A quick update on Part One: I note in the Taman Shud Case Wikipedia page that:

Initially, the clothes were traced to a local sailor, Tom Keane. As Keane could not be located, some of his shipmates viewed the body at the morgue, and stated categorically that the corpse was not that of Keane, nor did the clothes belong to the missing sailor.

This does make me wonder if Tom Keane the sailor had given some older clothes away to a Mission to Seafarer’s branch. Did anyone ever try to follow up Tom Keane? An interesting thought…

Anyway, before I carry on discussing the Unknown Man’s life, death, and cipher, I need to post about the timeline for ‘Jestyn’, the unnamed nurse whose phone number was in the back of the 2nd Rubaiyat (i.e. not Alf Boxall’s copy) found thrown in a car in Glenelg’s Jetty Road, and from a page of which the words “Taman Shud” had been torn and put in one of the Unknown Man’s pockets.

The diagram below summarizes pretty much all the top-level details of the nurse’s timeline, but with one addition from me. Gerry Feltus quotes [p.111] Adelaide’s “The News” of 28th July 1949 as saying that the nurse had “told police that about three years ago she had given the man, Lieut. Alfred Boxall, a copy of Omar Khayyam’s ‘Rubaiyat’ when he was in hospital“. Except, of course, Boxall never was in hospital: they met at the Clifton Gardens Hotel (which was demolished in 1966, just in case you accidentally try to go looking for it).

Was this just lazy journalism [Gerry Feltus says “possibly”], or a slip of the tongue from the nurse? I suspect the latter, for this would tie together many elements very neatly: and will continue discussing this in Part Three…

More to come… 🙂

16 thoughts on “Nick’s thoughts on the Somerton Man, Part Two…

  1. All too sad.

    And I quite understand Jestyn not admitting she’d met a man at a pub.

    In those days. especially in Melbourne or Adelaide, one simply didn’t meet a man at a pub; one expected to be introduced by a mutual friend, or something of that sort.

  2. Diane: they were introduced by a mutual friend called Joy as I recall (though I can’t find the page in Gerry Feltus’ book where this is mentioned), so everything did pretty much run to form. 🙂

  3. Well, I’d say that one thing is quite sure; he wasn’t Australian.

    Gum-chewing was considered an exclusively American habit in the forties, and even into the sixties, positively loathed by most adults and by middle class teenagers too.

    I expect it was (and is) the same in England.

  4. So how about this? Mystery man is American, contracts maleria in the tropics and is sent to a hospital in Australia, as was usual. This first time, in Sydney. But then he gets orders to return to the front, prefers to go AWOL, gets caught and is put into an internment camp [perhaps already in Victoria; Melbourne Hospital was one of the internment camps. While there, he gets plenty of sun and exercise, but little really hard work. Fortunately, war ends. He’s finally tried for AWOL, but only sentenced to 12 months in prison (or gets sick again) so no sun for the final year.

    Now released, he asks to be accepted as a new migrant, claiming to be a sign writer. He’s accepted, and buys the tools of the trade intending to start a new life and find Jestyn. Suitcase and clothes were given from a refugee/charity organisation, as part of a routine de-mob and welcome to Aus. etc.
    BUT – While at Melbourne Hospital .. and so forth. Who says there were only 2 copies of the Rubaiyat?

  5. Diane: I like your gum-chewing malaria-contracting American mystery man very much… a Juicy Fruit-y theory to be proud of! 🙂

    There were millions of copies of the Rubaiyat printed, but only two connected to Jestyn.

  6. .. that’s what I meant. And who said she gave out only two?

  7. Diane: not me, but we only know of two. 🙂

  8. Tarquin Rees on November 20, 2011 at 12:27 pm said:

    Nick – I would question this millions of copies of the Rubaiyat. Of course it’s true in general but this particular copy – ie the Tamam Shud first edition of Whitcombe and Tombs, the 1859 Fitzgerald translation – is proving very elusive.

    I don’t recall seeing a version ever despite having connections in the book trade and searching for it and I think there was even a Facebook group that was created to search for a copy but with no success.

    I do not know whether it is important to the cypher but it may well be as the translation in this copy is a very different one than later revised versions.

  9. Tarquin: Gerry Feltus does cover this issue in reasonable depth in Appendix 5 of his book.

  10. Someone may have given SM a few cigarettes, which he put into a near empty package that originally contained a different brand. Why were there cigarettes on the beach with the corpse? One behind an ear and one partially smoked , if I remember the story.

  11. Knox: Moreover, why was the corpse deliberately posed in that way? Again, Gerry Feltus discusses the cigarettes in Appendix 9 of his book.

  12. Tarquin Rees on November 21, 2011 at 7:55 am said:

    Nick – I really want to get Feltus’ book but can’t seem to get hold of it…. don’t see any copies on Amazon or ABE.

  13. Tarquin: Gerry Feltus’ direct sales website is http://www.theunknownman.com/ – I’d happily sell his book internationally, it’s a great little cipher mystery case dossier, kind of D’Imperio for the Somerton Man. 🙂

  14. Lucas on March 23, 2016 at 9:54 am said:

    Great flow chart!

    Does the name ‘Margaret Alison Bean’ of Adelaide refresh anyone’s minds?

  15. bdid1dr on December 13, 2017 at 4:50 pm said:

    Actually, if our NSA had asked Valjean Joshevema and his “Code Talker” relatives to translate the contents of B-408, the NSA would have received a full translation of every item in B-408.


  16. john sanders on December 15, 2017 at 7:32 am said:

    Merely coincidental of course but while our Alf was preparing for his actual water duties near Clifton Gardens between late June and August ’45, the time he was apparently meeting with Jestyn, another English born, Army motor mechanic of the same name was also doing his best to hold up the Jap advance on Sydney. Born in 1908 and married to a King Island lass, he was a patient in 106 general hospital at Wodonga Vic. for three weeks in February 1945. He had, like our Alf, also joined up in Paddington NSW and whilst not getting further than the latter’s pre officer ranking of corporal, he was most likely also an equally qualified mechanic. We understand that Jess said that she had given at least one of her complimentary rubaiyat copies to a fellow in hospital so who can tell maybe she had been on the lookout for pommie revelations known to be in the AIF forces, named Alfred Boxall and just happened to luck out by finding two.

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