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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, 2 July 2018



Not as new as it sounds but very true. There's been some discussion of late about Detective Brown and his description of the back of the book and the existence of 'tiny writing'. As it turns out that isn't quite all there is to this story.

But first here's a quick overview of Detective Brown's career up to the time of the Somerton Man case courtesy of Adelaide University.

Len joined the Police in 1935 and served a 4 year stint in training as a Junior Constable at Port Adelaide. After that period he was sworn in as a probationary constable and posted to Renmark in 1938. After his time there he spent 2 years at Strathalbyn and then he was off up North to Port Augusta as a plain clothes constable. In 1946 he was posted to Adelaide CIB being promoted to Detective in October 1948. By the time 1948 came around Len had been in the service for 13 neary 14 years and was immersed in the customs of the South Australian Police and he knew the ropes well. He was not the kind to treat his position lightly and he worked by the book.

It was January 12th 1949 when Len was appointed  to work on the Somerton Man case, just 4 days after Detective Sergeant Leane joined that investigation. Len stayed with the case until after the completion of the Coronial Inquest and on June 21st he moved on to another case.

In short, Len was no longer on the case when the book was handed in a month later on July 22nd 1949. In other words, there was no way he could have altered the book for some imaginary reason as was put forward by one recent commenter. On that subject, I found it unfortunate that this particular person chose to denegrate and question the integrity of a well respected police officer.

When in later years he was interviewed by Professor Abbott regarding the book and the telephone number, Len related his thoughts and his memories of the event:

'Len remembers that the code and nurse’s phone number were in the back of the book in pencil. The phone number was in very tiny lettering. Len stated that the phone number was written under the code. (We are now able confirm that the code was indeed on the back dust cover of the book. Len's testimony that the phone number was below that code and not beside it does concur with physical evidence from what we now believe to be the exact size of the book).'

This information confirms that 'very tiny lettering' was present and it was actually on the code page, that's micro writing.

In discussions with Gerry Feltus, he made it clear that the code page markings found were indentations and not pencil. The two are not mutually exclusive of course. On the one hand you have a clear to see yet very small telephone number in pencil and on the other and on the same page, you have the indentations of the 'code' letters which needed a UV light in order to see them.

In relation to the existence of micro writing, Gerry Feltus said, 'I see what you see but I have no explanation for thee'.

The physical size of the book being 5.5 inches by 4.5 inches, that's important for those wishing to examine the official photograph of the code page that you will find on the wiki here:

As you will see below, contrary to the comments of the nay sayers, there are good examples of micro code and the use of micro writing as a form of clandestine communication. Add to that the existence of an SOE manual which describes the method known as Ink H which includes the concealment of letters/codes beneath larger letters and the  clear demonstration of just how it was done that you'll find on this blog plus the numerous photographs showing their presence and there is no logical argument about the existence of micro writing on the code page.


I posted this piece more than 3 years ago, it shows beyond doubt the use of micro writing by British Intelligence, MI6 to be precise. The work conducted by myself and others has consistently shown the existence of micro written letters and numbers in many places on the code page and also within the Verse 70 piece written by Jestyn to Alf Boxall. In more recent times we have also seen evidence of similar micro writing on Tibor Kaldor's last letter. Micro writing links Jestyn, Alf Boxall and Tibor Kaldor to the case. We cannot say with absolute certainty that the Somerton Man is linked to micro writing although it would not be an unreasonable assumption to make.

So, here it is again mostly for the nay sayers, a timely reminder in many ways.

Micro written message in a symbol code
beneath a WW1
Dutch postage stamp contained a 1600 word intelligence report.

The actual size of this stamp was
 approximately 30 mm X 34 mm

Magnified image, please note whilst the base image is as
found, I have added colouration to the stamp to reflect the actual appearance.
This image was found as the result of research amongst UK Military Intelligence files and confirmed by other documentary evidence dating back to WW1. At that time 'MI C', the forerunner to MI6 which was based in a one-time hotel in Folkestone in the  UK.

One of the many people recruited by this section was Louise de Bettignies who formed the highly successful 'Alice Dubois Network'. Louise recruited some very special people including the man who prepared this coded micro written message, a Paul Bernard, Belgian Map Maker, The code translated to a 1600 word intelligence report and is believed to have warned the British of the locations of a number of German gun emplacements. As a result these locations were themselves bombarded.

A Harkness Connection

Another valued member of Louise's team was Marie-Leonie Van Houtte. There is a lengthy story of the exploits of Louise and Leonie and we will be discussing that further in posts to follow. For now though the focus is on the use of Micro Writing by the British MI C section and the link via Leonie to her great niece, Marie-Ann Harkness who lives in the US. The surname could be a coincidence of course, it is her married name and at this time little is known of her husband's connections. I should also say that I have attempted to contact Marie without success to date, I am hoping that someone may know of her and her family if to do nothing more than to discount any connection to the relatives of Jestyn. I gratefully acknowledge the input and assistance of Byron in the initial investigation stages.

Back to the postage stamp, the size of the letters is around .5 mm and as you can see the writer was able to pack a significant number of them behind the postage stamp. Until the rediscovery of this stamp it was thought that clandestine messages were actually written on the back of the stamp however there is a good reason why that shouldn't be the case and it relates to the issue of ink types and the nature of adhesive on the stamp itself as well as the size of the letters. The 'glue' on the stamp would have formed ridges and whilst it would be possible to write larger letters, 1.5 to 2 mm in height, directly on to the stamp, writing at the micro letter level would have presented difficulties.

What does the code that has been written on the stamp actually mean? Thanks to input from Nick Pelling of Cypher Mysteries, we now that this is a simple 'PIGPEN' code comprised of symbols and each symbol equates to a letter of the alphabet. Referring back to the source documents, it is known that the Alice Network were particularly efficient at their work and were in the habit of adding another level of encryption to their codes. If that is the case here, then the letters that result from decoding the above stamp message could belong to another cipher, Playfair or Vigenere were in use at that time.

So, how would you go about decoding what lies beneath the stamp? Below is the key and an example for you to follow:



In our research we uncovered many other examples of Micro Writing used by MI6 and its predecessors, below is one example complete with another concealment method:
Micro Written Intelligence Report

Micro Message Concealed in a Pen.
Not wishing to be unkind to the learned detractors to the existence of Micro Writing, it does seem that they were well off track and perhaps now they will review their findings and may even set about some further valid research of their own.

It must surely follow that if these incredibly smart people back in WW1 could do what they did with micro-writing, encoding and concealment, and there is a lot more to come on that topic, it would be a very short step indeed to have them conceal their writing within larger letters as per the Somerton Man Code and that is exactly what happened as you will read in future posts.

Appropriate thought for the day:


Miguel de  Cervantes

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