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.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017



After a few false starts, I received the actual hard copy photograph of Pavel Fedosimov from the US today. It is a fascinating document in and of itself. The photograph is an original and not just a printed off digital image. It carries with it a series of markings on the rear of the photograph and Clive is working on some hitherto unknown information that was found there. We will be publishing more close up images from this photograph in the coming days.

I can confirm that what was thought by some to be a toothpick in his mouth is not that at all. I can also confirm that the teeth are quite unusual and it looks as though the canines are adjacent to the two incisors with teeth missing.

But possibly the most important discovery is what appears to be a mole to the right of Pavel's mouth as you will see in the image below:

The mark that is highlighted in this image is in the same place described by Professor Abbott of Adelaide University and is to be seen in the full face image of the post autopsy picture of the Somerton Man. It is faint in this image but later close ups to be published will hopefully show it in better detail.
The question we would all have now is, is this mark a skin blemish/mole or is it a mark on the photograph?

We have more information on Pavel and can put to rest the comments by some related to a person of the same name being present at an IAEA conference in the late 1950s, The name Pavel Fedosimov is quite common and to stake a claim that because someone of the same name turns up ten years later then it must be him is, how can I say this, a little light on. My name is not that common but there are at least 18 men of the same name in Australia, a country with a population of 22 million or so. What chance do you think there would be of finding a Pavel Fedosimov in amongst 98.5 million population of Russia in the 1950s or 60s?


  1. I suspect Gordon Cramer is a lot more common than Pavel Ivanovich Fedosimov (although I'll grant that "Pavel Ivanovich" is a VERY common first/middle combination).

    According to very quick interneting:
    Fedosimov is about the 430,000th most popular surname in the world, with an estiamted 600 people with that name alive today
    Cramer is about the 8500th most common surname in the world, with an estimated \64,000 people with that name.

    Granted surname frequencies change over different eras so that's not conclusive. It does seem telling, however, that searching for "Pavel Fedosimov" yields very few results from that era. While this (understandably) is because there's simply less records from the pre-internet era it does make the likelihood of 2 people roughly the same age (we would assume the 1950s/1960s diplomat would be middle aged) with the same first name, middle initial, (rare) surname appearing in very similar occupations (the 1940's PF is a diplomat too) quite a coincidence. So even if of your 18 name-brethren X of them are of similar age to you and Y of them are also (or have been) in an investigative/police type occupation I'd still find it difficult to agree that we're comparing apples with apples....

    From my perspective the assertion that these are definitely different Pavel Fedosimovs, with so far no evidence to support the claim is at least as (likely more) flaky than any assertion that they are definitely the same.
    Of course if there's proof we look forward to seeing it once it's finally revealed - because after all, I think everyone is interested in any result here - irrespective of whether it shows them to be right or wrong.

    1. Thanks for your comment. You've obviously given some thought to this issue and have done some research on statistics to support your comments, that I appreciate. But let's just look at the data/statistics that you have supplied and hopefully shed more light on the matter. An oft quoted phrase related to statistics is this, 'There are two ways in
      which you can use statistics, you can use them as a drunken man might use a lampost, for support or you can use them for the purpose of illumination'. What follows is by way of illumination.

      In this response we will be talking about one name but two people. I suggest that for Major Fedosimov we use a code name that he once used, STEPAN and for the attendee in Vienna we use the name JOHN

      Using your statistics, you state that there currently 600 people in the world with the surname Fedosimov. We are concerned though with the year 1958 and also concerned with the number of people in Russia with the surname Fedosimov, not the world.

      The population of Russia in 1958, the year in question, was approximately 126 million as opposed to 142 million currently.

      If there are currently 600 in the whole of the world with the surname Fedosimov we could, for the sake of this discussion, discount our 600 to say 550 in 1958.

      Of that 550, in 1958 the population of male/female was close to 50% in the age group 25 to 70, namely 275 males with the surname Fedosimov.

      (You will note that I have used an age grouping, that is because we are looking at people who, by virtue of their age and therefore knowledge/experience, might be considered qualified to attend the meeting in Vienna. The role of JOHN was stated as a 'counsellor to the Governor', what sort of counselling we do not know, no more than we know the attendee Fedosimov's age or description. In fact we know nothing other than his name and a very broad age group.)

      Taking the male/female ratio of 50% and 275 males with the surname Fedosimov, we need to add the age group numbers and as far as I can ascertain, approximately 70% of the 275 males named Fedosimov would fall into the age group, i.e. 192 men. Now we need to look at the first and second names with Pavel Ivanovich being very popular at that time and indeed still is. Let's say we use 10% or 19 men in the right age group and having exactly the same name of Pavel Ivanovich Fedosimov lived in Russia in 1958.

      Any one of these 19 men could have attended the conference but you could argue that only some would fit the bill academically/politically, so let's make that 5 or possibly 6 candidates. Not 2, but 5 or 6 who could have been JOHN in Vienna that year.

      In the case of STEPAN, we know this much:
      1. We have a photograph
      2. We have a detailed description courtesy of Harry Gold and the FBI, that description matches that of the Somerton Man in my view and I am not alone in that view.
      3. We have documented evidence of his espionage activities in North America
      4. We know that he was directly involved in spying on the Manhattan project
      5. We know that he was very familiar with Klaus Fuchs and may have met him but certainly communicated with him
      6. Klaus Fuchs was a spy for Russia and he was an ex internee
      7. There was a group of internees who were spies for Russia including some in the US, the UK and in Australia
      8. We know that the last known sighting of STEPAN was in late July 1948.
      9. Russia would have seen their espionage map based on the project types primarily, thus they would have the Mahattan project in the US, Tube Alloys in the UK and the British had their major test site under way in 1948 in South Australia, Woomera. All of these projects and locations were of vital importance to the Soviet espionage effort and STEPAN was a major player for the Russians, no pun intended.

      Compare these 9 points related to STEPAN to what we have of the man JOHN where all we have is that he was a male, he had the same name and an estimated age group.

    2. I'll continue to stumble around my lamppost, if you don't mind.

      I agree it's easy to use statistics any which way you want to demonstrate what you want (if the number of people getting caught decreasing is in decline does that show police strategies are working and fewer people are drink driving, or does it show that they are focussing on the wrong places and not catching drink drivers?). And it's kind of important to try to estimate using as accurate a measure as possible rather than sticking a finger to the wind.

      Some of the assumptions/roundings you've used are arbitrary and potentially suffer some rounding error, and I think that 5 or 6 is easily reduced considering (and noting that each of these assumptions, as any of the ones above don't take everything into account (eg a major demographic shift that alters the prevalence of different names):
      1) of the 600 Fedosimovs, less than 570 are in Russia
      2) According to Wikipedia, Russia had 116mil in 1958 and 146mill now - a difference of 26% (ie 146 is 1.26 x 116) leaving 455 candidates (455 x 1.26 = 573)
      3) I'll leave the gender alone, although I'll note that the current population above 65 in Russia has more women than men (this could mean more men have died off, or that 50 years ago the gender gap wasn't 50-50 (it certainly isn't now - there's a lot more men than women). From what I can tell, at the 1959 census the male population was about 45% of the total. But we'll assume 50% male and say 278
      4) From 1990-2010 the percentage of people of "working age" in Russia is about 30% (I don't know how to extrapolate this back to the 50s). I'll note (but not reduce the figure) that Fedosimov attended the conferences for at least 10 years. So he not only had to be working age, he had to have at least 10 years of being working age ahead of him. I'll also note (although possibly irrelevant) that in 1950-1955 36% of people in Eastern Europe survived to 60-80. Either way, this reduces our number of working men to at absolute maximum 83.
      5) The percentage of people in Russia with first name Pavel today is 0.27% (the most common name is only just over 1%). I'm going to be REALLY generous and say that in 1958 that was 0.5% (and I'll throw in Ivanovich for free). That takes us down to 0.41 people....
      6) 63% of Russians work in "Services" - I'm having trouble finding an older figure or a more specific measure, but this reduces the number of candidates to 0.25

      So even with some fairly generous concessions, the likelihood of 2 Pavel I(vanovich) Fedosimov existing in Russia in the same era and (very broadly) in the same age range seems to be rather small by my count....

    3. Glad that we at least agree that we are talking about Russia rather than the world with the surname FEDOSIMOV ranked at 297000th in Russia and not the world rank of 430000th globally.

      On spending just a little more time reviewing the information on the surname FEDOSIMOV, it seems we have both missed a most valuable and critically important point.

      In Russian culture, the long standing custom is to add a letter or two to a surname to indicate the feminine version of that surname. To be more exact, surnames ending in
      ...OV have the letter 'A' added making that surname FEDOSIMOVA. In this case the source site gives a total of 701 FEDOSIMOVA and 598 FEDOSIMOV surnames.

      The effect of that is to more than double the number of males from 278 to 598 in todays numbers if we include other Soviet Socialist Republics of the time such as Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan etc. The net effect is, I think, that the chances of there being another P.I. Fedosimov have also doubled. So, it appears we were both incorrect and the case against suffers whilst it seems that the likelihood of there being another FEDOSIMOV, doubles.

      On another point, you mentioned that STEPAN attended the conferences over 10 years, the research we have gives us only two attendances being 1958 and 1968.

      I agree totally with the statement made in your first comment that this is about getting it right and in order to do that we should rely on all the skills and knowledge that we can muster and we must strive for the truth of the matter. That requires exploration, testing of ideas, following up leads and not being boxed in by restricted thinking but above all being as accurate as we can given the available information.

    4. Regarding the gender of the surname, you're absolutely right. I'll double my numbers. My last bit of math was totally wrong too (the idea of multiplying the probabilities to see likelihood of 2....we weren't looking for 2, we were looking for 1).

      Regarding the conferences, though, if you go to the IAEA site, and look through their archive I think you'll find he was a delegate (in varying capacity) for about 10 of them...

    5. All good. What was that about 'Lies, Damn Lies & Statistics!' :)

  2. Apologies, my comment system rather rudely cut me off when I needed to add some further thoughts.

    It is important that when you consider espionage that these men and women were absolute masters at clandestine communications, deception and concealment. For example, STEPAN had used the torn paper technique and I believe on at least 3 known occasions. Found on the Somerton Man was a torn piece of paper, in this case it was concealed in a hard to find waist band fob pocket. It had been rolled up tightly and pushed well down to the seam so as to make a searcher think that it was in fact part of the seam. In relation to that, I would also point out that because the torn piece was found in his fob pocket does not mean that it wasn't hidden elsewhere prior to that.

    My assertion stands as there is no real evidence to the contrary, that's the nature of an investigative approach versus the academic researcher approach. Should that evidence surface and is proven then of course I will give it due credit. I look forward to seeing further, but in depth and better thought out, research. You really do need to immerse yourself into the subject and leave the doors to your mind and thinking processes wide open.

    Thanks again for your comment!

  3. Just to add a little more to this discussion, with regards to my surname, there are just about 1100 instances of that in Australia, both male and female. Reasonable to assume that we have a 50/50 split with no known custom that adds a letter or two to indicate the feminine version.

    Of the, now, 550 males in this country with the same surname as I, 18 of them appear to have my first name or 3.5%, but, taking your lead, let's be generous and say 1.5%. In the case of FEDOSIMOV, we have a number in excess of 550 males and yet the conclusion is drawn there can only be one of them with the same first and surnames in existence.

    I think that it is very likely that there was more than one P.I. FEDOSIMOV in existence at that time, probably 5 or 6 as earlier stated, that could be the man of conference fame.

  4. How can you say that Fedosimov is SM when he turns up at bunch of IAEA conferences? He can't be and he also turns up in the FBI doc in 1959?

  5. An unexpected pleasure to have you drop by milongal and very welcome you are to. I can see why you would ask the question and it's fair enough.

    Let's look at the IAEA documents that we found and incidentally published, the IAEA docs contain the name of an advisor delegate: Pavel Ivanovich Fedosimov from 1958 to 1967 after which time he drops off. As you will have read in previous comments by others on here, there is a possibility that there was another person with the same name and that cannot be ruled out. I would add to that, that we have no other evidence at all as in photographs or documentation that tells us anything about the PIF that attended those conferences apart from the fact he on at least one occasion, had his wife with him. Do you or anyone else think, that the IAEA would readily allow a known Atom spy to sit amongst the delegates of other countries no doubt with their own secrets to protect?

    Next, the FBI document was found a week or two ago and Clive and I have spent time trying to find out when the Album, from which the photograph of PIF that is mentioned, was produced. the logic is that given PIF was a known spy, and that he was on a watch list, then the photograph would have originated during the time he was in the USA, i.e. up to and including 1948. It is important to read the document carefully, it does not say anything more than the list with photographs was used in a particular year as opposed to the year it was created. The album I believe was a stock album and given that there is no record or photograph of PIF at any time after the April 1947 photo with Novikov at La Guardia, then it is a fair bet that the image was pre-1948 and the attendant records would have been from the same era.

    Interestingly, to this point, we can find no other photographs of Pavel pre 1947 and certainly none after that year. That does not mean that photographs do not exist, it just means they are nowhere to be found. We will keep looking for information on Pavel and if anything turns up we will publish it no matter what the dates or the implications are. It's all about getting to the truth.

    Thanks for your comment.