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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.

Sunday, 28 May 2017



An innocuous little book dating back to the 1940s, it was the sort of book you would find on many coffee tables throughout the land and wouldn't arouse too much suspicion, unless of course you knew the key, much like the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam.

An innocuous little book dating back to the 1940s, it was the sort of book you would find on many coffee tables throughout the land and wouldn't arouse too much suspicion, unless of course you knew the key, much like the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam.

This book was chosen by one Bill Miller, Bill had been called up at the beginning of the war and joined the Royal Corps of Signals as a wireless operator. It was from his base in Kent that he was recruited into MI6, amongst his first duties was the purchase of a novel, in fact any novel that would be used as part of his new role. Bill selected 'Poet's Pub' a popular read at the time and in fact he was instructed to buy 5 copies of the same edition but from different locations.

The book was to be used as a cipher, he was taught how to create codes from its content and secret messages using this code would be sent back to London.

Bill Miller, Tangier 1943
To cut a long story short, Bill served initially in Spain and then Tangier, he spied on French and German ship movements and that was the subject of his coded messages.

Our interest in this is, of course, the use of a book code and whilst there have been some descriptions of book codes posted in various locations, I think that this example provides us with an additional insight into the way in which these codes were actually created.

It has long been thought by many that the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam was in fact used as a cipher tool, and here we have an example of such from the same era and in use by MI6.

The Code

Using phrases from the book containing between 12 and 15 letters, Bill would construct his messages.

At this point we'll hand over to Mr. Richard Lewis, a one time archivist at Bletchley Park:

'A page is selected at random from the book and its page number is recorded. A line is then chosen where the first few words have approximately 12 to 15 characters.

The page (turned into 3 figures) and the line (turned into 2 figures) then provide a 5 figure number. This is then added to the senders personal key, which is also a 5 figure number, and it is this that produces an encoded indicator group.

A grid is then formed using the words selected to specify the placing of the letters. The person receiving the message would subtract the sender's key to get the page and line numbers and allowing them to re-create the grid and read the message.'   

This approach would I think result in a string of numbers that could, for example, have been transmitted by a 'number station'

Could this have been done with the Rubaiyat? Entirely possible, is the key to the code to be found perhaps concealed in the torn piece? I think so.

What better place to rest your message pad than on the back of the book that you were using as a cipher tool? From there on the letters produced by the sender could be formed and the micro code inserted as per the Ink H method developed by SOE. This method was simple, you wrote out your words in ink, you then added your micro code in pencil and then finally covered the now coded letters with ink once again. To 'develop' the code, all you need to do is to immerse the paper containing the writing in a fairly strong bleach solution. You can find examples of that here on the blog.

Thursday, 25 May 2017



This document was found by researcher Clive in an FBI archived file. It contains a list of known Soviet agents or, to be more precise the names of agents who had photographs in a 'Spy Album'.

You will notice the date shown is 1959 and also that the list contains the name of Pavel Ivanovich Fedosimov.

The question is, does this mean Fedosimov was alive in 1959? The document doesn't actually say that, it talks about an informant being shown photographs of individuals from a Soviet Intelligence Album. No dates are supplied for any of the named spies. Having said that, we have to be cognisant of the fact that Pavel's photograph was shown, which could mean that the FBI didn't know whether Pavel was still alive or that they knew otherwise. I have made a start on seeing if we can find any further information of the others on the list. It could be that one or more of them was no longer around in 1959.

Another name of interest within the list is Jurgen Kuczynski, this man was introduced to Klaus Fuchs by a fellow internee, Hans Kahle, it was Jurgen that then introduced Fuchs to the GRU.

The more I read of the various intelligence services and of the missions and methods employed, the more I understand that there were and are no rules. Spies did change names and descriptions, a good example of that could even be the photograph that we have of Pavel at La Guardia airport in 1947, was not really Pavel. We have to take the word of Pravda that this was indeed him.

For the record, thanks to Clive's digging, we have found articles about Pavel appearing at meetings in Denver and Chicago in the period pre 1947 as a guest speaker for American /Russian Friendship organisations. Sadly and once again, no photographs were published with those articles. Those appearances raise the question of what else was this named Russian Spy was doing in Chicago and Denver. Then again, that's not a question to pursue at this time, maybe down the track it will have some relevance.

Many thanks Clive!

Friday, 19 May 2017


APRIL 25th 1947

As per a previous post, I have the original hard copy photograph in my possession and these images are high resolution scans of it. Scanned at 236.22 pixels per cm. and at 600 DPI for printing.

If you look carefully at this image you will notice that there is a definite shadow commencing about midway up on Pavel's right ear, it curves down perfectly to around the halfway mark of his right cheek then curves up again over the nose and then down the left side of his nose along the line of his mouth. You can see that more clearly on the marked up image a little further down the page.

What seems unusual about this image is that it suggests that there is more light beneath the shade of his fedora than there is on the lower half of his face. Maybe a 5 o'clock shadow. But going up and over his nose? Ideas welcome.

Unusually, the photograph appears to have been torn right down the right side as you look at it and not cut with scissors as you might expect.

Marked up image:

Rear of image:

There are a number of notations on here, most of which are quite legible but one beneath the time stamp is a little hazy. It reads:

'Received Daily Times' and the time stamp is 5 o'clock. I have adjusted the contrast on this image to improve the legibility of the typed description. 

Incidentally, the description has a cellophane type cover and the whole strip has been glued to the back of the picture.

The thought struck me that when examining the image, that just maybe Novikov and/or Fedosimov may have seen and handled this very image. My understanding is that this kind of photograph was taken by Pravda or similar Russian organisation.

Thanks to Clive for the input and discussions related to these pictures.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017



After a few false starts, I received the actual hard copy photograph of Pavel Fedosimov from the US today. It is a fascinating document in and of itself. The photograph is an original and not just a printed off digital image. It carries with it a series of markings on the rear of the photograph and Clive is working on some hitherto unknown information that was found there. We will be publishing more close up images from this photograph in the coming days.

I can confirm that what was thought by some to be a toothpick in his mouth is not that at all. I can also confirm that the teeth are quite unusual and it looks as though the canines are adjacent to the two incisors with teeth missing.

But possibly the most important discovery is what appears to be a mole to the right of Pavel's mouth as you will see in the image below:

The mark that is highlighted in this image is in the same place described by Professor Abbott of Adelaide University and is to be seen in the full face image of the post autopsy picture of the Somerton Man. It is faint in this image but later close ups to be published will hopefully show it in better detail.
The question we would all have now is, is this mark a skin blemish/mole or is it a mark on the photograph?

We have more information on Pavel and can put to rest the comments by some related to a person of the same name being present at an IAEA conference in the late 1950s, The name Pavel Fedosimov is quite common and to stake a claim that because someone of the same name turns up ten years later then it must be him is, how can I say this, a little light on. My name is not that common but there are at least 18 men of the same name in Australia, a country with a population of 22 million or so. What chance do you think there would be of finding a Pavel Fedosimov in amongst 98.5 million population of Russia in the 1950s or 60s?

Sunday, 14 May 2017

SOMERTON MAN: MICRO CODE: CLOSE UP & CLEAR: Crossed lines & Verse 70


The new camera lens and lighting has helped to lift the code images. I used the authentic version of the code as originally supplied by the Adelaide Advertiser to Gerry Feltus 

Slightly hazy but still about legible, the writing is very small and almost whispy in nature, it may take a few moments for your eyes to focus. Remember that you are viewing something that your eyes are simply not used to seeing.

Extract from Verse 70 below was written into a copy of the Rubaiyat for Alf Boxall by Jestyn.

For those following the full story here on this blog, in the FBI file interview with Harry Gold, he stated that the packages of documents handed to him by Klaus Fuchs were all in very small handwriting. Yet again very small handwriting makes an appearance, Detective Brown stated that Jestyn's phone number was found on the back of the book and was in tiny handwriting. In addition we have shown that the Hay Internment Camp banknotes contain micro code in the signatures. By default, this also means that Fedosimov was aware of very small/micro writing.

The bigger picture is coming together and more will be posted shortly. I apologise for the slowness of the appearance of posts, Clive and I have been working on a number of leads that have cropped up during the research.

Monday, 1 May 2017


We have put a lot of work into this research thus far especially from the perspective of the FEDOSIMOV finding and the image match.

Thanks to Clive beavering away, he has found a direct reference to Fedimosov in the FBI files that cover the Fuchs case. We have a PDF of the Fuchs file from the FBI vault and you can download it via the link below if you have an interest. You will find a large selection of names which we are working through in the pages of this PDF, the reference to Fedosimov is to be found on page 95 of the document, it does say that there were two images on file one which we presume is one that was shown to Harry Gold at the time.

Main Fedosimov Image

A note for Milongal, the date for the Fedosimov photograph was in fact April 1947, 19 months before the discovery of SM's body on the beach at Somerton so there isn't a 5 year difference. The image comparison tool that you have used is not at all accurate, given that this is a free online tool, it does a fair job but it is based on fairly straightforward algorithms and is not up to the standard needed for the level of detail we are pursuing. I had looked at it and others and the only way we can achieve a reasonable degree of accuracy is to use the merge tools that were used in the earlier posts. the differences between the images, eyes and mouth closed versus the same being oopen, plus the various angles are things that the comparison tools don't cope with that well. An example would be that you could put two images of SM side by side with one having an altered viewing angle and it drops the rate down from 100% to 63%. I hope this helps, let me know if there is anything more I can help you with.