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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.

Friday, 5 August 2016

SOMERTON MAN: Code Page Close Ups & Agents Flimsies by Major Woolrych

Woolrych's SOE Agents Flimsy

Major S.H.C. Woolrych was the first Chief Instructor at BEAULIEU, the central training establishment for the SOE in WW2. This post covers one very relative aspect of the Major's work.

Woolrych and SOE created special 'flimsy' type papers, they were very thin and tough, ideal for use in the field, the agent could create and hide codes and information using micro writing or printing. Very often these 'flimsies' were concealed in pipes and pen barrels. Similar paper stock was used as message pads for the Pigeon Service because of its toughness and light weight.

Typically bit not exclusively, the type of pen used for the micro handwritten agent's reports was a capillary tube, an example for today would be a Rotring Isograph pen. The capillary tube delivered fast drying ink in a very fine format, around .3 mm in fact. A sharpened 5H pencil equivalent would do a similar job.

 The image to the left is a field agent's flimsy report. The actual size was around 28mm X 34mm as shown below as a comparison.

This is the actual size of the above report and from this, you should be able to gauge that the writing is of a similar size to that found on heSM code page and within the larger letters of the code. In practice, you would use a magnifying glass to read the code/report. The size of the letters/numbers in such examples would be in the .5 mm range.

Printed Information on Flimsy. 

The right-hand image is actual size which I estimate to be around 1/3rd the size of the code page.

Quite large amounts of information can be assembled on this paper style. The advantage that the Ink H technique gave was that not only could large amounts information be recorded but it could be concealed very effectively and at the same time, by using radio operators pro-signs, the entire message could be sorted into action types.

BEAULIEU Spy College

There are a few very interesting books on the topic of Beaulieu, the link is to one title:
'Beaulieu, Finishing School for Secret Agents'

As per previous posts, it was the SOE that created 'Ink H', the secret writing technique which was used to write the micro-code on the SM code page.

There are a number of posts in the pipeline over the next week, the content of which may surprise a few people. It will be worth another visit or two.

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