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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.

Saturday, 29 September 2018




This is the view looking straight down Pier Street towards the junction with The Esplanade and the beach in the distance. The house you can see on the right of this image is Number 13 Pier Street. The image is taken from the Moseley Street junction with Pier Street. In the distance, you can just about see the Esplanade

The image below is a Satellite view of the area stretching from Pier Street down to Bickford Terrace and including the location of 90 A Moseley Street.

The distance between 13 Pier Street and Bickford Terrace is approximately 1.5 Kilometres, 3 minutes in a car and 18 minutes at normal walking speed.


Given it was night time and that the Doctors car was parked adjacent to and outside his home which could either be in Pier Street or Moseley Street, and with street lighting being at a minimum in those days, it would not be difficult to either pop the book through an open car window or to open the door and drop it in. My personal take on that is that it would have gone in through an open window. Having said that, there was talk at one time on the University of Adelaide FB page that the car was, in fact, a Hillman Convertible and it was thought to have been blue in colour, the image below is of 48 Hillman convertible: Had it been this kind of car then I would assume the head would be down and so the book could have gone in between the car body and the head without too much difficulty I would have thought.

This scenario would include that the person dropping the book may have been pursued so to drop it into the first car, having turned a corner, and thus momentarily hidden from the view of his pursuer, seems quite possible. That would have the person heading down towards the Esplanade and away from Moseley Street.

Had he come from the direction of 90A Moseley Street then his journey would have been 650 metres in length, one minute in a car and perhaps 8 minutes at walking speed, a fast run would be more like 4 minutes.

And below, here's the big picture from 90A to 13 Pier Street and down to Bickford Terrace via the Esplanade:


Just to add a little more interest, there is a laneway between Kent Steet and Pier Street and it ends immediately behind 13 Pier Street:

there's no name of this laneway shown on Google Maps but I imagine there will be a detailed map from 1948, Sands and Macdougall perhaps.

I wonder what the Doctor's phone number was?

Thursday, 27 September 2018



With thanks to Clive, Clive attended the showing of the Somerton Man film in Glenelg last night and it was there that Professor Abbott revealed the name of "Mr. Francis". As you can see his name was Dr. Douglas Buxton Hendrickson of Pier Street Glenelg. Professor Abbott stated that the information was given to him by Gerry Feltus who was 99% certain that this was the man given the pseudonym "Mr. Francis"

Clive has started the research and thus far has turned up the following news article from "The News" 4 Dec 1946:

This post is a joint effort from Clive, Pete Bowes at Toms By Two and myself here at the Tamamshud blog.

UPDATE  28 September 2018
Thanks to Byron Deveson


Born 18th February1911 Balaklava, South Australia.
Married Eileen Ivy Schurgott 15th June 1933at Claremont, South Australia
Married Doris Arculas Davis 25th July 1942 at Perth, WA
Died 23rd September 1979 Adelaide

Question: Did Dr. Hendrickson work at or attend the Crippled Children's Home?

two daughters born 1945 and 1948.

UPDATE #1, 30 September 2018

Courtesy of Ace Researcher Clive, Photo of Dr. Hendrickson with the article:

UPDATE # 2, 30 September 2018

Lieut-Colonel Robson, Served with distinction in the Australian Army biography here...

Also of note and possibly relevant is the fact that Lieut-Colonel Murray Robson returned to his role in the NSW Parliament and was a fervent anti-communist. He became the leader of the United Australia Party and I think he was NSW opposition leader at a later stage in his political career. He would, therefore, be seen as a man of considerable influence.(Note: We are still looking at this man and his history, there does seem to be some date issues)





In December 1948, the UN Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East ( ECAFE) held this conference at the Lapstone Hotel. Attended by many nations including the Soviet Union. Scheduled to start on Monday 30th November, both the Russian and Australian delegations were late and didn't attend until Tuesday 1st December 1948.

Our post though is not so much concerned with the conference itself, rather our focus is on those Russians who were delegates but who didn't actually turn up.

The Russian Delegation had some 14 members on arrival in Darwin around the 26th November 1948, they were led by Kirril Novikov, the recently appointed Russian Ambassador to India. Readers of this blog will be familiar with the name 'Novikov' as the Russian Consul to the US who was a close associate of Pavel Fedosimov, however as far as we know these two men are not related.

Novikov is seated in the centre of these 3 men. this particular photograph shows him attending a much later conference in Vienna.

The Lapstone Conference was the target of a joint MI5/Australian Intelligence and CIA surveillance operation which included phone taps, in room bugs and tailing of delegates.


Much was happening in Australia in the time leading up to the conference, apart from the awarding of a major contract for the building of the UK's latest jet fighter, the Vampire, and the relocation of the Royal Navy's 25 Submarine Squadron to Sydney. Work was continuing at a frantic pace in South Australia on the preparation of Woomera and the building of numerous labs and jet engine and fuel testing facilities in and around RAAF Edinburgh, Salisbury and Adelaide's other Northern suburbs. Rumours abounded that A-bombs were actually being built in the suburbs.

But there was another level of activity, earlier in 1948, Australia's Prime Minister, Ben Chifley had paid a hurried visit to the UK for an urgent meeting with UK Prime Minister Clem Atlee, the reason was to discuss the issue of high-level leaks of top secret information from Australia, so bad were these leaks that the Americans had stopped  information sharing with Australia and the UK. 

Chifley returned to Australia and set about building a new security service to be known as ASIO. To help him in this task, Atlee organised for Percy Sillitoe to travel to Australia. 

 Sir Percy Sillitoe

Sillitoe was accompanied by two others from MI5, Roger Hollis, (phototo the right) and Philip 
Hembley Scales.   

Both men were active in Australia right up to the time of the Lapstone conference and no doubt would have taken part at least in the planning of the Lapstone Surveillance exercise. Another man who was active in Australia at that time was an American Mormon missionary by the name of McConke Bruce Redd, Mr. Redd was also a CIA agent whose area of operations was the State of Victoria.


14 Russian delegates arrived via Quantas but only 12 made the forward flight to Sydney. The two missing delegates were:

1. A man known only as SHERBAKOV
2. A lady believed to have been Novikov's secretary, a Miss Bogotyreva

There are no known photographs of either of these two people, we will be following up on that aspect. Neither of these two delegates were seen again.

The question is of course, where did they go? Some time ago, regular commenter on things SM, Byron Deveson, suggested that just maybe Sherbakov was the Somerton Man, there being no photographs of Sherbakov, that is a difficult call to make.

Enter Wally Clayton.


The Royal Commission was set up to investigate the implications of the Petrov Affair and the by then known espionage activities of the Soviet Government within Australia.

Amongst the many witnesses called was this man, Walter (Wally) Sneddon Clayton, also known as KLOD according to the VENONA cables. He was a known communist and was suspected of heading up a major Russian spy ring in Australia. This picture is an ASIO surveillance photograph.

Another active communist during 1948 and a man well known to Wally Clayton was this man , Laurence (Lance) Louis Sharkey:

Mr. Sharkey was the chair of the Communist Party of Australia Central Committee. In 1949 he was convicted of sedition and sentenced to 3 years imprisonment but only served 13 months.

In questioning Sharkey at the Royal Commission some years later, it transpired that Mr. Sharkey had been instructed by Wally Clayton to organise the illicit departure from Australia of a man via a ship leaving from Melbourne in December 1948.

Could this man who was spirited away from Australia have been Sherbakov? Was he connected in some way to the death of the Somerton Man? Was he the assassin?



Much of this information came from the amazing original investigative work carried out by John Ruffels, John was the SM researcher who worked alongside Sturart Littlemore in the making of the 1978 'Inside Story' documentary. It was he who painstakingly searched books, documents and news clippings to uncover this information way back in 1978, a time when there was no internet nor mobile phones, John did the hard yards.

You should also know that it was John Ruffels that suggested to me that I should follow up on Sentaor Cavanagh's statement in the senate that spoke of South Australia becoming a dumping ground for dead spies. 

Senator Cavanagh had pointed to a book, The Atom Spies and in those pages, John independently found details of a meeting at the Earle Cinema in New York between Harry Gold and a tall, well built fair haired man with large hands who walked on his toes. John was not able to put a name to this man and it was years later when I followed up on John's suggestion and by then there was access to the FBI files not available to John in the late 1970's. It was in those files that I was able to find the name of the man who met Harry Gold at the Earle cinema, it was Pavel Ivanovich Fedosimov. There were no photographs of any kind available at that time, no doubt John would have been excited to see the close up of Fedosimov showing the missing teeth.  John had stated in his notes in 1978 that he believed that the man at the meeting with Harry Gold could well have been the Somerton Man. I concur.

With thanks to Clive Turner and to Pete Bowes for their input and encouragement over the past 4 years.

I recommend a visit to Pete Bowes Blog, Toms By Two

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Somerton Man: Why No Fingerprints?


First Published 4th April 2014

If there was one aspect of this case that is of greatest concern it would be the absence of fingerprinting.

  1. The suitcase not fingerprinted, 
  2. The book or the torn piece not fingerprinted, 
  3. Bus tickets not fingerprinted, 
  4. Shoes not fingerprinted
  5. Glass dish not fingerprinted
  6. Screwdriver not fingerprinted
  7. Scissors not fingerprinted
  8. Razor not fingerprinted
  9. Razor strop not fingerprinted
  10. Envelopes not fingerprinted
  11. Paper sheets not fingerprinted
  12. Handkerchiefs not examined
  13. Jestyn not fingerprinted. 
  14. Alf Boxall not fingerprinted
  15. Etc. Etc.

I can't find any reference in the evidence or notes that states that anything or anyone was fingerprinted with the lone exception of SM himself. If anyone has found such a reference it would be greatly appreciated if it could be shared. As it stands, this may be the only suspicious death dealt with by Police in Australia where fingerprints weren't taken from evidence.

To add some further weight to the view, the statistical likelihood of a male in their 40s taking their own life using poison and choosing a beach to do it is hundreds of thousands to one. I am sure the mathematicians amongst us could provide the precise numbers. The only similar event that gets close was the Marshall case and he was found poisoned, a copy of the Rubaiyat, on a headland not that far from the sea and the rest we are all very familiar with.

Whilst SM's death may not have appeared to have been suspicious when he was discovered at the beach, it would have fallen into the category of sudden, unexplained and therefore suspicious until such time as proven otherwise. In fact it was at the RAH that the examining Doctor mentioned the likelihood of poisoning. That's almost as good as it gets as far as timing is concerned and the suspicious aspect should have immediately kicked off the correct Police procedures for what could be the most serious offence in the book.

The SA Police in those days was run very much like a military organisation, to the book.

Just months earlier to the discovery of SMs body Jimmy Durham went to a great deal of trouble taking fingerprints from a book that had been stolen from a second-hand shop and getting a conviction from it, why then did he not do so for the SM case? He, or someone, went to huge lengths to examine and photograph the impressions left on the inside of the book but didn't apparently look for fingerprints with the obvious ones being SMs.

It is just possible that finding the answer to the question of why fingerprints were not taken could lead to, at the very least, some very viable options as to who or which organisation had knowledge of or sanctioned this apparent killing.

Sunday, 23 September 2018




As promised and after a lengthy period of research followers of this and other blogs have sent me photographs of who they believe our two erstwhile opponents really are.

Yes, the clue, apparently was staring all of us who read A A Milnes book Winnie the Pooh, in the face, hidden in plain sight you could say:


From this day forth Mr. Sanders you shall be known as POOH!

But wait! What of  MILONGAL!, with unerring logic, my trusted friends have uncovered the most likely character would be a close associate of Pooh. One who was given to negativity and despair, you guessed it! It's:


From this day forth Milongal you shall be dubbed EEYORE!

And just to add credibility to their claim, they managed to clandestinely snap this amazing photo of the two of them together:

Pooh & Eeyore working on their next fascinating comment!

I hope you both take this in the spirit with which it was intended, sometimes a little humour can go a long way!

Your friend:

Must dash, I only have 14 hours to save the Earth :)
Have a Great Day!

Wednesday, 19 September 2018


Page 196

This image is taken directly from the NAA file, Part 1 of 2 and page 196. Link here to Somerton Beach Story C 673 Part 1.

If you examine this carefully you will be able to see pencil indentation markings covering the entire page. These markings are letters and numbers of varying sizes from average to very small. These are not digital artifacts; they are pencil indentations.

Looking for a particular number is like looking for a needle in a haystack, well not quite!

Below I have highlighted where the number X3239 is to be located and in fact, you should be able to just make it out:

You can also see many examples of letters and numbers and in the next image I have highlighted just some of the areas that you can observe:

All that I have done here is to adjust some colourisation settings to sharpen the images, the next step is to use specific lighting and camera techniques to hopefully enhance our view. It may take me some days to get to this but it will be done.

This last image for this post, of course, shows the bottom right corner of the code page, in it, you can clearly see letters and numbers in a stack:

Working through the document again after some years, it's amazing how much more you can find. Indeed it appears that I was not the first person to think that Fedosimov was the Somerton Man. More on that in a later post.

Monday, 17 September 2018



Len Brown was the detective who played a lead part in the Somerton Man case investigation. It was he who discovered the suitcase and it was he who made the statement that confirmed the existence of micro writing on the code page and that it was found beneath the code:

'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. '

See Adelaide University Wiki on Len Brown

What is to be deduced from this information?

There are three deductions that we can make:
1. The code page was not written by Jestyn, she would have no need  to write down her own number
2. Given the earlier post mention of similar telephone numbers being found in other States, we can assume that the telephone number was not the only piece of information that pointed to Jestyn.
3. That given the earlier work that has already been done on the code page by this blog, we can assume that there is more similarly coded information to be recovered which may well contain more telephone numbers.

Len Brown's comments substantiate the work done here. We have separately always maintained the view that the code page contained micro written code and Len's words confirm that fact.

Where to from here?

Bear in mind that the micro written code technique was identical to that used by the UK's SOE and is described in one of their manuals and known as INK H. In 1948 it was still a secret method. Whoever wrote the page was aware of just how the code could be implemented. There can be little doubt that a similar method would have been employed by other nations intelligence agencies.

This does not necessarily mean that this person was spying at the time, but it does mean that the person had more than likely been trained in the method. It may be that once the code in its entirety has been recovered that we find evidence of espionage but at this moment there is insufficient evidence to support that claim.

The next step is to carry out an in-depth examination of the code page using whatever technical means we have available. There is at least one university who state that they can recover the necessary details from the existing 400 dpi image of the code page. Sadly, the University of Adelaide has not expressed an interest for reasons best known to themselves.

Len Brown was a hardworking and respected officer who rose through the ranks serving in CIB and Prosecutions. He had worked on a number of high profile cases. He was the recipient of the Queens Police Medal and the National Service Medal.  Make no mistake that his position was a very responsible one, he would have worked extremely hard to get there and even harder when he achieved the rank of Superintendent. He was and still is deserving of great respect. 

Sadly there are those in recent times who have set out to demean, belittle, denigrate and in my view defame this man, to make things worse, they do so under the cloak of anonymity. To do that to a man who is now in his 100th year is beneath contempt. That approach does not sit well with me personally and I know that his relatives are of the same view.

NEXT POST: Another Major Link In The Puzzle

Thursday, 13 September 2018


Detective Superintendent Brown

This document is one of 177 pages of notes made by interviewer Stuart Littlemore in preparation for the 1978 TV Documentary about the Somerton Man.

The particular page that you can see above deals with part of his interview with Detective Superintendent Brown who, at that time was a 'sprightly' 60-year-old man and  sharp minded.

The discussion in point was about the phone numbers, plural, there were two numbers with Jestyn's apparent number being X3239.

The other number according to Det Sup Brown was that of a local business and they had been contacted with a negative response, no one recalled the man had called them at that number.

What can we deduce from that statement?

We are left with two main options, firstly the statement could be read as is and the lead becomes a dead end. Secondly and equal in likelihood is that the number may not have been a South Australian number but instead it may have been a Victorian or another State number as pointed out in our previous post on this matter. If you recall, we were able to readily find that the number X3239 existed in Victoria, Canberra and Brisbane at the time.

If we focus on Victoria being the most likely State home for the X3239 number then the same could also be said of the second yet unpublished number, it was not a South Australian business number but could well have been a Victorian number.


Stay with me on this for just a little while longer. An assumption was made in 1948 that the Somerton Man had probably arrived by train from either Broken Hill or Melbourne, there is no published basis for that assumption apart from the suitcase that was recovered at the railway station in January 1949.

Doubts have understandably been raised about the origin of the suitcase and its content as indeed they have similarly been raised about the discovery of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayam book.


It is the book and more precisely the X3239 telephone number that provides us with one of the only known facts that positively links Jestyn to the book and its owner. I say 'owner' because we do not know just who owned that book and I say 'one' as there is arguably other information that could provide that link. But, for now let's keep the focus on these telephone numbers.


Again we are operating in the field of assumptions. It has long been assumed that it was the Somerton Man who owned the book and it was he who had written down the numbers, although the only evidence we have to support that is that the book was found in Glenelg by a Chemist from the area on an undetermined date and it was months later that it was rediscovered. 

True to say that the torn piece bearing the words 'TAMAM SHUD' had earlier been found n a hard to find waistband fob pocket of the trousers that the Somerton Man was wearing at the time his body was discovered.

The torn piece was matched, though not by its shape, to the last page in the newly found book, the match was based on it being of a similar type of paper stock to that of that book. What we can say with a degree of certainty is that the torn piece found on the man came from the book. We cannot say that the man had removed it from the last page because there is simply no evidence to support it. 

The book and the torn piece are separate pieces of evidence and we should address them that way until fresh evidence is forthcoming.

It is quite possible that the person who ditched the book into the Chemists car at 'around the time of the Parafield Air Show' was not the Somerton Man. In fact, we do not know for sure that the book was ditched at the time of his death, it could have been sometime after that occurrence.

To the point, whilst the assumption about the journey made by the Somerton Man has him boarding a train in Victoria, no assumption was made that the telephone numbers on the back of the book were also from Victoria. We can find no records of the Victorian lead being followed up. It begs the question, 'Why not?'

If we accept the strong possibility that the numbers were of an origin other than South Australia, does that reinforce the case for SM also coming from Victoria or is there another possibility? Could it be that the book belonged to another man from that time who we know came from Victoria and had connections there? Tibor Kaldor perhaps?

There'll be another post on this subject in the next week.

Thursday, 6 September 2018



A refurbished British Ericcson wall phone, MW 235. From 1930 to 1945 the PMG rebuilt these from old stocks of candlestick phones.

The whole case, and I do mean the entire case regarding the connection between Jestyn and the Somerton Man rests on one thing and one thing only as far as we are aware. The telephone number written in 'really tiny lettering' (according to Detective Brown) on the back of the Rubaiyat, X 3239. How did the Police know that this was Jestyn's number?

You could say that we have proof of that number being used by Prosper in a number of newspaper ads:

But, the consensus at the time was that SM arrived in Adelaide on a train from Melbourne, so what about this ad in a Melbourne newspaper, The Argus 23rd February 1946:

You could argue that the number is either 3239 or 2239, a bit blurred.

In this case, the person who placed this ad was looking to exchange their current, beachside, home for another in Kew.

For the record, the X prefix indicates that this was a location in or near St. Kilda/Brighton. Here's a link to an old Telephony text PDF, it provides information on exchange setups and prefix planning, for those interested look at page 30 in the pdf. It is a very useful reference for any researcher.

Is the number 2239 or 3239? Whichever it is for this ad, I think it reasonable to assume that there was more than likely a phone number X3239 in St Kilda/Brighton at that time.

It is a critical question as I feel sure most would agree but it's not that simple to resolve. The Melbourne telephone directory does exist, I think the year is 1947, but it is on microfiche in alphabetical order and the only way you are able to search it is if you have the name of the subscriber.

For the record, Clive has already made inquiries re the K J Widmer St Kilda ( Tibor Kaldor Referee) connection without success. That doesn't mean it wasn't a number KJW had access to though.

We are left with only one option in the absence of that name and that is to go to the Victorian Library and physically search the microfiche for that number.

Clive recalls a comment made on the Smithsonian blog some years ago where someone suggested that they had done that but they didn't leave the name but suggested that the number was to be found in the second half of the directory.

There are paid researchers available in Melbourne and I guess the staff at the library would be happy to provide a list. I would go if I could but that's not possible at this time and the cost of flights and accommodation would likely be more than hiring a good researcher for the task.

I would be happy to chip in if someone wants to get it organised, it should be understood that there is no guarantee that the St.Kilda/Brighton number will yield a positive lead but it certainly needs to be followed through and for the life of me I can't understand why it hasn't happened. Unless of course it has been done already?

What do you say Pete Bowes?

Sunday, 2 September 2018



Two male bodies, both poisoned and two lost watches...

On December 18th, 1948, Prosper placed an ad in the Adelaide Advertiser apparently searching for a lost Tudor Gold Watch. He wasn't specific about just where the watch had been lost, his wording was "CITY and suburbs...", no idea why he chose to use caps for the word CITY.

Clive has put together a list of reported lost gold watches from the Adelaide Advertiser between October 1948 and January 1949:

14-10-48  Page 8

14-10-48  Page 8

15-10-48  Page 11

08-12-48  Page 12

10-12-48  Page 2

10-12-48 Page 6

14-12-48 Page 9

27-12-48 Page 4

01-01-49 Page 7

Five Lost Gold watches in December alone not counting the ones from Prosper and Mr. Jeffery


This first Gold watch had been apparently lost prior to the 7th December 1948, the ad starts in caps, the word being GENT's, just why that is we don't know although it seems to have been a fairly common practice for advertisers to capitalise important words:

Interesting, thus far we know that the person who placed the ad was from Glenelg and in fact, he, name of 'Jeffery', had placed other ads mostly for Real Estate/properties for sale in the area. There was another ad from earlier years where a ladies marcasite wrist watch had also been lost. But it was the Gold watch that first caught Clive's eye.

So, we have a man found dead, poisoned in fact, at Somerton on December 1st, the first ad for a lost gold watch appears in the Advertiser on December 7th, one week after the discovery of the Somerton Man.

1940s Map of Glenelg

Osmond Street Glenelg

As you should be able to see, Osmond Street was the extension of Tapley's Hill Road that runs into Anzac Highway and then Jetty Road in the centre of Glenelg.

For those interested, you can get the complete set of 1940s 

This event is followed by another discovery of yet another man, Tibor Kaldor, who had also been poisoned this time on the 14th December; and on the 18th December, Prosper places an ad for another Gold watch, a Tudor Gold watch, an expensive item by any measure:

The current task is to find out exactly who placed the first ad for the 'Glenelg' gold watch, we will be sure to let you know when we find out just who 'Jeffery' was. (See Clive's comment below)

Final thought for this post, telephone numbers can be strange things, we can find a telephone number quite readily but finding a name to go with it can be challenging. Sometimes people rent rooms in a house and share the telephone or perhaps they have moved since the last published directory and someone else now has that number. We have another post on telephone numbers very shortly.