Having given the anonymous “Ayuverdica”‘s claim the oxygen of (a small amount of) publicity here a few days ago, a number of things quickly came to light (indeed, possibly even in record time):-
(1) As Debra Fasano speedily pointed out in a comment to that page, the man being flagged was not “Thomas Torance Keane” (as listed in the index) but rather “Thomas Lawrence Keane”, born 20 June 1892 in Queensland: his older sister Ada married Frank Charles Toten. Notices of Keane’s death appeared in the newspaper on the 26th March 1949:
KEANE.—The Relatives & Friends of Mr. & Mrs. F. C. Toten, Mr. & Mrs. L. Fuller (Argents Hill), Miss Dorothy Toten, Mr. & Mrs. A Dixon, Mr. & Mrs. J. Lohfin, & Mr. E. Toten, are invited to attend the funeral of her beloved Brother, his Brother-in-law, & their Uncle, Thomas Lawrence Keane, of 110 Terrace St., New Farm, late 15th & 57th Bns., 1st A.I.F., to move from Alex. Gow’s Funeral Chapel, Petrie Bight, This (Saturday) Morning, at 11 o’clock, for the Crematorium, Mt. Thompson. Service 10.45 a.m.
ALEX. GOW, Funeral Director.
KEANE.—New Farm Sub-branch, R.S.S.A.I.L.A. —The Officers and Members are invited to attend the Funeral of their late Member, Mr. T. L. Keane, to move from Alex. Gow’s Funeral Chapel, as per family notice. A. L Beeston, Secretary.
(2) As Debra also helpfully pointed out, the claimed link between Thomas Lawrence Keane’s mother (Isabella Beaumont) and the Beaumont family related to Jestyn via her brother’s wife Peggy Beaumont fails to stand up to closer examination.
As a result of all this, it is hard not to conclude that our anonymous informant “Ayuverdica” had only indirect (archive-based) and incomplete knowledge of Thomas Lawrence Keane, as opposed to direct (family or friend) knowledge. As such, the notion that the various pieces might be connected broadly in the way he/she proposed now seems excessively hopeful or speculative at best.
All the same, such historical ghosts can – in the ever-suspicious world of Somerton Man researchers – be hard to pacify once summoned. And it is difficult to disagree with the point that if (and I acknowledge that this is a big ‘if’, of course) the Somerton Man was indeed “T. Keane” as the labels on some of his clothes seem to imply, then we would be foolish to rule this particular Thomas Lawrence Keane out without checking him out properly.
And so for the sake of completeness, I’ve just paid 19 AUD to the NAA to get Thomas Lawrence Keane’s WW2 records (“1939-1948″) examined, digitized and placed online. The website says that this will take up to “90 days”, but I’ll post a link to it here as soon as this happens. 😉
Finally, “RSSAILA” stands for the “Returned Sailor’s Soldier’s Airmen’s Imperial League”, which later became the “Returned Services League” (RSL): but even though the National Archives of Australia’s MS 6609 contains a rather scary-sounding 205 linear metres of RSL archives, there doesn’t yet seem to be any online finding aid within it, and it’s not at all clear to me whether district-level (rather than state-level) archives are included in there.
Hence I’ve also contacted the relevant district-level RSL branch to see if they have any historical records (newsletters, minutes, correspondence, etc) stretching back as far as 1948-1949, just in case there’s any mention of Thomas Lawrence Keane during that period. As always, it’s a bit of a long shot but we shall hopefully see what emerges there…