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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.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016



Continuing on with building the full story behind the Dunera Boys and why we think that the Somerton Man was also an Internee. This post looks at the real world that existed during and immediately after WW2 and the people and events that our man would have been familiar with.

In this post you will read of the social life in Melbourne during the war and how the internees met and socialised with local girls and acts of sabotage in latest aircraft, all against a backdrop of communist intrigue and one of the most secret of bases at the time that formed the backbone of the Brisbane Line, the last line of defense should Australia be invaded by the Japanese. Read the STEP BY STEP paragraph at the end of this post.

Cam Pell in the early 1940s was home to a number of US Army Hospital units as well as the 52nd Signals Company. In late 1942, the camp became home to more and more Australian personnel including the AWAS contingent and a number of works units.

The 8th Employment company, comprised entirely of Dunera Boys from Tatura Internment Camp had its HQ there from 1942 whilst much of the camp was populated by US Soldiers, nurses and doctors and they shared many resources with them. One Dunera Boy became the driver for the US camp commander.

Many injured US soldiers injured in the Pacific, were brought back to Camp Pell for treatment. Sadly some didn't survive and, as was the custom, many of the items of clothing left behind were auctioned or given to those in need. From our perspective that could have included jackets, combs and similar personal items that were found in the Somerton Man's suitcase. Indeed, it could be that one of these US soldiers bore the name Keane.


I have been very fortunate in finding a surviving Dunera Boy, we'll call him Bern and he lives in Canberra. Born in Berlin, Bern was just 17 years old when he was arrested in the UK and put on board the HMT Dunera at Liverpool and headed off to Australia, Now 93, he is as bright and sharp as a man many years his younger and has retained the memories of many of  his experiences

In his words, it was an adventure for him. At 17 he didn't really mind life on board the ship, he didn't
HMT Dunera, Melbourne 1940
recall any cases of mistreatment although he is sure it would have occurred. He made many new friends on board and was amongst the 200 or so Dunera Internees that disembarked in Melbourne and headed to Tatura for the duration.

He told me that amongst his fellow internees there were rich men and poor, labourers and intellectuals, fascists, communists and those with different sexual preferences. A mini version/cross section of society in many ways.

He recalled Tibor Kaldor by name but could remember little of what he looked like, whilst I offered a photograph, Bern's eyesight is not what it used to be and is deteriorating and so he was not able to identify him in that way. His first thought was that Tibor was a photographer of which, according to research, there were 12 and 11 of them were between the ages of 19 and 50 years. He chose not to pursue that part of the discussion further.

I did learn that whilst some Dunera Boys volunteered for the 8th Employment Company, others did not and were kept in detention and watched carefully. Tibor Kaldor was one who did not gain his release until late 1944

He spoke about his time in the 8th Employment Company and at Camp Pell in Melbourne from 1942 to 1946. Whilst the 8th was Headquartered at Camp Pell, Bern spent much of his time at Albury and Tocumwal, generally, they would be 3 months away out bush and then 2 months back in Melbourne where they would work on the docks or rail terminals.

At Albury they would be engaged in trans-shipping goods and army supplies from the Victorian rail wide gauge trains over to the NSW standard gauge, hard work but Bern lapped it up. 

When in Albury they stayed under canvas at the Albury showgrounds and in Tocumwal, a little removed from civilisation it was a bush camp "where a man could get a good tan". The postings to Tocumwal went on through from 1942 until 1946 when most of the 8th Employment Company were demobilised.

He spoke of the heavy lifting and also the fact that a "lot of stencilling was going on" as boxes were marked up according to their new destinations. This applied to both Albury and Melbourne.


During just a few short months, January to May 1942, the USAF and Australian Defence forces built a complete front line Air Base.

Not often spoken of is the fact that Tocumwal had the largest aerodrome in the Southern Hemisphere at that time and the men of the 8th and other labour battalions were involved in the building of the site from January/February1942 and within 16 weeks it had been completed with 4 main, mile long, runways and 70 miles of taxiways. The whole base was filled with top secret aircraft and machinery.


Sabotage was suspected at Tocumwal especially amongst the newer aircraft. This could well have been an extension to the fatal crash of the new Woomera bomber at Fishermen's Bend in January 1943, the home of the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation.

Those of you familiar with earlier posts on the subject of the CAC, will recall the findings within the letter Q which spelled out CA 23. The designation of the sabotaged woomera was (C)A 23 -1001. Other incidents at Tocumwal and elsewhere resulted in the finding of large amounts of swarf in fuel lines which resulted in fires onboard experimental aircraft flying out of the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation's facility at Fishermans Bend.

The 8th Employment Company and other Internee staffed battalions followed the same routine, backwards and forwards between Melbourne and Tocumwal/Albury. An ideal source of valuable intelligence for those who knew how to find, encrypt and pass on secret messages.


According to Bern, he was much like most young men of his day and he liked the ladies and would have 2 or 3 girlfriends at one time. Dancing was a favourite past time for many and it was at Camp Pell that Bern first learnt to dance, they apparently gave dancing lessons there and the nursing staff were much in demand.

At the weekends and sometimes evenings through the week they would head in to town or St. Kilda and either to 'The Dugout', a dancing club run by the Myer Emporium in Swanston Street or down to St Kilda and the 'Palm Grove' dance halls.

The Palm Grove was strictly a Sunday event, it had 3 ballrooms, one for Old Time, another for South American and the third for Modern Dancing.

Bern met more than on girl friend through dancing, he went to great lengths to explain that the girls were always thoroughly respectable and had to be vetted before they were allowed in. Young girls perhaps of Jestyn's age. Could this be where Jestyn first met the Somerton Man?

The Dugout had some great facilities, you could get a bite to eat, do some dancing meet some new people maybe start a romance and could even take a shower and clean up.

Both the Dugout and Palm Grove were for servicemen in uniform only.

The image above shows the queue for the very popular telephone hook up to home.

There were other clubs of course, including the Trocadero and the Palais de Dance, both also situated at St. Kilda.


 Melbourne in 1942 was a breeding ground for leftist politics, the image you see here shows young people taking part in a Communist rally.

The Communist Party had been banned in Australia between 1940 and 1942 and towards the end of that year, it was again a legal organisation.


Step by step the profile is being built:

We have uncovered a connection between the Hay Bank Notes and the Code page found and associated with the Somerton Man.

We have shown the similarity between the Somerton Man's possessions and those that you would expect to find amongst the belongings of an Internee.

We have shown the probable use of the stencilling tools found in the Somerton Man's suitcase.

We have shown details of the second mysterious death by poisoning of another man in Adelaide, Tibor Kaldor, a Dunera Boy and ex-internee. There is much more to follow soon on that particular aspect.

We have shown the occurrence of sabotage tn Fishermans Bend and at Tocumwal, both locations where Dunera Boys were employed with suspicions of communist involvement.

We have heard from a surviving Dunera Boy who told us of the existence of communists amongst the Dunera Boys.

We have shown a way in which Jestyn may have met with the Somerton Man in Melbourne.

We are working our way through a number of leads and the list of possible identities for SM, we are getting closer.

There will be more added to this post over the coming days..

Saturday, 22 October 2016



More than 500 of the Dunera Boys from the Tatura Internment Camp 'volunteered' to join one of a number of Labour Battalions, comprised almost exclusively of internees, set up specifically to provide labour for the war effort. 

The Dunera Boys all joined the 8th Employment Company often referred to as the 8th Enjoyment Company. They had many manual tasks to perform, some went to Albury and worked transshipping cargo from the Victorian Broad Gauge railway to the Standard Gauge rail system of NSW. Others were employed in similar tasks but in Melbourne loading at the docks.

'Loading, unloading, shifting, stacking, restacking, stencilling and what not..' wrote one young Dunera boy in his diary during 1942.

Stencilling was not only the work of Navy men, it was commonplace throughout Australia and in instances such as the one described.

In the image below, you can see the stencillers brush amongst the items found in the Somerton Man's suitcase. Further down in this post you can see a modern day stencil brush for comparison, the Somerton Man brush is of a standard size which I estimate to be 3/4 inch.

The knife and scissors would have formed part of his stencilling kit being used to cut through the thin zinc from which his templates would have been made.

If you look closely at the knife, you can see where the taped part of the scabbard ends and then you can make out a short section of zinc fashioned to form the scabbard, it ends just before the handle. There appears to be some kind of marking on tape applied to that zinc, could be writing but not mentioned in the files.

In the image to the right is a modern day stencil brush and the similarity is quite obvious.

Whilst the image below is of a stencil created and used at the Hay Internment camp, the initial home of the Dunera Boys.


So now we can tick off the stencil kit in addition to the shoes, the slippers, the items of clothing with the exception of the Jacket SM was wearing when found. The cigarette lighter was made by an Australian company, Green & Co and was commonly available through most large stores such as Coles and the Myer Emporiums.

The next post will be a key post because it will provide us with locations in Melbourne where all parties could have met during 1942/43. All things being equal, that post will be uploaded by Wednesday 26th October.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016



Amongst SM's belongings were the shoes he was wearing...

we have found the match..

SLIPPERS but with a twist have been found, 

Next post 23/10/16

In the marked image above, you will see a range of shoes that are from a NSW catalogue dating back to 1948. It is from FOY's a subsidiary of Coles at the time and also Myers. Specifically marked are two areas, the top right shows the manufacturers name, J McKeown. The shoe that is marked is known as a half brogue and you can see that there are 6 lace eyelets, the colour specified is either black or brown, also note that the soles are genuine welted soles. In earlier catalogues, the brand name was shown sewn inside the shoe, this is not the case in this catalogue and there was no brand name in SM's shoes which helps to date the purchase.

That shoe description is and appearance is an exact match for the Somerton Man's shoes that you can see to the right.

In the image of SM's shoes, you can see the fairly small size of the punch holes across the toe caps where they join the upper of the shoes, in fact there are 21 on each cap. This is less easy to see in the catalogue image, I do have other catalogues which I will search to see if we can get a clearer image,

The significance of the name McKeown is that I believe it was the name written down by Mr. Cleland in his notes regarding the man's shoes.


In the Somerton Man's suitcase, a pair of burgundy slippers were found. Looking through the various catalogues, there were no felt burgundy slippers for men, however, there were felt burgundy slippers for women. This clipping from a Fays catalogue shows them and you will see that the size range went from 2 to 7:

The slippers are seen to the left at the base of the image below and look to be burgundy in colour, you can also just make out the heel which is very similar to the style of the catalogue image above.


Whilst it is good to find this match, perhaps of greater significance is the fact that these shoes were a catalogue item, in those days also referred to as 'mail order'.

As you know, along with Clive, I have been carrying out some extensive research into the Dunera Boys and Internees who were housed at Hay in NSW and then later at Tatura in Victoria. Many internees were released to either go back to the UK, go to Palestine, join one of the labour Battalions in Australia and some were kept in the camps until 1944. Tibor Kaldor was in the latter category for example. Back to the research, those that went into the labour battalions, the 8th Employment company for example, were able to earn money and, according to one letter written by an internee, it was common practice for them to save up and buy items by mail order from Coles and or Myers.

As you have probably surmised, this post supersedes an earlier one in which I had mentioned that it was quite possible that SMs shoes were made at Tatura by one of the shoemaker internees. Whilst that is still a possibility, this discovery is, in my view, far more likely.

Does this mean that he bought by mail order? Not necessarily, he could have walked in and bought/ordered them in one of the Coles or Myers outlets in Melbourne. As you will read in an upcoming post, it is possible that when bought, SM was in fact in a remote location and from which it was practice to use mail order.

Another piece in the puzzle.

Gradually we are ticking the boxes. To date we have the shoes, the slippers and in an earlier post, we have the knife and scissors that show a marked similarity to tools used in Internment and POW camps in Australia during WW2.

We have also been able to show that many internees came ashore with nothing but the clothes on their backs and that clothing was donated by various charities.

What of the white laundry bag marked Kean? What of the American made jacket with feather stitching? The steel comb?


In the next post we will discuss those items and more plus there will be new information that will show the one place in Victoria where American and Australian servicemen and women would be found along with Dunera Boys/Internees.
We really seems like we are closing in on the identity of the Somerton Man. The next post will take us even closer.

Thursday, 13 October 2016



Following some good discussions with Clive and his discovery of unusual aspects to some of the writing in the various documents associated with Tibor Kaldor, we embarked on a thorough review of those items and the results were quite astounding.

I have taken a series of images of various signatures, date formats and block capital letters and have compared them firstly against each other and then, in the case of the Code page, I compared block capitals from one hand written form to the letters of the code.


    From Non-Communication form November 1940.  A very hurried signature, this was amongst the first forms signed by Tibor in Australia and is believed to be genuine.

From Registration Application January 1948, note date configuration 21/1/1948

From Last Note December 1948. This signature closely matches the Registration Application signature above, the letter, 'd' in this image seems a little stretched though and the flourish on the K has a gentler curve

Compare the signatures above to this next image, this was from the Registration cancellation form and acknowledging his British Naturalisation Certificate, dated 9th November 1948, just barely 1 month before he ended his life:

Note that whilst the letters T and K are similar to the above signatures,

The K is slightly more upright than the earlier signatures

The K does not meet with the letter 'a' in this image as it does in the earlier signatures

The letter 'l' is looped in this signature but not in the earlier signatures.

The letter 'd' is set differently to the earlier versions

The last 3 letters o, r and y are quite different in shape and spacing with the Y being stretched further to the right.

Note also the date and the odd angle of the number 8 in comparison to the January 1948 signature and the shape of the number '4' differs to other examples written by Tibor.

Note also that in this last signature the format does not include the full year of 1948 just the 48.


From Registration Application, note the full year inclusion as in 1940

Note the date format in this image of Tibor's last note, again he uses the full year description, 1948

This last image shows the odd angle of the 8 and the shortened year description, it is from the Registration cancellation form which has wha appears to be a forged signature


 This image is from the initial non communication form dated November 1940, notice the stylised T and the neat and very clear subsequent letters in 'Tibor'. It is not clear whether the prefix is short for 'Doctor'

The image below shows a cursively written Tibor which is entirely different in style to the genuine version above with the exception of the letter 'b' which is similar.. This is also from the November 11th 1948 Registration Cancellation form.


Once again, the comparison is between the January 1948 Registration cancellation form and the November 1948 Registration Application form content.

The first image is from the January form and shows a quite distinctive style for block capitals:

This next image shows a totally different style of capital letters:

It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the Registration Cancellation form dated November 11th 1948, was not completed by Tibor Kaldor but by another person who filled in the form and forged Tibor's signature.

There is a notable similarity between e block capitals shown in the above image and some letters from the Code page


The comparison between the letter A shows the shape similarity and the slight extension to the right.

The letter L, is of a similar angle

The D is very similar with a small extension to the bottom left of the code page version

The O whilst similar has a curled in point to the upper centre, more like the letter Q on the code page although not as pronounced.

The letter R is not that similar in that there is no outer curve. there is a reason for that related to the amount of microcode that needed to be within that letter. This would account for additional space which could be incorporated by using an outer curve.

The images below are of the actual forms from which the individual images in the post above were derived:

The image of the form below is believed to have been completed by another and the signature forged.

Clean Copy Registration Form




Tuesday, 11 October 2016



The post from 23rd September detailed the outcome of an acrostic decoding exercise on Tibor Kaldor's last letter. It brought up a name, a Jewish girls name, 'Danetta'.

What follows is the output from the decoder as it was presented:

And see observed
Left Leave Like Teaching Leave    
Incident be informed necessary
I and others
Kaldor yours trouble unpleasantness everything
Things inventory suitcase

I have considered this output for some time and have had a number of interesting thoughts sent in to me. Some were well considered and some less so. 

One particular idea was unusual, not that it was left field so much, more that it was based around the way that codes in early days and perhaps even now, were often double encoded so why wouldn't that be the case for Tibor's last note?

I took the output from the first pass of the decoder that was presented in that earlier post and submitted it to the acrostic decoder exactly as it appeared but formatted as a single sentence as follows:

'Danetta And see observed Left Leave Like Teaching Leave Incident be informed necessary I and others Kaldor yours trouble unpleasantness everything Things inventory suitcase'

Here's a screen grab from that exercise showing the results. I draw your attention to the last 7 results at the bottom left of this image:

The question, of course, is would this have been done deliberately by Tibor? Would he have written his last letter in such a way that it would decode in the way it apparently has and have to be double decoded to see the message?

It is almost a sentence:

It can be argued that the decode simply followed the rules of the algorithm that you would use to reveal an acrostic message and the result could be random.

But given that the letter was written by a man whose culture and religion made full use of acrostic codes and that we in the first instance, saw a Hebrew girl's name  in the first pass of the decoding exercise, then it is quite possible that what we see here is Tibor's last message.

That being so, who was Danetta?


Tibor Kaldor and the Code page. A link has been found. Next post.: Friday 14th October a.m. Australian Eastern.