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.

Thursday, 1 September 2016



This image compares the three images of Tibor on the left, the 3D screen grab of the bust and the autopsy image of SM .

This Post is the result of some excellent work by Clive. He revisited the archives and was able to glean some new information that confirms that the man, Tibor Kaldor, was never formally identified.

What follows are the details obtained by Clive which includes a more detailed account of the autopsy and a review of the autopsy information by Byron Deveson.

Without this team work, we wouldn't have made any where near the progress we have. Many thanks to Clive & Byron.

Clive's Findings, 31/08/16

I re-visited the SA State Archives this morning and looked at Tibor Kaldor's file.  The following Police Report excerpts were written by Detective Canney to Superintendent Sheridan and dated 15-12-48:

"At 9.15am with PC Horsnell, I went to the Victoria Hotel, Hindley Street.  In Room 3, I saw the body of a man lying in bed. Body was later identified by the receptionist as that of a man named Kaldor.  Stella Nitschke is the receptionist.  Sally Grey is a chambermaid and Mrs Margret Angersom is the manageress.  On 15-12-48 Sally went to Room 3 at 08.30 to advise the occupier that breakfast was ready to be served, She shook him and called Mrs Angersom.  Sally advised me that she had had to use her key to open the door on the previous day, 14th and today, 15th.

Dr John Kneebone examined the body at 10.00am on 15-12-48, in a police ambulance, outside the Royal Adelaide Hospital and pronounced life extinct.  He noted that rigor mortis was pronounced and, the body had been dead for some time, more than one day.

On the wash-stand in Room 3 was a note "Please hand this letter to the manager at once", under the note was an envelope addressed to "The Manager, Victoria Hotel, Adelaide".

Some of Kaldor's property was taken possession of, a number of bottles and a glass, which contained a spoon and sediment were taken from the deceased's property and are in possession of the undersigned.  Some of the bottles were of the type which are used to contain tablets".

(Signed)  E.S. Canney

(The above report, from Canney, does not confirm Kaldor's address).

A note, from the Metropolitan Police Station to the City Coroner dated 15-12-48, has a handwritten scribble " Inquest deemed unnecessary" and signed by??

PC Sutherland made a SA Police Report dated 17-12-48 giving autopsy specimens and, for the first time, Kaldor's Victorian address appears on official paperwork.

Dr Dwyer, on 16-12-48, commented on his PM report stated that Kaldor was a well built man, his pupils were equal arcus senicis was pronounced. Prominence of neck in centre anteriorly.  Brain was normal and Thyroid size of a tennis ball.  Irregularly with a typical colloid adenomatous change.  Summary: Deep congestion of kidneys and gastric mucosa, with some submucosal haemorrhage in the latter.'

A summing up on SAPOL Tibor papers:

1. No information on any tests on the glass/spoon

2. No list of clothes/articles i.e. wallet/watch etc

3. No Height/Weight information known

4. No information on the contents of both suitcases

5. No photos in police file

6. How come morning papers knew his name, address and occupation within a couple of hours of police attending the hotel?

7. Reason for delay in his funeral?   Was it because the authorities decided to delay his burial to 'mask' the SM burial?

Looking at Gerry's book on Page 84, I noted that it was PC Horsnell who was given Lawson's cast on 16-06-49, the same PC Horsnell, no doubt, who found TK dead.

Page 84, Paul Lawson made a comment  " On 7-June-1949, I went to the City Mortuary with Detective Brown and he pointed out a body to me......."

On Page 85, Lawson comments "Apart from that, that is the replica of the body I saw".

Am I reading into this more than I should, but the above two comments, by Lawson, come across as if he was trying to distance himself.  If it was the SM's body why doesn't he say so?

(TK)  Visited the City Library this morning.  I looked at the Post Office directories for Sydney for the years 1945-46 & 1947.  I thought I would check if TK had lived there, nothing at all.

I also checked the P.O. directories for Victoria for 1946-48. The only resident I could find for: 10 The Avenue, Prahan (Windsor)  was for a Miss C. Brown, music teacher.  I looked under Insurance agents, language teachers-zero!  It would seem that TK didn't exist going by the directories.

State Library of Victoria: Response to Clive's Enquiry.

'Thank you for your recent inquiry wanting to locate further information about a Tibor Kaldor who lived at The Avenue, Windsor in 1948.

I subsequently checked for the name Tibor Kaldor in the alphabetical lists in Victorian directories for the years 1946 and 1947 without success. I also tried the alphabetical listings in Victoria, Melbourne Metropolitan
telephone books for the dates - February 1946, November 1947 and November 1948 without success.

There is also no one with this name listed in the Victorian death index 1921 to 1980 nor in the Index to Victorian wills and probates 1841 - 2013. On Ancestry Library Edition I tried the Victoria Australia, Rate Books,

1855 - 1963 without finding a match.'

No trace of Tibor in Victoria records thus far.

From Clive's work, it is clear that there was no formal identification of the body, the body was identified by the receptionist at the Victoria Hotel. In turn, that means that no one who actually knew the man from his hometown and prior to his arrival in Adelaide identified the man as Tibor Kaldor. 

Whilst we have a photograph of the man attached to his NAA file, there was no photograph of the body in the Police file. The address given by Kaldor in Windsor was registered to a music teacher a Miss. C Brown. There is no statement from Miss Brown nor anyone else included in the Police file.We do not know for certain that the body in room 3 of the Victoria Hotel was that of Tibor Kaldor.

Another aspect of concern is the fact that there is no list of the man's property and that despite the man in his note referring specifically to an inventory of contents to be found in the larger suitcase.

Paul Lawson's comments were unusual in that he did not refer to the man as the man found on Somerton beach, just as 'the body' A careful choice of words?

Byron Devison's Review of the Autopsy Information

There was food in Tibor’s stomach and average gastric emptying time is about 4 hours, so it would appear that he died within four hours on ingesting the tablets. And that is a bit on the fast side. I also note that Tibor’s note says he took the content of one bottle. I haven’t been able to find how many tablets might have been involved. 
The rapid death is a bit suspicious. “Assisted” perhaps?

 The goitre would have made Tibor very sensitive to the CNS effects of the barbiturate drug. And normal barbiturate use makes goitre (hypothyroidism) worse. So the normal doseage of barbiturates started to damage his liver. He may have also taken to drink, further intensifying the downward spiral.

I think Tibor was probably prescribed a barbiturate drug so he could sleep (ie psychological stress). That made his hypothyroidism worse.
“ Hypothyroid patients are extremely sensitive to CNS depressant drugs commonly used in dentistry.
Benzodiazepines, barbiturates, and narcotic analgesics may cause respiratory and cardiac depression in patients with hypothyroidism. The L-thyroxine (T4) hormone replacement drug can be synergistic with sympathomimetic drugs used in dentistry.”

It would have been the CNS depression that killed him quickly (he just stopped breathing). So the food in his stomach is explainable.

Drug actions and interactions - Patients who have hypothyroidism are sensitive to central nervous system depressants and barbiturates, so these medications should be used sparingly.[6,12
Benzodiazepines, barbiturates, and narcotic analgesics may cause respiratory and cardiac depression in patients with hypothyroidism. The L-thyroxine (T4) hormone replacement drug can be synergistic with sympathomimetic drugs used in dentistry.
Hypothyroid patients are extremely sensitive to CNS depressant drugs commonly used in dentistry.
Benzodiazepines, barbiturates, and narcotic analgesics may cause respiratory and cardiac depression in patients with hypothyroidism. The L-thyroxine (T4) hormone replacement drug can be synergistic with sympathomimetic drugs used in dentistry.
I am not at all qualified to summarise Byron's work here so I will limit this comment to what I believe are the salient points in Byron's review.

It would seem that Tibor died within 4 hours of his taking the pills, you will recall that in his note he said at the time of writing, he had already taken the tablets with the intention of ending his life.

It does seem odd that Tibor was prescribed Barbiturates given his existing medical condition, Hypothyroid, as it was known to be an issue. Having said that we have no idea who prescribed the drugs.

What does it all mean? Could it be that the autopsy was rubber stamped? In many ways the outcomes of this autopsy and SM's were similar apart from the enlarged spleen found in SM but not mentioned in Tibor's notes.

We have no real example as yet of Tibor's handwriting as a comparison to his note. We know he was a Dunera Boy who arrived at Hay internment camp with virtually no possessions and anything he had was more than likely donated goods plus whatever he may have been able to subsequently earn as a language teacher. We can find no record as yet of his activities in that field. However, it is noteworthy that Tibor, Jessica and another well known Dunera Boy at Hay, Hans Lindau were all language teachers. Is that the thread that connects all three?


The Hay internment camp was also known as camp7. This is the camp that designed and printed it's own paper currency, in fact, such currency is now extremely valuable amongst collectors. As a matter of interest, the standard of the work was of such quality that the Australian Government stopped its production just 3months after it was commenced. Why is that of interest? Because the engraving work included very fine and detailed miniature writing, you could say clandestine, hidden in plain sight/-

Worth a visit to Pete Bowes's blog, here's the link. Pete contributes greatly to the discussion and always adds another and welcome perspective.

 There is more to follow and we will be posting more on this subject next week.


  1. The note is dated on the 13th, the chambermaid had to use her key on the 14th and 15th but didn't shake him until the 15th. Did she lock the door again on the 14th? He specifically addresses the notes to the Manager who is a woman and makes it out to a Sir, then signs it "faithfully"...seems strange.
    Also, he is an accountant who dies with 1 pound 10 shillings after a 4 day stay, stretching into 5 or 6. Why stay at that hotel with such meager funds?

    1. Good thoughts, the timeline is interesting. What we know is that the doctor who pronounced life extinct suggested that he had been dead for more than 24 hours so that would have been early hours of the 14th. That ties in with the note. The comment that Tibor made in the opening lines of that note was that he had taken the tablets and yet he went on to write a very precise letter.

      I wondered about the 'Dear Sir' aspect, then again he may not have known that it was a woman manager who would read it. Could be that they had day and night managers for example and he just made an assumption? Signing off to an unknown person was generally done with 'Yours Faithfully' as opposed to 'Yours Sincerely' which was, and possibly still is, used when signing off to a slight acquaintance.

      Tibor had a few occupations listed, in the press he was listed as a process worker, in his then most recent application he was a language teacher, prior to that on arrival in Fremantle he was an Insurance clerk and in London a lawyer who lived in an upmarket location.
      You raise another good point, only 1 pound ten shillings, I wonder whether he had a bank account? No mention of that in the Police reports or documentation.All internees on arrival from the Dunera had any and all cash confiscated, not sure whether that was returned when they were released but we can find the answer to that. I guess if he went their knowing it was the end of the line, the money wouldn't have been an issue for him. We have some more information to add to this and I will update the post over the weekend. Thanks again for your comment, you raise some interesting points specifically, the possibility of a bank account, unclaimed money?

    2. An interesting update.It seems that the address 10 the Avenue Windsor, had another occupant besides Miss C Brown and Tibor Kaldor. This person was a W.Dickens (or Diggins) and he sold used cars from that address. Well, well, well.... Seems to me that Trove could reveal a lot more.

  2. Byron, put me out of my misery, did Dwyer mention any distinguishing marks on Kaldor's body?

  3. Gordon, any progress on the language school ?

    1. Hi Pete, Just this morning I managed to find out that
      1. The phone number for 10 The Avenue, Windsor was also the number for the secretary of the Victorian/International League, Miss C Brown I understand.

      2. Co-incidentally, Miss Elizabeth Bethune Stainforth was sent on an overseas teaching exchange courtesy of that same organisation. Miss Stainfirth was one of the referees for Tibor Kaldor.

      3. Amongst other activities, The League ran language classes hence we can reasonably assume that TK was involved in German classes.

      The next question of course is what about Russian language? Nothing at the moment but
      we know that the CPA in Sydney certainly ran Russian language classes at their HQ not more than a 15 minute tram ride from the hospital. Getting to the records is another story as you would understand. With Jestyn being a card carrying member, it is possible that she took part in those classes as both a learner and possibly a teacher?

  4. How sure are we that Jessica was a 'card carrying' commo?

    1. Will have to get back to you Pete, it was a long time back. Will find it and post as soon as I can