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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.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

SOMERTON MAN: INTRODUCING MR FRANCIS


THE NEWS, ADELAIDE, 4th. FEBRUARY 1949
 


Over the years, so much time and so much effort has been applied to the question of just who was Mr Francis?

So, when Clive was doing what he does best, he came across a certain Mr Francis and he is connected to the Somerton Man case. Here we have someone who, possibly, had the name that was later applied to the owner of the car in which the copy of the Rubaiyat was found.

This Mr Francis, full name Harold Clayton Francis, had a record, he served 9 months for indecent assault in 1944. Reading through the brief report it would seem that 'Clayton' is quite an appropriate name for the man.

The 'Francis' referred to in the case is a 'Ronald Francis' and it was not his car but that of his brother in law according to the Sydney Morning Herald, November 28th. 2012:

'Amazingly, on July 22, a Mr Ronald Francis recalled seeing a copy of The Rubaiyat in the glovebox of his brother-in-law's Hillman Minx. When Mr Francis called to inquire, his brother-in-law told him he had discovered the book lying in the back of his unlocked car. On November 30, the car had been parked in Moseley Street, the street above Somerton Beach.
The next day, Mr Francis took the book to the police. The torn-out page matched the book and, what's more, the book contained a code and a telephone number written in pencil. The case had just become even more complicated.'
This account is at odds with Gerry Feltus's account which attributes the ownership of the car to Mr. Ronald Francis and not his brother in law.

But, to the point, was Harold Francis's surname used in part as a pseudonym for the finder of the book or was there another connection? I understand that the clipping from the News has been talked of before but, as far as I am aware, no one has linked this Mr Francis to the finder of the book.

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