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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.

Sunday, 27 August 2017


Before starting this post, a message for WEDNESDAY, many thanks for your message received yesterday, your information was correct. Is it possible that you have further information on the gentleman concerned?

As far as images go, the two books above are quite intriguing, to the left is the image of the book contained in the SAPOL files as being the front page of the book found in Jetty Road Glenelg, well at least one of the two Rubaiyats found Jetty Road Glenelg. The book on the right is a copy of the much talked about 'Courage &Friendshipp' version. The aspect ratio is quite different. The one on the left is a slimmer, more pocket size and shape book. Gerry Feltus was able to find one of that pocket sized version from Whitcomb and Tombs.

But, on to the question of the fourth Rubaiyat. We know of the Collins Version owned by Alf Boxall and into which Jestyn had written a copy of Verse 70 of the book. We know also of the book that was found on 22nd July 1949 a month after the first inquest was concluded. We know of the book found with George Marshall in 1945.

But another book was found in Jetty Road by yet another business man according to the Advertiser dated 27th July 1949. This article was uncovered by the eagle eyed Clive a few days ago. another exceptional find!

Also of note is the note regarding the body of the man stating that his features had materially altered I found that strange given that he had been embalmed, having said that this blog has held for a long time that the body from whom the bust was made was quite possibly a different body to that found on Somerton Beach.

I have underlined the relative sections and as you will read, there were, in fact, two copies of the Rubaiyat found in Jetty Road by businessmen.

Army Officer Sought To Help Solve Somerton Body Case
Detectives investigating the Somerton body mystery yesterday interviewed a woman who had given an Australian Army lieutenant a copy of the "Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam." which she believed could be identical with the book found in a motor car at Glenelg last year.

The book handed to the police was found in the back seat of an Adelaide businessman's car in Jetty road. Glenelg shortly before the body was discovered at Somerton on December 1. The words 'Taman Shud" had been torn from the last page of the book. Similar wording was printed on a piece of paper found in the clothing of the dead man. Tests made yesterday revealed that the piece of paper found on the body was of the same texture and color as the torn page in the back of the book.

Yesterday's discovery caused local police to enlist the aid of Sydney and Melbourne CIBs in an effort to trace the man mentioned by the woman.

The police have also forwarded to Army Headquarters, Melbourne, a copy of a series of letters printed in pencil on the back of the book. They believe that it is possible that the letters may be some coded message. Police located the woman from a telephone number, also written in pencil on the back the book. The woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, told police that when she was nursing at the North Shore Hospital, Sydney about 31/2 years ago, she gave a copy of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam to an Australian Army lieutenant who was serving in the water transport section. The woman said that she subsequently went to live in Melbourne, where she was afterward married. After her marriage, she received a letter from the man. She replied telling him that she was now married. Sometime last year, she could not remember the month, she, was told that a man had come to some flats next door to her home and enquired for a nurse. She did not know, however,
whether this was the same man. It was after this incident that the body was found on the beach at Somerton, not far from the woman's home.

After seeing a plaster cast of the head and shoulders of the dead man. the woman said that she could not say whether the dead man was the lieutenant she had known. It was pointed out yesterday that the features of the dead man had altered materially before the cast was made. 

An amazing coincidence was revealed yesterday when another Adelaide business man called at police headquarters with a copy of the "Rubaiyat" which he had found in his motor car at Glenelg about the time the body was found. This book was a different edition.

Between 4 p.m and 11 p.m. yesterday police headquarters received 49 telephone calls from people stating that they possessed copies of the "Rubaiyat." In many instances, the copies were not identical with that of the book linked to the case. Four or five were of the same publication. ' |

If this book did exist, and it would seem possible given that the go on to specify that it was from a different edition, how would the coincidence be explained? Could it be that there was perhaps some kind of group that met to discuss issues that in some way were tied up with the Rubaiyat?  It has to be considered as a possibility, I am sure there are others reading this that may have other thoughts.


  1. It's interesting because it sort of might resolve the problem around the Rubaiyat being found "some time in November". It might (for example) suggest that the fragment + book was used multiple times as an ID, with the book subsequently being discarded (and might even explain the discrepancy some have highlighted around "neatly trimmed" vs "torn"). Of course, in that case, it is possible that neither of the Rubaiyats discovered actually relate to Someron Man directly at all - but that there's another one still floating around somewhere

  2. GC, according to Lawson, Jessica answered no to every question.

  3. Seems that she gave one answer according to the press at least. Has anyone ever seen a reference to this book elsewhere? Must admit I missed it and I had read this article. Keen eyed Clive!