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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.

Thursday, 24 May 2018

SOMERTON MAN: LAUNDRY MARKS, LAUNDRY BAG?




Given the last few posts, we would all be pretty familiar with the image above., it is of the laundry marks found on SM's trousers. Whilst we have spent quite some time on these, the story hasn't finished just yet, there are still a number of emails awaiting responses that may contain some more useful information on these markings.

In between times there are some downloads for all who may be interested, they are PDF documents containing information on the beginnings of the US laundry mark database including how the information on laundry marks was organised. You will read that markings were sometimes stamped onto clothing or on strips and, as in this case, handwritten directly on to the items. Essentially the marks consisted of :

1. Serial number only
2. Serial number and date (Alphabetical, Numerical)
3. Serial number and name
4. Serial number and number of pieces
5. Serial number, name and date
6. Serial number, name and number of pieces

...and variations thereof.

Downloads:
https://scholarlycommons.law.northwestern.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=4193&context=jclc

https://scholarlycommons.law.northwestern.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=3379&context=jclc

One of the interesting aspects of following up on laundry marks was the almost total absence of online images showing handwritten laundry marks. There are a few exceptions to that and below are some images:





This brings me to another interesting but missing item found in the suitcase, the laundry bag, a white laundry bag to be precise. I managed to track down a few examples, images shown below:

These first images are of a white laundry bag that was once owned by a US Army Air Corps pilot by the name of T. O'Craig, the letter T is something of  interest as you will read:





In the image below, the T looks a J but it has been confirmed to be a T, I wonder how often that mistake was made? The initial on the Keane tie may well have been a J do you think?



Next up a white laundry bag from the WRNS, in the first image you can make out a service number:



Now a US Army white laundry bag:


These are the few I have managed to find, it is interesting to note that the individual bags seem to have been owned by Officers, for enlisted men, the practice was apparently to have a barracks or perhaps platoon level bag.

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