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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, 19 August 2017



Over the years there has been lots of reaction to the discovery I had made that showed the presence of micro written letters and numbers within the larger letters of the code page. It reached fever pitch when the same kind of code was found in the Verse 70 poem written by Jestyn and also within the torn piece.

Amongst the reactions, there was one case of a person who roundly denounced the findings and ridiculed the example of the letter Q which clearly showed the presence of code letters and numbers. This person went so far as to mock the very idea that spies communicated with each other using tiny handwriting. The result of that episode was that the claims made against the existence of micro-code were completely unfounded, you see this person had asked me how I had gone about finding the code which I duly did in sufficient detail for him to replicate the process and get the same result. Despite him inferring initially that he had followed the process and couldn't get the result, he later admitted that he hadn't followed it at all. Sad.

For the record tiny handwriting is proven to have been used extensively by intelligence agencies over centuries and more recently on this blog we showed it's use on the Hay Internment Camp bank notes.

As a matter of interest, Detective Brown in the case told Professor Abbott that Jestyn's phone number that was found on the code page, was written in tiny handwriting. Indeed, SOE had a technique known as INK H which described exactly how pencilled micro-code could be hidden within handwritten normal sized letters.

The same 'critic' of the earlier discoveries then loudly announced that he had found a new high-resolution scan of the code page that didn't show any sign of micro writing. Sadly and yet again, he was proven wrong as I have come to expect from our 'friend'. In this case, the new scan he had found wasn't a new scan, it was an image of the same code page and someone had gone to the trouble of injecting additional pixels into the file in the mistaken belief that it would improve the quality of the code page. Anyone with even basic knowledge of photo editing and digital imaging would know that you cannot improve the quality of an image by simply adding more pixels, the fine detail is lost and though the output may look 'smoother' it's because the edges of shapes within the image have effectively been 'smudged'. My verdict is that the effort was decidedly amateur and I had actually thought that the person responsible for this 'find' had more about them than to stoop to such inane practices.

Interestingly and as you might expect, much of the criticism came from those who do not believe that the Somerton Man case is an espionage case. On that particular point, I read a survey just last week on a public site that showed that 72% of people who visited that site believed it to be a Spy case.

Example from Louise de Bettignes
during WW1. Micro Code written
beneath a stamp.
Feint but clearly there, set of numbers in the
upright of the T in the torn piece, Tamam Shud

A string of numbers found in the blet section of the Fez Lady sketch beneath the Verse 70 written by Jestyn.

The Test

It strikes me as being obvious that the critics and naysayers are telling us that because they know what micro writing doesn't look like, then it stands to reason that by default, they must know what it does look like.

So here's their chance to prove their skill.

Below there are 4 images, more than one of them contains micro-written numbers and/or letters.Your challenge is to identify which are the ones that have it. 

Remember that this is micro written and the characters are all below .7mm in height, you won't suddenly see a set of crystal clear words and letters, these things were made to be difficult to find even if in most cases they were hidden in plain sight.




The answers will be published in 7 days time, it will be interesting to see how many got it right. I suspect some will dismiss it as it won't fit with their narrative :) Sad.

Last but not least, here's an image that has a secret written message, see if you can find it!

 The answer to this last challenge will also be published in 7 days time.

Saturday, 5 August 2017



 ‘The Coastwatchers saved Guadalcanal, and Guadalcanal saved the South Pacific.’ Admiral 'Bill' Halsey, US Navy.

Some days ago I managed to get in touch with this man, retired Sgt Jim Burrowes, Commando.

We had a phone call an exchange of emails and Jim kindly gave me permission to summarise our discussion and made materials available to me.

I explained to Jim the background to my enquiry and he was only too happy to share his knowledge of his time in New Britain, the work he did and the equipment he used. We covered a lot of ground in what was a relatively short time


Jim was 'recruited', for want of a better term, in January 1942 at the barracks in Albert Park at the age of 18.

'There were about 50 of us in my group and a burly Sergeant-Major commanded ‘Okay you lot, raise your hand if you work in an office or as a school teacher.’ He told those of us who raised our hands to ‘Stand over there!’ As I had worked in a Chartered Accountants’ office for the previous two years, I stuck up my hand. He then said to the others: ‘The rest of YOU ARE INFANTRY!’ Thus, my later destiny as a Coastwatcher was set.'

His first 6 weeks were spent training, he was stationed at Camp Pell interestingly enough, those followers of the blog will recall the role that Camp Pell played in the Tibor Kaldor posts. He was trained in the use of Morse code with that part of training taking place at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, RMIT. He managed to reach a very useful speed of 25 words a minute. If you learnt Morse code in your past you would understand that the speed he mentions was well above average.


Following a spell in both Melbourne and Brisbane both sending and receiving signals from Port Moresby and other locations to the North,  Jim volunteered for special service, that despite the army maxim, 'Never volunteer for anything!, was subsequently transferred to the Amphibious Landing Force of the US Navy's 7th Fleet, Jim is now the last surviving Australian member of that force.

Jim spent 10 months in the jungle overlooking Rabaul which had earlier been captured by the Japanese, the role of his group was not to fight but to avoid detection and to transmit much needed and valued intelligence reports on troop and particularly aircraft movements from Rabaul airfield.

Jim Burrowes, kneeling, the centre of the front row.

We spoke of the practicalities of the Rabaul operation, the details of how intelligence was gathered and then how it reached AIB HQ. 


Below is the set, type ATR-4A, which was in use by the M Special units at the time. A standard Morse code key s also shown.

There were two officers in Jim's group and it was generally they that took off into the bush surrounding the airfield and then made notes in pencil that described the aircraft types that were seen, if and when they took off and which direction they headed.

Naturally capturing details of the loading of bombers was of high importance. On most occasions, the information was returned to the camp and from then, Jim or another operator would encode the handwritten notes and then transmit the details using Morse code. 


They made use of two codes, one of which was Playfair and the other was a code he referred to as the 'Nave' code, that was the code created by Eric Nave. Most interestingly, they used a standard book, in this case, a Dickens novel, to help with the encoding for both codes used. to use Jim's words. 'We encoded and referred to the page line and word numbers from the book to create the finished messages.' He may have used the book as a rest when writing up the encoded message, he couldn't honestly remember that detail.

Jim believed that each group may have had their own books, it could have been a decision of the senior officer who may have chosen his own favourite novel. All that mattered was that the HQ people knew who was using which book. Jim had not heard of the Rubaiyat being used but it could have been.


The visit of the travelling dental technicians, Jim was sure these guys couldn't have been qualified. was both amusing and somewhat painful. Equipped with their pedal powered drills, they set about removing teeth only, not materials for fillings.

This, explained Jim, was the reason he came back from his tour minus all but two teeth. When asked about dental plates, he laughed and said they were given wooden pegs to act in the place of their now departed teeth. He hastened to add that as soon as he could he invested in a proper set of dentures.

We covered so much more in what was a fascinating discussion. Jim is a real gentleman of the old school, honourable, trustworthy and not a bad word was said about anyone except the enemy.

Jim went on to a long and highly successful career in the private sector as an accountant. Not quite a bookkeeper Pete Bowes :)

It was an absolute privilege to talk with Jim, now 94 years old and last of the M Special Unit heroes.

Jim with the help of his son has put a website together, filled with accurate historical information, it is a great read and I highly recommend it to you: 

General Douglas Macarthur, Supreme Commander, Allied Powers, South West Pacific wrote the following commendation for the Coastwatchers:
'The enormous contribution of the Australian Commonwealth to the Allied war effort contains no brighter segment than this comparatively unknown unit which naturally worked under the cloak of military secrecy during the war.… They are officially credited with having been a crucial and decisive factor in the allied victories of Guadalcanal and Tulagi, and later on in the operations of New Britain especially in the landing on and capture of the Cape Gloucester area.'

Friday, 4 August 2017



Amongst the contents of the suitcase that was recovered by Detective Sgt Leane on January 19th 1949, there were two shirts, one white and the other a yellow Pelaco shirt, well at least that's the way the story goes.

Pelaco was a brand that was manufactured in Mebourne originally although there was also a factory in Brisbane. Their range tended to focus on pyjamas and on shirts.

In the image above you can see that the buttons appear to be of the metal type and you can also see that the shoulder panel behind the label is comparatively deep,. The hand tends to obscure the general line  of the shirt at the collar such that it is not readily seen whether the flap that appears to the left of the image beneath the hand is part of the collar or possibly a shirt pocket flap.

Here's an ad from the late 40s for a normal Pelaco shirt with a similar fabric colour and dark buttons:

The collar looks to be somewhat different in style. and it has short sleeves.

The issue relates to the description of both shirts found in the suitcase and included in the Inquest document,  were both described as 'COAT SHIRTS'. 

My understanding is that a 'coat shirt' design means that the shirt doesn't have the traditional 'tail' but is square cut and it was made to be worn outside the trousers, this advert for Arrow shirts from the same era illustrates the difference quite well:

The 'coat' style is upper left in the image.

Why is this important? The shirt as shown is very much for casual wear, in fact sometimes they were worn with shorts and were at one time given the name 'SAFARI' shirts and suits:

Ex residents of Adelaide may recall the late Don Dunstan and his notorious photograph in a pink safari suit.

So, we have a shirt that is for casual wear and yet the rest of the contents point to very formal wear, the jacket, the shoes, the trousers are all formal. Should there have been a pair of casual trousers in the case? Is it possible that the two coat shirts were worn not over trousers but over swimming trunks which would leave the upper part of the body covered and therefore not tanned but the lower part would be?

For those interested, you can download a copy of the 1958 Inquest document here...

Thursday, 3 August 2017



Firstly thanks to the people who wrote in following the last post that showed a map of places of interest in Melbourne for Tibor Kaldor history, I have taken on your suggestion and above you will see another map but this time of Glenelg.

If you click on the icons, you will be able to read further information, some of the icons also have one or more images which you can click through.

Many of you will be familiar with the locations shown but there is a new location that could be of interest.

It is known that many business people were Freemasons and attended lodge meetings normally once a month. On this map you will find a location of 9 High Street Glenelg, the home of the Macdonnell lodge.

You will notice that it is a five-minute walk from Jetty Road which is where the Rubaiyat was found. If you click on each of the markers you will see more information and in some cases images.

There is a possibility that the person who found the copy of the Rubaiyat was a member of the lodge. and it will be explored.

I have also included the possible route from 90A Moseley Street to the beach where the man's body was found.

More will be added to this post in the coming days.