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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, 26 August 2016

SOMERTON MAN: WE HAVE A NAME Part 4. THE NOTE. Link between SM and the Camps found. Updated 28/08/16, 1900hrs


This and subsequent posts on this topic addresses the issue of suicide. It was a significant problem in those days and is a growing problem now. In fact here in Australia, last year we had 2800 suicide deaths comprising of 2180 men, 65 children, and 560 women. Bullying both institutionalised and personal, was a contributor in the majority of these deaths. Bullies themselves are also victims in a way, they have numerous issues, pain and pent up anger that they struggle to deal with and often project these feelings onto others. It behoves us all to be sensitive to the situations of others, we never really know what is going on in their lives. If you or anyone you know is in need of help, there are a number of organisations that can help. Here in Australia, we have Beyond Blue, 1300 22 4636 and there are others including Lifeline.

We acknowledge the assistance and advice we have had from the good people at the Tatura Museum. Pay the site a visit and you can review some of their excellent information online. They are great people to deal with and we are following up on a number of leads from our discussions.

 Tibor Kaldor:  Last Written Words 

It is always a sad event when someone passes, made even more difficult to handle for those left behind when someone decides to take their own life.

Tibor Kaldor was a Jewish man, he had already lived through persecution in his country of birth, Austria, and then at the hands of the British when he was interned, loaded on to HMT Dunera, and sent to Australia as an Alien.

Prior to his arrest and deportation, he had lived at 65, Parliament Hill, Camden near Hampstead Heath, London and had a legal practice there, a significant improvement on life in Austria. Little is known of those years in the UK but perhaps a clue is given in his note that follows.

The note itself was recovered by Clive in Adelaide amongst other documents related to the case. The original note was faded and hard to read so it has been digitally enhanced. The image of the original is available on request. Clive and I have had numerous discussions by email and on the phone regarding this post and I acknowledge the significant effort he has put into chasing down every lead we could find, share and verify.

There are two pages so it is quite a long note given its purpose, a full transcript of the note with comments is below the images. I have formatted it as close as possible to the original document in relation to spacing, line lengths, paragraph beginnings etc. There were two words that I was unable to clearly identify but thanks to 'Annonymous', one has now been cleared up.


Page 1.


Dear Sir,
             I am very sorry to cause some unavoidable in  -
convenience. I have decided to end my life and have
taken an overdose of sleeping tablets. The reasons
do not matter, but you will understand that nobody
would take such a decision lightly. There was no
other way out.

           I suppose the formalities will be fairly simple, and
I would like to ask you, as far as it  rests with you, to see
that the following arrangements are observed.

           I should like to leave my body to the University
for research or teaching purposes. If this is not possible
I should like to be cremated without any ceremony.
I leave my belongings to the Red Cross if something is
left after payment of expenses.

          No notifications are necessary as I have no relatives
and have informed a friend in London myself. I
should be particularly grateful if you could prevent the
incident getting in to the press as far as this is possible.

       I am enclosing one pound for my hotel expenses
and 10/- sh for distribution to the chambermaid and
others to whom I may cause inconvenience.

Page 2.

          I think this covers about everything. Once more
sincere apologies for the unpleasantness and best?
thanks for the trouble you are taking.
                                                Yours Faithfully
                                                               T Kaldor

             P.S. If you want to take any of my things
you are quite welcome.    There is an inventory
of  clothing  articles in  the  bigger  suitcase

 Initial Notes on Content ( Clive & Gordon)

1. The note itself is written in a neat hand, carefully constructed and without any spelling errors.
2. Grammatically perfect
3. The writing has a marked forward slope.
4. The form of the capital letter T was interesting, similar in style to the T found on the T Keane tie.
5. Paragraph one comment '...have taken an overdose of sleeping tablets'. Question, how would he have known how long it would take for the overdose to take effect? It could have prevented him from completing his letter. Also possible that he deliberately wrote it in the past tense prior to taking the overdose.
6. Tibor was Jewish, it is not an allowed practice to be cremated within that faith. However, as Byron pointed out, he was brought up in a family that apparently belonged to a Jewish Reform movement. Some Reform Movements endorsed cremation. Similarly, some movements disagreed with the practice of male circumcision. The latter point may apply to SM and that would explain the Jewish custom of stones at his grave site.
7. Last line first paragraph, '.. no other way out' will remain a mystery, we do not know what he was trying to escape.
8. Paragraph 3, line 4'... I leave my belongings to the Red Cross' No mention of items such as a wallet or a wristwatch.
9. Paragraph 4 page 1, '... have informed a Friend In London Myself' The phrase structure seems different to the rest of the letter, it seemed 'clunky'. Examined and found that the first letters of each of the 4 underlined words spelt out the word 'FILM' a code?. According to a mathematician friend, the probability of a word being spelt from the first letters of 4 consecutive words in this way is .0001. Was he telling us that there was a FILM hidden somewhere? Was it just coincidence? The last paragraph on page 2 may have an answer for that. 
10. Unusual to have a Post-Script and the contents tell us a little more than at first may be apparent. Notable he indicates that he had two suitcases, a larger one and by default a smaller one. Why would he have written an inventory of the clothing articles? Was this meant to be an indicator as to where the FILM referred to was to be found, was he hoping that someone, in particular, would read the note and inspect the belongings? No mention of the suitcases is included in the file recovered.
11. Is it some form of Acrostic code?

On the 17th December 1948  Prosper posted an advert: Lost, Tudor Gold Watch, Adelaide or suburbs.
The question is what that a real ad or a message? How often would you expect to get a response to an ad that looked for a very expensive watch? Tudor was a Rolex make.

We believe we have at least one solid link between the Somerton Man and the Tatura/Hay internment camps. Next post will be Tuesday 30th August.

This ends this edition of this post, it will be updated over the next few days.


  1. I think the first sentence on the second page is "I think this covers about everything."

  2. I think the note reads in the second paragraph "as far as it rests with you".

    1. I think that's correct, really appreciate that. Not a term that you would come across often? Doesn't sound like everyday language but in those days it probably was. Thanks again!

    2. If "FILM" is more than a coincidence (I'm no mathematician, but I'm surprised the probability would be so low) then it might be worth noting the odd language above - you have potentially 5 letters of English in "A FAIR".

    3. Likewise, not a mathematician but apparently that is the probability?

  3. That is a very measured suicide note.

  4. Agreed, Pete. A certain dignity, almost nobility. Who do you think he imagines he is addressing? And why would he have an inventory of clothes?

  5. There is no accounting for the state of his mind, perhaps he was always ordered about matters.
    If Tibor suspected some of his Dunera shipmates had settled in Adelaide his request for privacy is better understood.

    1. Pete, that's true. One issue that baffles me though is the fact that, as yet at least, there is no documentation that provides details of the normal identification of the body. What we have is the Police arriving, taking a few notes, collecting the possessions organising the autopsy and that's about it. Under normal circumstances someone who knew him would have to be there and state that the body was that of Tibor Kaldor. In this case we just have the hotel people saying effectively, as far as they know that is the man who signed in as Tibor Kaldor. If the man had any documents with him it may have included a photograph that matched him but is that conclusive? I don't believe so.

      Clive has some additional thoughts on the speed at which the information hit the press.

  6. So the police didn't, or couldn't confirm his identity?

    1. To my knowledge, there is no documentation to say that they did. Clive would know better but from our discussion, there was no mention of that step being taken. Could just be a missing document but it seems unusual.

    2. If the letter speaks the truth (no family, a friend somewhere in London) then definite identification would be a difficult thing indeed.

      Most likely unrelated, but according to the Nat Archive, it would appear the agency now known as (or some department now absorbed into) ASIO was interested in an Emery Imre KALDOR (in Victoria, I think) around the same time. Not for a second suggesting it's the same guy (because I think we can trace Emery fairly clearly (possibly with a variation on the middle name)), and I understand that "KALDOR" seems a pretty common name. However if you were a refugee and had no relatives (and few if any local friends) and suddenly thought a foreign (and in your mind potentially hostile - especially if the journey in the boat was as bad as suggested) government was showing interest (eg interviewed and possibly threatened you because your surname was the same), you might begin to panic and think that life's not worth it....Of course, that's all unprovable speculation - and does little to help with SM.

      The note strikes me as very planned and rational (pragmatic, even) for a suicide note. And while the language at first seems very proper there are phrases that come out very cumbersome. For example the entire last paragraph:
      - "once more sincere apologies" - I think "again" would sound more natural than "more";
      - "the unpleasantness" rather than "any unpleasantness";
      - and "best thanks"
      But I guess for someone for whom English is a second language it might all be normal...

      Totally off topic (if we weren't already) the signature appears quite similar to ones on docs on the National Archive (although the cross on the T is a LOT longer here) - and the individual letters in the signature look different to the rest of the text (it might be common that people's handwriting evolves more than their signature or vice versa - I'm certainly no handwriting expert). When I first saw it,I thought the signature was "Kalston", even when comparing to other text in the letter.

    3. In 1950, the Jewish Overseas Relief Fund adevrtised and were looking for Tibor Kaldor which would seem at odds to Tibor's note that he had informed a friend in London prior to his ending his life.

      The possible ASIO link is interesting and I agree that the surname was quite common. Bear in mind that Tibor was a Dunera Boy and was released in 1942, which suggests that he would/should have been reasonably well established by 1948.

      The Police said that he was a process worker but didn't say where, presumably someone he worked with would have been able to identify him. Yet the Police were able to make their statement within a matter of hours and have it published in the press. The speed of the announcement doesn't sit well, no more than the apparent lack of a formal ID of the body although that could be down to a lost document. Clive is checking that again.

      Some good thoughts and your input is much appreciated. There is more information that we are working on this week which relates more to SM but which may also throw some more light on the TK issue.

      If you would like to be involved in the research, please drop a line through the message area and we can share some additional information with you. No problem if that's not the case.

    4. RE the Jewish relief fund - I initially thought the same (ie that it's odd to look for someone who has notified someone of their own demise), but I think it's not unusual to have several totally independent circles of friends. And (I suppose) it's possible that the whole "friend in London" is bogus and an attempt to dismiss any further investigation (the note suggests he really doesn't want to inconvenience anyone and an "all the ends are tied up overseas" type approach may be an attempt to minimise the inconvenience.

      I don't really have time to be involved in too much research, but thanks for the offer - I don't really think there's much I could offer anyways (it's a lot easier being the armchair critic :) )

  7. So we have two officially unidentified bodies, one with a check-in name of Tibor Kaldor, the other with a few Keane name tags in his luggage.

  8. That's about the height of it. Clive will follow that up I am sure but as far as I am aware that is the case.

  9. The other interesting aspect is that, in hindsight, all of the attention was on the Somerton Man almost from day 1 and zero attention given to TK. Go figure :)

  10. That may have been what was planned after the authorities found a coded Rubaiyat in TK's luggage. (I know, I'm working on it)

  11. That is a good possibility. We shouldn't lose sight of the SM identity, it is a big part of the puzzle, I suspect that when we get close to it, it will reveal even more about TK.

  12. The newspaper articles make a big deal about the ten pounds left to the chambermaid. I wonder who was the chambermaid? A chambermaid in an upscale hotel would be a good asset in a town crawling with spies. The FILM message, if it were a message, had to be for someone.

  13. The amount left for the Chambermaid was actually 10 shillings which would have been regarded as a reasonable amount in those days. She was also asked to distribute it amongst the staff who may have been affected by Tibor's actions. Not sure that the Victoria was an upmarket hotel, it may have been. I would agree that having connections in locations like hotels would have been an asset for people in the trade. Still thinking about the word FILM and if it was sheer coincidence or the real deal. Statistically the odds were around .001 of a word being spelt out by the first letters from 4 consecutive words. I am not a mathematician but a friend who has some skill in that area suggested that was the case.

    'Somebody', you might want to take into consideration that Tibor had described himself as a 'Language Teacher' in one of his applications. You would tend to think that his command of English would have been above average?

  14. Hi Gordon. I dont know if my toughts will be usefull since im not sure my self. But i think that note is written before T.K took the sleeping tablets. I've checked the writings, if that note really was writen hours before his death, i doubt the writing will be that neat. He didn't miss any dots in every single letter I and after every sentence. For someone who is just a couple of hours before his death would not be able to write that neat.. If he really did this hours before his death the writing should have untidy.. Im fond of graphology but only the basics.. Maybe there is another posibility for this note? Arnon.

    1. Arnon, Good value comments, Clive has actually mentioned that he thought the same as you in that the note could have been written before the tablets were taken, it is as you say extremely neat. We do not have any real samples of his handwriting apart from a signature which almost matches but the cross bar on the T is very lengthy. That brings to mind the Verse 70 note in which again a long cross bar T was used. If you haven't viewed Verse 70 which is Jestyn's note to Alf Boxall, perhaps you could take a look and see if the writing is comparable? It is also forward slanted and well aligned throughout the writing. Another useful piece of research would be to find copies of similar end of life notes.

    2. Gordon.. I've checked the TK suicide note and Jestyn's poem verse 70.. The two writings seems kinda similar.. For me at least.. Check on the letter e. Very very similar
      The e on the suicide note and jestyn's poem.. The right slanted angle and space between each letter is quite similar too.. But do you notice that the spacing of each word is also kinda similar with Jestyn's poem? The space makes a clear diagonal line especially on paragraph two.. The pattern of the spacing from top to bottom looks like a triangle or a big X for me.. I have the highlited image of it.. Maybe a post about comparison of TK suicide note and Jestyn'n poem in the future? I wanna see it from your point of view. And i wanna tell you i've been folowing this case and im very very glad that i can found this blog.. Please continue until we have a clarity on this case. You have my sincere support. And i will do my best to help! Arnon.

    3. Thanks for your comment, perhaps you can post the highlighted/comparison image on an image sharing site? Would be interesting to see that.

    4. Hi Gordon. I've shared the images of tk suicide note and jestyn's poem with the highlighted letter e. I hope it helps. i uploaded it into my flickr. You can search the photos by the keyword TAMAM SHUD or my username reno arnon. If i may Gordon, i think we should focus of the confirmation about tk's death. Info like his appearence, height weight etc. If we can confirm this we will have a major progress.. Thanks

    5. Arnon, the challenge we have is that there is no description or details of the man found in the Victoria Hotel, we have only the name he gave and the notes. Realistically, we have a man who arrived at the hotel and checked in under the name of Tibor Kaldor. There was no formal recognition of the body being that of Tibor Kaldor, just the receptionists recollection of the man having checked in. No attempt was apparently made to contact his home address, that adress as no record in the electoral roles of a Tibor Kaldor residing there. In fact we have to date been unable to find any record of him apart from the Dunera Boys and the camps. Will look at the comparisons in more detail later today. Thanks for your comment.