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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.

Monday, 3 October 2016




Otto is the second of our candidates for a possible match to SM, he was a German national working in Tehran, Iran as an engineer where he was arrested by the British Authorities in September 1941. He was sent to Australia on the Rangitiki as an internee.

Otto landed at Outer Harbour South Australia and was initially
interned at Barmera, Riverland, South Australia Loveday camp. Loveday held the largest number of internees during WW2.

Austrian (Marburg)Roman Catholic
DOB 1904
Height: 6 '
Build: Large (as described on form)
Eyes: Blue/Grey
Married to 'Gerda', a resident of Berlin.
Otto had several visits to the hospital at the camp during 1944. No record of the reasons.
In February 1945 he was transferred to Tatura Camp in Victoria.

The image below is a comparison and in order to do this, the original full face picture of Otto was flipped horizontally so that we would show similar, but not exact angles of the face. SM's face is tilted slightly more to his right and backwards which shows the ear and nose in more detail. As you can see, there are similarities, Otto's hairline appears to have a 'widow's peak' but that could also just be the way his hair has been tousled, the image in the band for example, does not appear to show the same feature.

He played Violin in the Tatura Camp band, the image at the head of the post appears to show that he was in the band in 1943 which doesn't match up with his form which states that he was not transferred until February 1945.

On 29th August 1946, he was released into Melbourne where at some time following, he gained employment as a waiter at 'Mario's' in Exhibition Street Melbourne.

Otto applied for Registration in February 1948.

Up to now we have found no trace of him after February 1948. We did find a 'Gerd' Frtisch. In German, Gerd is a short form for 'Gerhard'  (the name Gerd is masculine, it is possible that it was miss-spelt on the form) arriving in Melbourne from Germany on the 'Ravello' on 16th. January 1952. To date we have found no further documents for Gerd.

Apart from his general description, you can see from this image that in 1945, he appeared to be a very fit man with quite large shoulders. His hairline is similar to SM's in this image. You will notice that the ear lobes appear to be attached but it is difficult to be certain given the angle of the picture.

Otto was not a 'Dunera Boy', he was an internee at Tatura which had earlier housed many Dunera Boys and not all of these were released in 1941. We are still researching that particular point.

If anyone has further information that would be very welcome. Perhaps Misca can work her magic on this post?

We now have a number of potentials on the list and we will work through each of them in the coming weeks until we find our man. Amongst the many challenges, not all have photographs. In the meantime the search goes on as does Clive's work on dental records and more for Internees.


Thanks to Clive, a record was found of an Otto Victor Fritsch and Jean Ormiston Fritsch, Divorce Papers, March 1962.

The link to the page appears to be broken so at this stage we can tentatively remove Otto from the lost but hold him there for a little while longer whilst we confirm if this is the same man or not.

The profile we have is for a German Internee who fits the general description of SM and who had links to a known high profile agent, he was also suspected of taking numerous photographs of a British submarine during WW2. We have copies of a number of unusual communications/letters to and from this man.


  1. Hello Gordon! First of all I would like to tell you THANK YOU VERY MUCH for everything you have done for identifying the Somerton Man. This mystery is my most loved enigma and honestly speaking I spend at least a couple of hours thinking on who was the Man and what had happened to him. I believe that there are thounsand and thousands people around the world who are stuck in this story and everyone wants to crack the code once.
    So, thank you again.
    I have read your last entry and my guess that Otto is not the Somerton man. However, I bet that Taman Shud is connected somehow with Tatura Camp and he was probably one of them.

    My question is, have you ever contacted with mr. Abbot? The professor who has a page on Reddit and dedicated pretty much time idetifying the Somerton Man.

    Thank you and best regards!

  2. Hello and thanks for your comment. I am glad that you find this blog interesting. Regarding Otto, I agree that we don't think he is our man either, at the bottom of the post you'll see an update on Otto. That does not mean that the effort is entirely wasted on this man and others. By finding this level of detail we may find that amongst it all will lie a clue or it may fill in a blank that only becomes apparent down the track.

    Yes, I know Professor Abbott very well, at one time many years ago, we worked together though well before involvement in this case. His work is invaluable and I have a great deal of respect for him even though I will from time to time disagree with what he has to say.

    Thanks again for your comment.