

The next step was to try and overlay the 3D scan onto the SM initial profile, I used the head height and forehead shape and height/width and the bridge of the nose to align both images, below you can see the result:
Does this mean that there were two bodies? Could be, especially if you take into account Lawson's diary comment about the 'disposal of the original body'. It could also be that the full face and profile images have been altered with the pre bust profile and 3D profile apparently not having been altered.

I try in every Post, to walk people through the process and to provide them the images and techniques so that they can try the process themselves. This is no exception. I have provided all the images I used and have others if you need them. Your feedback and thoughts are invited and would be appreciated.

Friday, 12 February 2016


Concealment Methods

The Music Code

 As a short break to the Somerton Man posts, I thought it might be useful to share with the audience, (7500 this month! Terrific!) some of the tools and techniques used in 'tradecraft'.

For those who are aware of the term please bear with me whilst I provide a brief description. Tradecraft is an assembly of all known techniques, methods and equipment in common use by the espionage fraternity. In recent times the Director of the CIA Museum at Langley, Virginia, Toni Hiley stated that 'There is no method or technique too old not to be considered for use in today's world of espionage'.

And old it most certainly is. Since time immemorial, people have found ways to conceal messages. In fact not only messages but other items including explosives and weapons. Disguise might be a better word.

The first known examples go back to 3500 BC and the tiny Cuneiform tablets that the Mesopotamians used as a message carrier, they inscribed their messages on to the small square shaped clay pieces that would fit in the palm of your hand and pass them around. It didn't take long apparently before they realised they could melt wax over the tablet and thus hide their messages.

I digress, this post is about a particular concealment method, the one you see in the image at the top of the page. A Music Code. You have probably heard of audible music codes, the most famous of which would be Beethoven's 5th Symphony which was one of the coded messages alerting the French that the invasion was imminent. There are other examples where notes were altered or different instruments were used, this one as you see makes use of sheet music but written to conceal messages. It came from WW1 and was in use by German intelligence services who were also the first to hide messages in dress patterns. This music code is self explanatory, particular notes can be directly interpreted into letters. Consider what they did, they used an every day piece of sheet music, they found a simple way to convert musical notes to letters and passed the messages on either audibly or in sheet music. Now think about how the message would be known to the recipient, it would have no meaning unless you were aware of how to decode it especially if it had been double encoded.

Where it can become complex is when the code, when deciphered, produces a string of a jumble of letters which seem to make no sense. In fact I recall not that long ago when I shared an Alice Dubois method of hidden micro written code behind a postage stamp with young Nick Pelling. The code was a pig pen code which at the time it was written, WW1, was state of the art. Not so now of course. Well young Nick had a look at it and said that it was just a string of letters when deciphered. May be so but even in those days they would double encrypt their messages so the string of letters could well have been another layer of code. A trap for the inexperienced and a good lesson.

In this game of espionage you have to think outside the 9 dots and nothing is ever as it seems

There are many more most interesting examples of sending hidden or clandestine messages and I will post more in the coming weeks.

Amongst them will be the use of a harmless empty can of beans, the dear old lady sitting gazing out of her window across a railway marshalling yard and leaning on her walking stick, the identity card and its photograph and many more. The common thread is that all the messages and communications were hidden in plain sight and all made use of everyday items.

I hope you enjoyed this first post on this topic, your thoughts, ideas, opinions and questions are very welcome so please submit a comment!

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Somerton Man: Code Page cracked open, Yes, it has been done and here's proof positive that the techniques used really do work..

Code Page Cracked Open, Techniques Proven Successful
Proof Positive..

This demonstration shows just how the details of the code can be recovered. To be more precise, it is another way that the code details can be recovered. The use of digital forensic methods has been dealt with earlier. 

Whilst finding the real code is very important and gives the case a whole new direction, the impact goes beyond that. It means that whoever worked on the code page, would have seen what was really there and it was literally covered up and then released for the public to see. It must throw doubt on the other aspects of the case including the suitcase, the story surrounding the man's arrival and the tickets. 

For some years now, working on the code page and other items has consumed a great deal of time. It hasn't been just a question of taking lots of photographs, much more a question of learning and researching widely into the topic of code writing techniques and especially concealment methods. I figured that if I knew how they hid codes in days gone by then I would have a reasonable chance of finding them.So amongst the things I have studied are things like advanced image editing techniques, clandestine communication methods, espionage in WW2 and the Cold War, SOE methods and techniques and of course forensic examination of documents which includes photographs. Last but not least, I also made an extensive study of micro writing.

After many hours reading and searching the web on this wide range of topics associated with 'tradecraft', the work that I was doing finally started to come together and, whilst the project still has much work to be done, I have been able to demonstrate the use of a particular concealment technique known as INK H as developed by the British Intelligence services, (SOE) in WW2. 

At the risk of boring the many who have read this here before, the process was devastatingly simple, write normal sized letters in ink, add micro code in pencil in some or all of those letters, add another layer of ink to all of the letters to properly conceal the micro code and that's stage 1. The reason a second layer of ink is added is because if you did not do that and a sharp eyed enemy used oblique lighting on the page containing your letters/code, then they would pick up the tell tale glint from the pencil marks. The ink prevents that. The final step in this clandestine method of communication was to immerse the page containing the letters and code into a strong bleach solution. This had the effect of removing the ink but leaving the tiny pencilled code visible. You will see all this in the images that follow.

Step 1. Code inked over, this is a photograph of 
the original

Step 2. Immersed in bleach for about 15 seconds, code beginning to show.

Step 3. 1 minute immersion

You can see how the ink is breaking away and dissolving leaving the pencilled code coming into view.

Step 4. 3 minutes immersed, code is now clearly visible

Step 5. Using the photographic image above, the code is again inked over, the nib on this pen is around .7 mm in width. Having made an extensive study of the page for some time now, I think that the actual markings on the photograph were done with a brush, a very skilled job.:

Step 6. The image is of the revealed code after it had been inked over in the picture below. You can see the ruled edge showing sub 1 mm for most of the coded letters/numbers. It is this picture, the photo of the photo, that we will use to develop the code and make it visible again.

Step 7. Image from step 6 is immersed in bleach, the image shows the effects of 2 minutes after immersion.

Step 8. The image is developed and the code once again becomes visible. Please bear in mind that, even though the code page was written many years ago, the tools and techniques used by Police and Intelligence services were extremely good. Glass plate photographs were capable of producing extraordinarily fine details and the use of various chemicals, including Iodine vapour,  would reveal every single fibre in a document and if it had been modified in any way.

This image is a little hazy, with more time I would have improved on the quality but I think you can get the picture. What this post has done today is to clearly demonstrate that using a digital image of another image in fact this was a scan taken at 400 DPI, you are indeed able to recover concealed code. That is exactly what I have been able to do with the code page as well as the torn piece and Verse 70 from Jestyn's book inscription to Alf Boxall.

I would like to acknowledge the impetus for writing this post received from JP who commented in a very constructive manner, earlier today. 

In closing, anyone can do this even with just basic knowledge.

If you have any queries on this process, please message me via the comments link. I will not publish your name without your permission.

Some questions for other bloggers in this space, I was wondering when you will start to at least look at the implications of the results of this work? Are you unable to see how the whole case changes? Will our audiences be treated to yet more re-runs of the suitcase contents and imaginings about the body? 

For the audience reading this post, why don't you tell the other bloggers to wake up! What they have is a real live espionage story on their plate and they don't know what to do with it, further, they'll keep on not knowing what to do with it until their blogs step off the edge of the cliff again.

As for this blog, I will keep posting as and when I am able to recover more of the micro code and intersperse those posts with some fascinating and little known case studies that I have managed to find related to tradecraft and espionage.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

SOMERTON MAN: The Code Cracked Open, The Crossed Lines, Even the most sceptical can now see the code

The Code Page: Cracked Open

Three different exposures of the same area from the Code page, the right hand end of the crossed lines just above the letter Q.

The process is now very straightforward thanks to the recent upgrade to the free photo editing tool,

Step 1. is to open a copy of the code page and select and save the crossed lines from the page.

Step 2 using the colour replacement tool choose first the shade of     colour you want to replace and then lighter shade of that same         colour. Use the tool to work over the selected area.

Step 3 print out your processed image as above using a high quality or 'Best' print setting.

Step 4. Using a strong back light, I used a 10 Watt LED inverted, and then took pics using the macro lens setting on my Olympus Digital camera.

Step 5. I replaced the LED back light with a 13 Watt CFL, UV light placed behind the photo on plain copy paper and took more pics using the macro lens setting on my camera.


What does this mean? Well for one it means that the Police or whoever took the original images of the code page must have seen what we see here, strings of numbers with letters interspersed.

Next, whoever wrote this code knew of the existence of Ink H, the British Intelligence developed technique of concealed/clandestine communication. This was taught to SOE operatives and also to Australian Intelligence agents.

NOTE: Every 'letter' and crossed line on the code page is formed in this same way. In fact some of the letters are not fully formed which means the letters showing on the code page are not the real ones. More work to do as yet but it is very revealing.

This same technique was definitely used in Jestyn's Poem to Alf Boxall, Verse 70 of the ROK. as well as in the torn piece from the book. More images will follow in the next week or so.

In answer to the question was this a part of an elaborate cover up has to be Yes.

What does this mean as far as Professor Abbott and Adelaide University is concerned? I think to be kind all I will say is that they must have overlooked it despite many prompts from myself and maybe even others.

I really do hope that more will take this work on, in reality there is much more work to do on the code page, verse 70 and the torn piece, what's been done hjere is to show what was concealed, there is a significant task in finding out what these letters and numbers actually mean.