A WARNING: Those site visitors of Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander Culture should be aware that there are photographs and images of the deceased.

The author of this blog is a member of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers and as such the views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not represent the views and opinions of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers, its staff or Directors.

Learn more about the Association including membership requirements at

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, 2 February 2013

Somerton man, What Does The Somerton Man Code Have In Common With The Pigeon Code?

Late last year David Martin from Bletchingly in the UK hit the headlines with news of the discovery of teh remains of a carrier pigeon found in his chimney. The pigeon was complete with a capsule that contained a coded message apparently from an Allied unit in France and possibly heading for Bletchley Park.

I have had a few discussions with David and a nice person he is. He kindly provided me with a high resolution scan of the code page he had found, a copy of which appears here.

This code has a number of aspects to it that are reminiscent of the Somerton Man code.

First of all it uses a code that in this case is broken down into 5 letter sets. The SM code when you incorporate the so called 'crossed out' line 2, actually has 50 letters which of course can be seen as 10 sets of 5.

The Pigeon code has one Code letter set that repeats itself, the AOAKN seen as the first set is repeated in column 3 line 7.

SM's code has a similar issue with line 2 and line 4 with the MLIAO sequence.

But perhaps the most striking comparison is the use of micro letters in fact in this case letters and numbers within the larger code letters.

This image shows a segment from the Pigeon code with its marked up version. If you enlarge this image by clicking on it you should be able to see number sets within the highlighted areas. these numbers are not crystal clear and you may need to use a magnifying glass or at least decent glasses, I use 3X for the purpose. 

All well and good but what can be learnt from this example?

There are two things that spring to mind, firstly the use of micro writing within larger letters has, to this time at least, has only been found in one other place, the Somerton Man code. Secondly, the repeated code letter set is also a feature as pointed out in this post. Putting both together these facts may be telling us that similarities in format happened because both codes were generated by people who were probably trained in the same way. In other words the same organisation produced the training materials and courses that led to both examples being created. That organisation looks like it was British who shared many of their ideas with Australian Defence forces. Maybe even down to their recruitment techniques and selection of suitable personnel.

If you'd like to post a comment please register, it would be great to have you on board!

1 comment:

  1. I think it's just a mnemonic device, a kind of short hand. For example, "my time is running out." MTIRO