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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.

Saturday, 29 July 2017



In 1948, this relatively small building in Melbourne's Little Lonsdale Street housed the post war activities of the Meyer Manufacturing Company. They produced mostly pressed metal and plastic gift items and advertised regularly for skilled and unskilled employees. In August 1948, Tibor Kaldor started work for them presumably as a process worker.

Significantly more information has now come to light following Clive's further and earlier research on Tibor Kaldor.


If you recall, Tibor Kaldor was the man whose body was found in a bedroom at the Victoria Hotel in Hindley Street, Adelaide on the 14th December 1948, two weeks to the day following the discovery of the Somerton Man's body on Somerton Beach.

Tibor had apparently ended his own life although the Police files and autopsy notes leave room for doubt. He left a last letter in which he provided a list of his wishes and informed us that he had two suitcases the contents of which he had apparently recorded in an inventory contained in a separate letter. The police files on his death record no details of the suitcases nor their contents.

Curiously, when Tibor's last letter was put through an acrostic decoder, the name 'DANETTA' was retrieved, a second pass of the decoded letter expanded on that and the decoded contents now read:


Also unusual in my view was a phrase taken from the letter:  '...AND HAVE INFORMED A FRIEND IN LONDON MYSELF'. Perfect syllabic meter, 4:5:2. I believe that it was the only phrase within his last letter that did that.

We were able to trace Tibor's name on the NAA site and found that he was, in fact, an ex-internee, he had been arrested and deported from the UK in 1940, along with 2500 other German, mostly Jewish, men and boys. They arrived in Australia on board the HMT Dunera in September 1940; he was a 'Dunera Boy'.  He was released from Tatura Internment Camp into Melbourne in 1942.

Despite a number of leads stemming from adverts apparently placed by Tibor offering his services as a PHD from the University of Vienna and a teacher of languages, Clive was unable to find any trace of him at the University of Vienna nor any other University in and around Vienna. Thanks to Misca we found two other men of the same name who had died within days of each other in 1945 in Austria following their release from concentration camps. Both men were of similar age to Tibor Kaldor.

Clive was able to find records of Tibor living in Windsor near the centre of Melbourne. He also found a record of Tibor having successfully applied for a Certificate of Naturalisation for Australia. His application provided us with a further sample of his writing and his signature.

Tibor's body joined that of the Somerton Man in the Adelaide morgue.


Clive made extensive enquiries of the NAA and they have recently responded with further files on Tibor. As you will read, apart from information regarding his employment, they include more examples of Tibor's handwriting, names of three people who knew him and interestingly a copy of forms that show two distinctly different signatures.


To the right is the front page of Tibor's application for a Certificate of Naturalisation, the application had to be accompanied by proof of Tibor having placed ads in the local press announcing his intention to apply for Naturalisation. Images of those ads are included in this post.

There are three names and addresses included, better detail in the next image.

Note the signature style, the same as in earlier posts, the exaggerated T and the extended curve of the letter K.

The form was dated 29th April 1948.

The image below has been enlarged so that you can see the full details of the names of 3 householders, one of whom had to be chosen from a list of professions as in Certificate C. The date of the form.

The names are:
1. Certificate A. John Widmer, an electrical engineer from St.Kilda. Note that Tibor's name was entered by Tibor himself with a signature that differs from other examples of the same, the letter T is markedly different. Also,  note that this man states he has known Tibor for 2 years.

2. Certificate B. Helen A.E. Ross, home duties of Hawthorn East. Once again we see Tibor's signature in the name of applicant field with the different style T. Helen knew Tibor for 5 Years and this would indicate that she would have known him from a time shortly after his release.

3. Certificate C. The third signature is that of Elizabeth Bethune Stainforth, a State School teacher of Armidale in Melbourne. Once more Tibor's different signature appears.

Below are copies of the two statutory ads placed by Tibor on 28th. April 1948.

For those unfamiliar, these 3 suburbs lie almost in a straight line from Hawthorne through Armidale and then St.Kilda. from the entries, it appears that Tibor may have started his certificate collection at St.Kilda then, perhaps, Armidale and finally Hawthorne. Unless of course, two or even three happened to be in the same place at the same time.

This two part form has quite a deal of information including the already known fact that he had spent 6 months in Italy prior to his arrival in the UK where he spent 16 months. He was then arrested and interned, what's missing here was that he was transported from London to Huyton in Liverpool prior to being boarded on the HMT Dunera. He would have been grateful that his ship was not the Andora Star. He arrived in Australia, docking first at Freemantle which is omitted from this form, then Melbourne at which point 250 or so internees disembarked and were taken directly to Tatura in country Victoria and the balance of some 2250 sailed on to Sydney and eventually by rail to their new, temporary 'home' at Hay in far west New South Wales.

Note his description, he is 44 years old, 5'6" in height, he has brown hair, his image shows him as being almost bald, and he has gray eyes.

He gives his address as 10 The Avenue, Windsor.

The form notes his occupation as being a process worker at Meyer Manufacturing Company, 20 Little Lonsdale Street which is the city of Melbourne. He states that he was employed at Meyer for a period of 4 weeks prior to the date on the form, 3rd May 1948, making his start date around 3rd April 1948. Note the signature

On the 26th May 1948, a note registering no objection from the Commonwealth Investigation Serviec Office was signed and filed.

21st June 1948 was the date on this internal report on Tibor's application for Naturalisation. Note that '..he desires the rights and privileges of a British Citizen.'

The  form below was probably attached on the same date in June 1948

Dates of interest are his release in December 1942, well after many internees were released, and his permission to stay permanently in Australia on 28th of April 1948.

To the left is a signed note by Tibor dated 9th September 1948, in the letter, he refers to an enclosure being a form of the Oath of Allegiance. Note the signature style.

The paper used appears to be similar to that on which he wrote his last letter in December 1948.

Tibor's last letter for comparison below:
I will carry out further comparisons of the handwriting in these two documents and publish the results of that in due course.


This final form is dated 9th September 1948, it shows two noticeably different signatures from Tibor and is formally countersigned by one Frederick Charles Percy Hill Clerk of Petty Sessions.
Again we have two styles of signature from Tibor, it may be that where he is asked to enter his name he uses one style and where a signature is called for he uses a more formal, flourished style. Perhaps the further comparisons of handwriting will reveal more.

As an aside and on a topical note, it beggars belief that our Australian politicians had trouble understanding the process for renouncing previous Nationalities.


There is one name missing from all of these documents and that is Miss C.Brown, the lady who it is thought also lived at 10 The Avenue in Windsor.

As you can see, Clive Turner has done a significant amount of work here right from the start, I gratefully acknowledge that, it's a tribute to his great skills and ongoing commitment.


This map shows the various locations of where Tibor Lived, Windsor, the area where John Widmer lived, St.Kilda, the area where the Teacher Elisabeth Stainforth lived, Armidale, the area where Helen Ross lived, Hawthorn East and finally to the top left, where worked from May 1948, the premises of the Meyer Manufacturing Company in Little Lonsdale Street in the CBD of Melbourne. With the exception of Hawthorn East, each location is a single gram ride away from Windsor where Tibor lived.


There are a number of leads that stem from this information, some of you may notice an apparent disparity in the dates although I would not place too much importance to that. The new names and his employer though could well yield more about our man of mystery, Tibor Kaldor.

We have no indication why this man would go to the trouble of organising his naturalisation, securing certificates from those he knew, holding down a somewhat menial job but a paying job nonetheless only to travel to Adelaide a few short months later and, apparently, take his own life. Not only that it looks as though he has left us with an Acrostic codename, 'DANETTA'.

Where was Tibor between December 1942 and May 1948?

From a bigger picture perspective, the path is clear. We need to further explore and glean whatever we can about our prime Somerton Man candidate, Pavel Fedosimov. Further work has to be done in relation to the other ex-internee, Klaus Fuchs who, like Tibor, spent a little time, and at the same time, in Huyton Internment camp, Liverpool prior to their departures to Canada and Australia respectively. There's more to be done on other players from the camps as well as further research on whatever part Alf Boxall may have played. And it doesn't end there.

Interesting times ahead I suspect.


peterbowes said...


Gordon332 said...

Now you're cooking :) Go back to the last letter from Tibor, how hard would it be to have say, a single syllable word is a dot and a two syllable word is a dash. need to make allowances for 3 syllable words in case any wandering word minstrels come to visit us. I haven't checked it, it's just a random thought.