Researchers and commenters have been asking me lots of questions about the Somerton Man over the past few weeks, so I thought I’d round up a load of stray threads in a single post. Hence the following may be a bit bitty, but it is what it is, I hope it’s helpful!

1. Pakies

I asked Derek Abbott why he included the only-sporadically used Pakies guest book in his Somerton Man primary source material page. Was it simply the presence of the Nosovs and Hellmuth Hendon? His reply:-

[Hellmuth] Hendon is there who was linked to [Joseph Saul Haim] Marshall. Also Xavier Herbert is there who is linked to [Alf] Boxall. Also a Russian ballet troupe is there. […] Of course, there is zero hard evidence that [Jestyn] was connected to Marshall….but it seems plausible. […] The bottom line is [that] the Pakies guestbook could be useful for drawing up an interconnectivity map.

2. Jestyn Handwriting

Derek Abbott has closely compared the Jestyn handwriting and signature on Alf Boxall’s book with Jessie Thomson’s handwriting and signature and says “it is a definite match. No doubt about that.” He has also shown me a 1940s autograph book where Jessie Harkness copied (most of) a stanza from Omar Khayyam (“[…]Fill the cup that clears / today of past regrets and future fears / Tomorrow? Why tomorrow I may be / Myself with yesterday’s sev’n thousand years.“). It looks to be the same hand (though slightly more free-flowing than in Boxall’s copy).

3. The Jestyn “E”

I asked Derek Abbott about the “E”. He replied:-

You will notice the signature is in a fountain pen and the ink of the E is darker. This says to me that she was trying to write an ‘e’, but the ink splodged at bit, so she reworked it into an ‘E’ to make it clearer. […] And she does do her capital E’s in a way that would make it read JEstyn.

I also asked Gerry Feltus what he thought had happened with the “E”:-

I noticed the lighter writing on the name JEstyn just after I first saw it and I was going to refer to it in my book. I tried to find a suitable explanation and I thought maybe she had previously written the poem in the book and handed it to Alf. Alf then may have asked/suggested she sign it and it was done with a different pen. Maybe! It was too confusing so I left it out.

Was the “E” original? Yes, according to Derek Abbott:-

As for Boxall adding the E himself later, I don’t think so: 1. He didn’t know how she wrote her capital E’s and 2. The fountain pen ink matches (I’ve seen the original).

3. The Jestyn Drawing

I asked Gerry Feltus about the drawing at the front of Alf Boxall’s Rubaiyat: he was sure it was printed, not drawn. But I’ve looked at a few other Rubaiyat editions, and none seems to have anything quite like that. So, Gerry is sure it’s part of the book, but I’m still somewhat unsure quite what to make of it. Here’s the top part of it from near the end of the ABC documentary:-

ABC-Jestyn-drawing

4. The Jestyn Pronunciation

The 1978 ABC documentary voice-over pronounced “Jestyn” to rhyme with “Test In”, which is how John Ruffles (who heard Alf Boxall pronounce it, according to Derek Abbott), Gerry Feltus, and indeed online commenter “daughter of Jestyn” all say it was pronounced. Right now, my suspicion remains that Jessie – for whatever reason – may well have first introduced herself to Alf Boxall as “Jess Styn”, which he heard as a single word. Maybe that’s right, maybe it isn’t (don’t shoot me, that’s how hypotheses work): hopefully we will find out one way or the other before very long…

5. NAA

The Willen Styn WW1 document I mentioned the other day has now been scanned and posted to me by the NAA. It’s apparently quite small: we’ll have to wait for the mail pixies to wing it halfway around the world, see what it says…

6. Adam Yulch’s Laundry Mark Index

This wandering librarian blogger wondered (in 2011) whether someone had tried comparing the Somerton Man’s laundry tag to Adam Yulch’s index of 100,000 American laundry marks. Haven’t followed this up myself, but it might be interesting, thought you’d like to know. 🙂

7. Ronald Francis’ Copy In The Car

According to Gerry Feltus, “Ronald Francis” and his wife specifically requested that his real name not be published. He is a very elderly gentleman, and may even have passed away by now.

147 thoughts on “Somerton Man thread round-up…

  1. “Ronald Francis” passed away in 1991.

    One could spend days and days on Pakie’s guest book. There had to be some reason that it was added into the “primary resources” other than a “potential connectivity map”. Something more specific that actually connected?

    Can you shed some light on the “connection” between Xavier Herbert and Alf Boxall?

    I entertained the thought that Jessie had hand-drawn the pic of the girl with the fez and changed my mind looking the pattern on the shirt. The pattern on the shirt looks to be printed. Do we have any other images of drawings from the book?

  2. Well done Nick, but not an accredited handwriting expert amongst them, just men of various skills with their own opinions.
    Everyone loves this mystery just as it is.

  3. misca: according to Gerry Feltus, when he wrote his book in 2010 “Ronald Francis” was still alive, so I suspect you may have got the wrong guy, sorry. 🙁

  4. pete: true, but they both have actually seen the thing up close for themselves, which is more than just about anyone else can say. I don’t think either is trying to keep this a mystery, their noses are pushed up against the same evidential brick walls as ours.

  5. Handwriting: Lets have a look at what you’ve got Nick, lets have a look at what you’ve seen of the sample J’s writing that you think is the same hand but ‘slightly more free-flowing’ – which of course means that it’s not the same.
    You can’t have it both ways Nick.

    Then let’s ask DA for a look at what he’s got, the splodger-man.

    You’ll forgive me mate, but defending your positions only exposes your weaknesses.

  6. Misca, that is a good question re Xavier Herbert; I was wondering myself.

    Herbert does seem to have known an Alec Boxall. And an Alec/Alex Boxall of the 13th Small Ships Company is mentioned a few times in an issue of the newsletter of the Army Water Transport Association, NSW branch (_Log_Book_, No. 146, March 2013; available online).

    I think Alec must have been a misnomer/nickname for Alf, as only two Boxalls with Alexander as a given name served in the Australian military during (according to the Australian WW2Roll and National Archives websites). Neither of those Boxalls seem to have served with Water Transport/Small Ships.

  7. pete: I haven’t got clearance to publish it, sorry. By “slightly more free-flowing”, I meant “the same hand but slightly more free-flowing ink”.

  8. Furph: Boxall and Herbert, Nackeroos. the 2/1. Bill Stanner’s mob of horsemen and coast watchers. Mordecai the blacktracker, Timber Creek. History. Background.

  9. Celestine on January 25, 2014 at 2:41 pm said:

    I really don’t understand Feltus. Why is he so protective of all of these people? Is this a copper’s instinct? No wonder the case was never solved.

  10. Celestine: that’s a coincidence, he was saying the other day that he really doesn’t understand trolls. 😉

  11. Celestine on January 25, 2014 at 3:23 pm said:

    Old school gentleman type whose kind never solved Australia’s biggest mystery vs nasty troll who brings bright light into seedy corners in order to illuminate the truth. My lot win.

  12. Celestine: blimey, an introspective troll, there’s something you don’t see every day. 🙂

    Have you considered that by trampling on people who you perceive (correctly or incorrectly) to be standing between you and what you perceive (also correctly or incorrectly) as the truth in the short term, you could well be making it harder for researchers to get to the truth in the long run? Just asking.

  13. Hillman on January 25, 2014 at 9:48 pm said:

    The picture of the lady in the book that JEstyn gave Alf. Is Printed. If you purchase or have one of these books. You can clearly see that it is made by the publisher. “The Sha’ir of Omar Khayyam”.

  14. Furphy – I think pete answered this one for us. (Thanks pete!)

  15. Pingback: the handwriting(s) on the flyleaf of the rubaiyat | the somerton man. the tamam shud mystery

  16. Celestine on January 26, 2014 at 5:40 am said:

    Yes Nick, I have. And if the woman were alive I wouldn’t dream of impugning her reputation or forcing her underground. However, protecting the identity and memory of Jestyn seems more about the Adelaide old boys’ network than anything else, and that stinks. It is simply the case that anyone with information about her or the murder needs to cough up or be exposed. The Internet is a great leveller like that; there’s no hiding from it.

  17. T Anderson on January 26, 2014 at 9:50 am said:

    I’m not really sure what to make of the whole “Styn” thing. She was obviously willing to take on a name without legally changing it… The problem is, if she was willing to use the name then it wouldn’t be a secret right? People would remember something like that… Yet, we’re searching for a phantom

  18. Has anyone noticed that the house – 90 Moseley Street where Jessica lived – has a bus stop directly opposite. Also the Shandon apartments are right next door. A photo of the apparments appeared on Marshall’s website. One other thing that has always puzzled me is that their were two phone numbers on the back of the book – one for 90 Moseley Street an unlised number and the other for a bank. In all crimes is best to “follow the money”. Why does the investigation ignore this bank? Might explain why he didn’t have a wallet or any financial means on him – the code might have been an account number ? On the map of Jetty Rd. in 1948 there are quite a few banks. I could go on speculating but am hoping someone might find a photo of the page with the phone numbers on it.

  19. In the Somerton doco by Littlemore in part 3 on youtube at 5:06 – 5:08 the page with the verse with the written quote is shown. Two bits are missing from this that appear on the photograph of this same page that interested folk have been analysing. One is what looks like the number 70 that is written in what I believe to by a biro and the other is the JEstyn “sign off”. The JEstyn sign off is covered over at 7:35 in the same video – why? Littlemore mentions the name Jestyn anyway –

  20. In the Somerton Beach ABC documentary, Len Brown mentions a Chemist handed in the R.O.K. book after finding it in his car which was parked near the Pier hotel. From the Abbot Jetty Rd Map notice that there was two “Chemists” right there where is car was parked. 1) Pier Pharmacy proprietor LP Nunn at 14 Jetty Rd (Pier Hotel was number 2 Jetty rd) and 2) Freeman Chemist at 24a Jetty Rd.

  21. All from the Jetty Rd Map – 89 Jetty Rd was “Thompson KR”, 93 Jetty Rd was “Connolly & Sons Pastrycooks” (for a pasty?),
    Thompsons Library is at 63a Jetty Rd.

  22. There is a photo on Pete’s website of a the tools and t .keane tie on what looks to me like a leather bound book. There is a triangle on the book that looks like the same one found on other copies of the R.O.K. – the W&T publisher’s mark/symbol. Was it possible that the R.O.K copy was a leather bound copy?

    If you see the R.O.K. copy on Abbotts resources note the back page and you can see Tamam Shud through the paper – was there anything on the back of the piece torn out and found on the SM?

  23. Petebowes on January 27, 2014 at 8:35 am said:

    – by the way, when was the last time you saw a paint brush with no old paint on the handle?

  24. Furphy on January 27, 2014 at 6:43 pm said:

    Pete, thanks for the tip re Xavier. A “clean” brush could mean it had only been used to apply a thin, clear liquid, e.g. varnish, or maybe ….invisible ink, painted through a stencil for the sake of accuracy. If you don’t know what I mean by that, try using a quill for freehand invisible writing (with lemon juice or one of the other classic invisible inks).

  25. I think the reason there is no paint on the paint brush is because it was most likely not used for paint. If it was for stenciling onto wooden crates for freight purposes than powdered oxide would be a better choice for easy cleaning of stencil and brush. He was certainly not a sign writer with only one flat ended brush.

  26. Petebowes on January 28, 2014 at 3:22 am said:

    Jon R: I never noticed, and when I had a close look, like you did, and saw what you saw, and then realised the implications of it all – all I can say is thank you very much. That may be the only sign the brotherhood of conspirators ever left, and deliberately. The case is still open.

  27. Sorry if you have already been over this but can anyone confirm for me that the police traced over the code markings as they were only indents in the paper. Because if this is the case i really think the second to last line could read APAQ not AIAQ.

  28. What is believable about someone (who tears out a bit of a book and hides in a fob in their trousers) throwing said book into someone’s car?

    Nothing, in my opinion.

    Why? Why would someone throw said book INTO a car?

    A spy? If so, whose car it was is very important. Someone wanting to commit suicide. Same thing.

    It just doesn’t make sense.

    The book was found elsewhere.

    Did the police follow up on this? (Nope. That’s my guess.)

  29. If the piece of paper found in the (very secret) fob of an unknown (dead) man really matched with a book turned in several months later, how can a detective state that the person who found the book and where he found it is irrelevant?

    Really?

  30. @petebowes

    “by the way, when was the last time you saw a paint brush with no old paint on the handle?”

    When I looked into my father’s little workshop that he’s set up since he retired. The guy is absolutely meticulous about keeping his stuff clean and tidy and organized. Some people just are that way about their tools – especially if they depend on them to make a living and might not be able to afford to replace them easily.

  31. i clean my paint brushes better than i polish my shoes. The book could have been found in the curb and a passer by picked it up and assumed it belonged to the owner of the car. The real point is that the book is connected to the nurse via the phone number when her name was not released so i don’t think its just some1 handing in any copy of the book after police said they were looking for one.

  32. I cant understand how anyone could call this a suicide. Who comits suicide using a difficult and maybe expensive poison in a public place without planning it all before hand. No need to check in luggage and i certainly would not be having a pasty for my final meal even if i was to poor to pay the restaurant after eating the lobster.

  33. You would be doing well to conceal a note in a pocket of a man you just killed if you didnt know he had said pocket. SM has to have put that note in his own pocket. As far as i can imagine for one reason… if you are headed into a dangerous situation or being followed you might need atleast enough id on you that your own boss knows what happend to you. Did i read somewhere that the book had another complete page missing at the back. Does the killer tear out that page because something he needs is written on it and he ditches the book. Was sm going to deliver the page to jestyn and a tail kills him for it before he finds her. I dunno im just throwing some ideas out there. Forgive me if im talking shit here. If Australian/Britsh intell was involved information would certainly be witheld from the investigating police.

  34. Petebowes on January 28, 2014 at 9:38 am said:

    There’s a little something else that came up, over on toms

  35. I have to admit that I do find the secrecy surrounding “Francis” the talking bus conductor a bit hard to fathom; the privacy of key figures was important in 1948, but not two and a half generations later, when most of them are dead.

    I am also curious when and in what context Gerry Feltus said that “Francis” was still alive. Could he have mean “still alive when Feltus first became involved in the case”, rather than “alive when Feltus was writing his book”?

    Also, “Francis” is easy to identify. His real surname is relatively uncommon (which didn’t stop _The_Advertiser_ from misspelling it in its article on the _Rubaiyat_ turning up). He and his wife are mentioned in other, unrelated newspaper articles from around the same time in Trove, which even include photos of both. (“Francis” is described as a conductor in at least one one and the accompanying photo shows him wearing an appropriate uniform.)

    I also think Misca may be right about “Francis” dying in 1991 — unless there were two men by the same surname, same first name and same second name.

    Has anyone asked Gerry Feltus if and why the secrecy about “Francis” is still necessary?

  36. Asked him lately that is.

  37. bb: the tracings seem to me to have been done with a marker pen onto glass or onto a photo (not onto the original), so are no more than best guesses, yes. APAQ? Could be, sure – the “I” in “AIAQ” certainly seems further away from the “A” than the other “IA” in the same line.

  38. nick, look at a high res copy of that line and the i really does look like it has a shadow of the loop for the p. i have stared at it long enough to convince myself. 🙂 i also think the last G is a C because it lines up too well for the cross bar of the A. but the problem is that if its not actual writing but a tracing anything is possible.

  39. bb: I can see what you mean, but I think we’re right at the edge of what’s possible to see reliably from this image. Whatever happened to the original, the photo is still in existence, so it is possible that we may yet be able to get an even higher resolution scan of it at some point.

  40. Celestine:
    * What makes you so sure that it was murder?
    * What makes you so sure that it was murder and that it was Jestyn that did it?
    * What makes you so sure that any kind of Adelaide old boys’ network has anything to do with protecting anybody beyond that which they have themselves asked for?

    So let me get this right: your opinion is that it’s perfectly OK to act on all of the above presumptions with such a high degree of confidence that you can say what you like to anybody, post anything you like to any site, and impugn any dead person’s reputation with whatever exaggerations, distortions or outright untruths that suit your mood?

    Why is anonymity OK for you but not for anyone else you believe to be on the wrong side of some presumed line, even in the absence of any evidence whatsoever?

  41. Hillman on January 28, 2014 at 10:36 pm said:

    I totally agree with you there . Hypothesise to the moon and back Celestine. Because it won’t change the fact that JEstyn was/is a beautiful person , who was the best mother/grandmother . Selfless . Diplomatic and soulful lady. The only thing that you are doing by using your half baked theories in a public forum is making yourself look stupid and arrogant. Stick to the facts. Like the scat sticks your chin and you will be fine. 🙂

  42. B Deveson on January 29, 2014 at 3:09 am said:

    Nick,
    marker pens are very much post 1948 and marker pens gives a very characteristic line. The tracing/marking was done directly onto a photographic enlargement positive print. Ink or paint on an overlay of any sort gives a very characterisic halo effect. Of all the possible combinations the only one that looks like the cipher image is black ink with a fine paint brush.
    I will send some experiments that illustrate these points when I get back home.

  43. Francis did die in 1991. So who was still alive in 2010? The “brother-in-law” or “the children”? There are several stories going around as to who found the book…vs. who turned it in. Without names, of course. Maybe the children of the children? Well, yes. They would still be alive. And of course, let’s not forget…It’s irrelevant who found the book.

    I don’t mean to step on toes but again, really?

  44. Whoever SM was, I think he had T.Keane’s clothing. So, why did we abandon T.Keane so quickly? Maybe he knew SM? Isn’t that possible? If he didn’t, maybe SM picked up his clothes somewhere through charity. There is still a potential connection. Do we know how Thomas Lawrence died? He was relatively young and his funeral notice says nothing about cause. Is there any way to find out?

  45. There were two labels misca, one for Keane and another for Kean. Which one do you like?

  46. I’ll offer you a theory about Somerton Man that might explain why he had the clothes he did, why he had the tools he did, why his clothes had been mended with the thread in his suitcase – and why he had some items with another man’s name on them. What profession makes use of thread, scissors (especially sharpened scissors for fine work), a knife, cardboard, and pencils – and wouldn’t involve a man in getting calloused hands? Why the stencil brush and the screwdriver? Well, he might have used the brush for stenciling designs onto cardboard, but I think it more likely that he used it for removing lint. The screwdriver could have been used in repairing zippers.

    What if Somerton Man were a tailor/secondhand clothes dealer, possibly one of fairly recent vintage, bearing in mind his tanned face? That would explain why his clothes mostly have no labels – and why the only clothes that do were ones where removing the label would damage the clothing. It would explain the repairs to his own clothes using his own thread. Note that the thread itself was somewhat unusual – which again suggests someone with a degree of professional knowledge of the field of tailoring. It would explain how he came to have an American-made jacket (picked up in the course of his business activities). It would let us understand how he came to have relatively good quality clothing – which is harder to explain if you assume that he frequented thrift stores as a poor man. He could afford to pick out some of the good stuff for himself. If we assume that the Rubaiyat was his, it might even be that the writing in the back of the volume represents a note of things/jobs to do, perhaps referred to by the clients’ initials – and that’s why no-one has cracked the code, but why one of the recent attempts to analyze it thought that the letters represented the first letters of words. If those words were names (first name plus surname at a guess) , it would make perfect sense that no-one has matched them to a text or provided a coherent analysis of all of them. It might also explain why the guy wrote them down leaning on the back of a (pirated?) copy of the Rubaiyat, writing his list down on a paper thin enough to let some pencil lead through onto the book. (I’ll note that tailors use tracing paper.) One question that hasn’t been asked is why he didn’t use his eraser to clean up the “mistakes” he scored out. My guess is that he didn’t want to rip the tracing paper. It was just easier to cross out the mistake and go on. The Rubaiyat he was leaning on was the book he had with him for his journey out to Somerton, possibly linked to a romantic purpose that didn’t work out. He’s got another item for his to do list – Jestyn’s number – i.e. the purpose of his trip, to go and see the girl, which suggests that his other writing should fall into that category.

    Question: how does an obscure tailor/secondhand clothes merchant get Jestyn’s number after she moved? Best guess: he was and had been an ill man for a while. He got it from the nurses who knew her when he went back to the hospital where he had first encountered her. We know she kept in touch with her old friends – and we have seen this pattern of a man with romantic intent linked to her by the Rubaiyat elsewhere. Remember Alfred Boxall with his inscribed copy of the Rubiayat and his attempt to contact her? What did she say? That she was married. And why would you say that, if not to make clear to an old flame that he’d better not get his hopes up.

    What happened to the needle that our corpse was been carrying? That went along with its little protective case/sewing kit that presumably had some sort of identifying mark on it (name of his business, address maybe), as well as whatever forms of ID and cash he had with him.

    That’s my solution for the Somerton man’s profession and why he was carrying the things he did, plus what his “code” was and how he met Jestyn. It also explains why no-one has found him by going through lists of veterans and people who might be T or J Kean(e). He was never any of those things, just an obscure little man, who most likely had no-one who even noticed he was gone or would have ever imagined he would go to Somerton. Jestyn knew who he was, but she had some quite good reasons for not telling.

    Not quite as exciting as spying or Masonic conspiracies – but I think my solution puts the puzzle together rather more convincingly.

  47. Just a quick addendum: after further reflection, I think our corpse’s needle might have been tucked into his wallet and so vanished with his ID and whatever cash he had. I would guess that my hypothetical piece of tracing paper was folded up in the wallet as well, which is why it wasn’t found.

    My wife points out that if he had a sewing machine as part of his professional establishment, the screwdriver and stencil brush would have been useful for keeping it running/repairing it, as well as the uses I suggested for them above.

  48. One other minor point: it simply isn’t true to say that, as some people have, that because he had Juicy Fruit chewing gum in his possession the Somerton man must have been American. The Wrigley chewing gum company first came to Australia in 1912 and opened their first factory in Australia in 1915. Australians were obviously chewing the stuff long before poor old Somerton Man got his few remaining teeth on it. People tend to assume that chewing gum = American because ingredient shortages in WW II meant that you could only get the stuff from GIs. Wrigley’s, to name only one example, had established factories in Canada, Australia, the UK and New Zealand between 1910-1939.

    http://www.wrigley.com/aunz/brands/juicy-fruit.aspx
    http://www.chewinggumfacts.com/chewing-gum-history/chewing-gum-timeline/

  49. NickT: The difference between you and me mate is that I don’t take the piss out of another bloke’s effort. Putting this shit together isn’t easy, so well done that man. This makes two of us. But what about the Knights of Templar? That’s what you need to sell a book.

  50. Hillman on January 30, 2014 at 8:12 am said:

    I think that the Somerton man is JEstyns biological father.

  51. Hillman: could be, could be… but what elevates that from the level of a vague suspicion for you? What if someone else proposed that he was Jestyn’s husband’s secret brother? Or Alf Boxall’s secret brother?

  52. @pete “I don’t take the piss out of another bloke’s effort.”

    Funny, Pete, because that’s exactly what you seem to be doing every time you don’t answer a serious question on your site but just fire off a string of basic “qualifying” questions in your own oracular style. But never mind, I’ll help you out with the mysterious folder that’s got you going all Masonic on us. Why do you photograph your evidence on a nice dark leather folder?

    To get a good contrast with all those light-coloured items – which you arrange so you can see them all clearly, just in case someone recognizes Cousin Albert’s cherished brush and scissors.

    No conspiracy, just a photographer making sure all was nice and clear.

    Since you raise the dear old Templars, take a look at Eco’s Foucault’s Pendulum – and see what happens to people who tell themselves that “The Templars have something to do with everything.” You really, really don’t want to be the Ocker Jacopo Belbo. Trust me on this.

    Seriously, sometimes a laundry list is just a laundry list, not a record of when the international conspirators are going to meet.

    Speaking of lists and things to do – what would you write down before you went aroaming in a part of the world you weren’t familiar with?

    I’d suggest that we might just be looking at the guy’s itinerary and things to do before he left home (jobs that won’t wait, bills to be paid (end of the month is pretty much upon him).
    Note that our first couple of lines have the W and M a bit separate, which might be what you’d expect, if they had their common value as abbreviations for days of the week. The guy plans ahead, as you might well do if you were gallivanting off across the country and had to leave your own business to run itself for a few days.

    Wednesday – do XYZ
    Monday – crossed out because he remembers some more Wednesday stuff to do.

    Nothing big scheduled for Thursday through Sunday (and he’s probably closed at the weekend anyway). Maybe he crams all his heavy work into Wednesday so that he can get himself ready for the big trip.

    Monday – do XYZ (he starts this line off the same way as the line he crossed out, but modifies it, maybe because version 2 is easier to remember or he wants to be more precise).

    Tuesday – the big day. November the 30th was a Tuesday in 1948. Just a thought.

    Tuesday Train Meet Tina Somerton At Moseley St might be most of that last line. What does the CAB/GAB stand for. GAB – might just be “gab”. Things to talk about. “Cab” could just be how the guy plans to deal with the last short stretch of his journey. No reason why his little plan of action couldn’t mix abbreviations and whole words. Tina of course is the nickname that Jessica/Jestyn/InternationalWomanOfMystery went by with some, at least, of her friends. Tiny Tina, all 4’11” of her. (Get Kylie to play her in the movie and we might just have something…)

    Why has no-one identified the guy after a nationwide search, pictures in the papers etc etc?

    Because he wasn’t Australian. More precisely, he was a very recent Australian, probably British in origin, so he had no family in the country, didn’t have any close friends, probably hadn’t developed any regular customers who knew him well enough to care or notice his absence other than by the soon-to-be permanent “Closed until further notice” sign on his shop door . (That’s why he had his airmail envelopes in his case – but where was his address book/diary/bit of paper on which he kept the addresses he was writing to? Worth a thought as to why that might have vanished, along with his wallet and hat. I’m going to say that addresses of possible next of kin might have been of interest to the police, and his hat almost certainly had his name in it.) Could well be that a diary had his name and address inside the cover.

    You don’t have to be murdered for your existence to be horribly embarrassing to former sweethearts. You could just drop dead from say an aneurysm while you were paying them an unexpected, unwanted and very, very awkward visit and discovering that your romantic illusions had led you nicely up the garden path. Or you could do the sensible thing like good old Alf Boxall and write to them so they can tell you that they are married (a lie, but hey, who’s counting?) and you can live out your life and not be found dead on a beach in the middle of nowhere.

  53. NickT: errrm… it’s all very well firing every gun in your pistolero belt at the same time, but I can’t see that it helps you (or anyone else) separate fact from possibility from fiction re the Somerton Man. It’s a great story you tell – but I’ve heard hundreds of other people tell broadly similar Somerton Man stories (each with some key difference, naturally), and after a while they all kind of mush together into one single counterfactual soup.

    The hard part is trying to prove, support, or disprove any single assertion without reference to all the other assertions. That’s what I try to do on my site.

  54. From the 1949 inquest

    Deposition of Det. Leane

    P23/24

    “one singlet, bearing the name “Kean”. It is a possibility that the “e” on “Kean” might have been rubbed out.”

    “I interviewed Mr. Gray the headmaster of the School of Arts and Crafts….The brush is used for stencilling the brands cut out. Mr Cowan made a test on the brush, and found that it had been used. He could not find out what the substance was, but a BLACK substance came out of it.”

    “The Case is practically new.”

    “The thread is common thread.”

    “In the suitcase was found a needle & thread of similar texture.”

  55. Petebowes on January 30, 2014 at 9:43 am said:

    Jon R: No mention of needle in GF, is it likely he missed it?

  56. Just want to make this comment again as I can’t find anyone discussing it:

    “In all crimes it is best to “follow the money”. Why does the investigation ignore this bank phone number? Might explain why he didn’t have a wallet or any financial means on him – the code might have been an account number ? On the map of Jetty Rd. in 1948 there are quite a few banks. What was this phone number”

  57. B Deveson on January 30, 2014 at 9:47 am said:

    NickT,
    I don’t like to pour cold water on any decent effort, but I remember that the stitching in SM’s trouser pocket was described (in the 1978 notes I think) as fairly crude; I think the expression “masculine needlework” was used. I would have expected that the police would have got Hugh Pozza (the tailor who examined SM’s coat and told the police about the feather stitching) to look at the stitching in the trousers because it was the link between SM and the suitcase. Also, I can’t imaging any tailor using waxed linen thread to mend clothes, except in a dire emergency. It would give any professional the willies. Look at the photo of the Barbour thread. It is very coarse. The thread probably came with a Barbour jacket, purchased overseas because they were not sold in Australia at the time. It is also possible SM could have been a yachtie and the thread was for repairs to oilskin gear (but I don’t know if Barbour made oilskin gear at this time). Waxed linen thread is rot resistant, particularly in sea water, and is used for leather shoes, saddles, leather goods for outdoors use such as leather motorcycle seats, leather jackets, and Barbour style oilskin jackets etc. It was also used to repair fishing nets.
    I suspect that the clothing found on Somerton Beach (with a rifle stock) the day before SM’s death, is somehow involved in the SM case. The clothing was dumped from either a motor cycle stolen from Broken Hill, or from a car that was subsequently stolen by the thief (a 17 year old from Broken Hill). The barrel of the rifle was missing. SM’s suitcase was light on for socks, and four pair of socks (from memory) were found dumped on Somerton Beach by the thief.
    In the 1978 notes an explanation for the expensive cigarettes in the down market packet was given. It was said that this was a common ruse at the time (1948) to deter ciggy bludgers. Cigarettes were still in short supply in Australia in 1948. I take it that Army Club ciggies were pretty awful.

  58. Pete: Check out that Leane deposition from the ’49 inquest, heaps of detail there in just a few pages that helps narrow the possibilities.

    Feltus must have missed it as its in the deposition in black and white. So are heaps of other details that link the suitcase to the SM. Interestingly the thread wasn’t some special thread and the brush was a stencilling brush – complete with black substance. Seems to me the police were pretty convinced that there theory was supported by the evidence.

    The name bit does throw me though. There are a variety of reasons as to why he might have removed the name tags, Leane’s simple answer was that he suicided (from the ABC doco interview, he also mentions in the transcript to that doco that he found a hyperdermic needle near the seat – this isnt in the video but is clear as day in the transcript; he does look like he’s getting on a bit though so might be confused). He ripped out all the name tags according to Leane because he didn’t want anyone to know who he was. This is plausable as he didn’t have even the luggage reclaim ticket possiblly guessing no one would care so much as to be able to track down the railway luggage and find his empty case if he was unidentifiable. So may be he was simply called T. Keane (with the e having rubbed out) and suicided using digitalis (freely available at the chemist after which SM by coincidence tossed the book into the car parked outside the chemist’s shop which just happened to be the chemists car; the chemist knew who the guy was because he remembered selling him the poision not thinking at the time he was going to suicide? Wasn’t until he found out the Tamam Shud stuff was important and he found the book and then felt guilty did he go to the police.)

    One other small point of interest is the form of the T in the writing in the front of the Alf Boxal R.O.K. Does the T on the T Keane tie in the suitcase not look just like the T’s in the Boxal inscription? Wonder if she wrote his name on his tie so he didn’t lose it?

  59. Hillman on January 30, 2014 at 1:46 pm said:

    There was mention of a “needle” at the strathmore hotel. That had been seen by a member of the staff. In the same room that mrs Harvey the hotel receptionist thought a man fitting Somerton mans description had stayed.

  60. Petebowes on January 30, 2014 at 9:01 pm said:

    Jon R: The labels weren’t ripped out, the one label on his jacket had been ‘removed’ with enough care to leave no errant threads (Cleland)
    The brush may have been used to distribute powdered ink onto a stencil that had been cut out of cardboard and trimmed up with the knife and scissors.
    The wax thread may have been used to repair his wet weather gear, if he was indeed a cargo hand on a steamer, say, on the Cycle.
    The luggage reclaim ticket may have been with his missing wallet and ID, strange though that the other tickets were not.
    Digitalis, though available, may have required the buyer to sign a poisons book, at the pharmacist’s shop.

  61. B. Deveson, hi, I am not aware:what is the stuff youb say was found on the beach the day before?
    And thanks for the note about cigs & bludgers & packs… Any old school smoker knows the trick if you wanna avoid getting plundered!:-)

  62. Jon: also thx to you for noting this! Follow the money… Bank number…
    I too would like to see some light shed on this!

  63. Jon R: crimes of passion do not need money

  64. I think Pete’s talk of the leather bound folder in the photo is interesting.

    More than likely, that photo was taken by a police or coroners office photographer. It was EVIDENTIAL.

    Therefore I dont believe the folder was placed there for “contrast” etc

    Leaves these possibilities:

    – Inept procedural evidence photography
    – Not part of SMs belongings and placed amongst items for reasons unknown
    – Was part of SMs belongings but was left out of official inventory for reasons unknown (unlikely due to carelessness as it would have been the most exciting item)

    Unfortunately this looks to be another interesting loose end.

    Agree with questions raised by other posters:

    – Hypodermic needle Leane talks of? Possibly an old mans confusion.

    – What was the 2nd number in ROK and where are the photos of this page with Jestyns number also?

  65. If the guy showed up in Glenelg with all of his labels already removed…He most probably already had a plan (of some sort). I doubt he was buying Digitalis in Glenelg. I also highly doubt the “chemist – someone threw a book into my car” bs. It sounds like a Harelequin Romance to me. Who in the hay finds a book that must have been thrown into their car? I’ve never heard of such a thing. Ever. In the SM case, the folklore seems to have become fact but it makes no sense. Some have even suggested that someone “walking by” found the book and put it into the car closest – assuming that it belonged to the car owner. Laughable. I have followed many cases and I have never heard of someone throwing chite into someone’s car unless it was intentional.

    And with that, we go back to…why did the police not follow up on the person that found the book? Who was that person and was he/she/man/woman/child in any way connected to people who might have known SM – directly or indirectly?

    For all we know, the book could have been thrown into Prosper’s car and, given the particular sensitivities of the time, they (the police) chose to hold back that “tidbit” too.

  66. B Deveson on January 31, 2014 at 5:34 am said:

    Pete,
    Digitalis drugs were available only on prescription in Australia in 1948.

    The Argus (Melbourne) 1st November 1947 Page 2

    SPECIAL ADVERTISEMENTS. When Your Pharmacist Says–“No” You’ve no doubt heard about Digitalis, Streptomycin; and Sulfa drugs. They are accomplishing wonders every day in the treatment of disease. But like many other effective medicinal agents, these drugs may be unsafe when used without the advice of a physician. That’s why your pharmacist does not sell them to you unless you have a prescription. The ethics of his profession keep him constantly on guard for the protection of your health. Your State recognises this trustworthiness in licensing him as a registered pharmacist. One of your pharmacist’s chief responsibilities to the community is to have.available on his shelves the products of medical research. Remember, therefore, when he refuses to sell you certain drugs without a physician’s prescription, he is only doing his professional duty in protecting you against possible dangerous results to your health. PARKE, DAVIS & COMPANY, SYDNEY. One of a series of advertisements designed to help you know your pharmacist better.

  67. BD: Then there is a possibility that a Digitalis prescription for Prosper Thomson existed, given the health problems itemised on his war record .. and I don’t say this to implicate the man in any way, or JH, but just to suggest that the type of poison that killed SM may have been in their home, in their medicine cabinet.

  68. Hillman on January 31, 2014 at 11:13 am said:

    The Somerton man didn’t die in 1948. He lived a full life well into his 90s. He was a Russian defector. Staged death, relocated and later worked for Australian Intel.

  69. Nicky- “Not part of SMs belongings and placed amongst items for reasons unknown”

    That’s the one I like.

  70. B Deveson on January 31, 2014 at 1:23 pm said:

    Goose, the info regarding the clothing and rifle stock follows:

    The Advertiser Monday 29th November 1948 Page 6

    Mystery Somerton Find
    The discovery near the water’s edge at Somerton yesterday of a man’s three-piece suit, sports trousers, a shoe, several pairs of socks and an overcoat is being investigated by police. With the clothing was a rifle stock without a barrel. The articles appeared to have been in the water for some time.

    Barrier Miner 29th November 1948 page 1

    Hectic Week End For B. Hill Boy
    Adelaide. – During a hectic week-end a 17-year-old Broken Hill boy is alleged to have-stolen a motor cycle from Broken Hill on Friday night and ridden it to Adelaide, abandoned the cycle in the sandhills at Glenelg, dumped a suitcase containing clothing and a rifle at Somerton beach, and illegally used a motor car at Port Noarlunga.
    The lad told the police that he had dumped the clothes, which were found at Somerton yesterday.
    Police found the clothes and a rifle with the barrel missing, but the youth said he had left them
    in the suitcase.
    He said he walked to Port Noarlunga, where he was later arrested for allegedly having illegal use of a motor car. He appeared in the Juvenile Court today and was remanded until tomorrow week.

    I have a note that the car belonged to Maxwell John McCormack, and that he died in 1954 at Adelaide. I haven’t been able to discover who owned the motor cycle, or the name of the juvenile offender.

    The Advertiser 30th November 1948 page 6

    ADELAIDE-JUVENILE. BEFORE MR S. J. COOMBE. SM. Charge against youth. Stated by the prosecution to have run away from his home in NSW, a youth of 17 was charged yesterday with having, at Port Noarlunga, on Sunday unlawfully used a motor car belonging to Maxwell John McCormack, second-hand dealer, of Stanley street, North Adelaide. Prosecuting. APP Northwood said that, shortly after the disappearance of the car had been reported to the police, the youth was stopped while be was driving it along the South road. When questioned by traffic constables he admitted the offence. Defendant was remanded in custody until December 7th.

    Pete, yes, I agree that digitalis was not uncommon in 1948 and it would have been in many medicine chests. From memory, digitalis tables went missing from the home of Keith Mangnoson’s mother the day he went missing with his son.

    Nicky, somewhere it was stated that the second phone number was that of a bank in central Adelaide. The bank was named but I can’t remember the name.

  71. Adelaide News (Nov 29, 1948)

    Another little tidbit:

    “The lad told police he dumped the clothes which were found at Somerton yesterday. Police found only the clothes and rifle with barrel missing, but the youth said he had left them in a suitcase.”

  72. “The clothes that the deceased was wearing had the name tag torn off” Det Brown at 7.30 min on ABC doco 1970’s

    Torn off!

    Royal Sovereign pencils are English like Wedgewood.

    If you put the English/British indicators in one column and the American/Russian in another – I’m thinking English/British will outweigh 80 to 20.

    I’m English (Australian but born there and all my Ancestors are far as we can go back are English/Scotish). Most can tell “their own” . He looks like a Britisher to me too. Also the red hair is a genetic marker. Look up the predominance of the gene – it’s nordic and spread into Scotland/Ireland and the Islands around there from the Viking settlements. Also – it is a recessive gene. One red and one brown won’t make a red. But two browns with a recessive red gene will make a red, or even one with a recessive red can make a red.

    Just some more thoughts. Reckon he was a Scot.

  73. Could some one please explain – when they talk about name tags are they refering to to the makers name or the owners name – so confusing.

  74. JR: Owner’s name. The coroner found that the one (1) name tag in his jacket had been removed with enough care as to leave no errant threads, and apart from the Keane and Kean marked items in his case that’s about it.
    That’s how I read it. BD?
    – and you should take a walk around Rio De Janiero JR, there’s plenty of red-heads there who speak nothing but Portuguese

  75. Furphy on February 3, 2014 at 2:05 am said:

    Jon R, the makers’ tags were torn out. Someone wrote the name T (or J) Keane in some of the clothes — still quite common in workplaces or accommodation where large numbers of people have their laundry done for them at the same time.

    As far as the descriptions, photos and plaster cast of SM’s face go and the various portraits based on these), I think it’s clear that these can be used to put all kinds of constructions on his origins. That would even be the case if his skull or 3d images of it were available for a professional forensic reconstruction. I agree that SM would probably not look out of place in Australia. But I also think he would not have attracted a second glance in Canada, the Czech Republic, Norway, South Africa, and anywhere else in northern Europe (or tied to it historically by emigration). By the way, red hair has at least two different genes associated with(MC1R and HCL2), making its heritability complicated and unpredictable. (I can assure you that my own family is proof that rangas can be the offspring of two blonde parents, or two brunettes.) Scotland is merely one of the geographical “epicentres” of red hair; another is …… the Ural Mountains of Russia (especially members of the Udmurt and Komi minorities). And even those two “hot spots” (if redheads will excuse the expression) are relative — red hair occurs at reasonably high frequencies around the world, especially northern Europe.

  76. nick-

    “misca: according to Gerry Feltus, when he wrote his book in 2010 “Ronald Francis” was still alive, so I suspect you may have got the wrong guy, sorry.”

    Forgive my ignorance; did he write this in his book or did he tell you this? “Ronald Francis” is an alias of potentially two people (a guy and his brother-in-law”, a married couple – man and wife, a parent and a child)…So, certainly and particularly in the latter scenario, one could still be alive. Did Feltus claim to know first-hand who found the book or did he research it and re-state what he had read. It would make a big difference to know!

  77. So…Jestyn gave Alf (Alec) the book because she knew he was leaving…She either gave it to him (for him) because of something (possibly even benign) that they had shared or, she gave it to him, to give to someone else. Do we know where he was stationed after their encounter? If so, do we know any of the names of people who were also stationed there?

  78. Just wanted to add…

    I think it’s important to note that she didn’t personalize her inscription with his name.

  79. B Deveson on February 3, 2014 at 10:13 pm said:

    Tony! Tony! (apologies to Hedy Lamarr). Why is it assumed that the “T” in “T Keane” on one item of clothing must refer to Tom? Yes, there was a “Tom Keane” who was said to be “still employed” on the Cycle, and it was surmised that SM may have been a “T Reade” who had previously worked on the Cycle and might have acquired some of Tom Keane’s clothing. I presume that the police did trace T. Reade, and Tom Keane, but that inquiry along these lines petered out.
    In 1951 the police were looking for a Tony Keene.

    News (Adelaide) 30th November 1951 page 3
    BODY BEACH IDEAS ………. this week Adelaide CIB sent a report to WA police following up yet another clue……….. This week Det.-Sgt. R. L. Leane and Det. L. Brown asked Perth police to check on a man named Tony Keene, last heard of when living in St. George’s terrace, Perth. This name ties up with the name found on cloth ing among unclaimed luggage at Adelaide Railway Station, which may have been deposited by the victim a few days before his body was found.

    I note that the police were looking for a “Keene” rather than a Kean or a Keane. So it seems that the police must have received some solid information about a Tony Keene. From our point of view, a Tony Keene is far preferable to a Tom Keane because there would be (actually, there were. I have checked) far more T Kean(e)s born between 1898 and 1908 than there were Tony Keenes. Hop to it.

  80. thedude747 on February 4, 2014 at 12:35 am said:

    Has anyone considered the possibility that SMs demise was bought about by the use of recreational drugs? plenty of people were on benzadrine , coke and LSD had been around since 1943 and was popular amongst US service men.
    Jess was known as somewhat of a bohemian and the SM himself at least by his clothing could have been described as bit of a hep-cap. Could a night on the gas have turned bad for SM? guy OD s in your lounge room, nurse tries in vain to revive him, realises its to late , panick, get him ourt of here Georgie!! fast !!

  81. Very interesting info, thank you B Deveson!

  82. BD: Your link of a Tom Keane and the Cycle does not correspond with GF’s book. If you’ve taken your info from Abbott’s thesis then you have it wrong I’m afraid, just as he did. Does.

  83. Smerdon on February 4, 2014 at 8:56 am said:

    I found the book in glenelg. My father and mother knew the nurse lady.

  84. The second telephone number on the Code/Cipher was supposedly for a bank in Currie Street, Adelaide. If the police managed to trace Jessie from the other telephone number on the Code/Cipher, I don’t think they would have ignored the bank telephone number-strange how this bank number has not been given much, if any, history-I wonder what the police did find out at the bank?

  85. I’ve got two different answers – despite torn or taken out carefully – which one is it 1) makers or 2)owners name tag. The Pelaco yellow shirt shows the pelaco makers name clearly in the 1970’s doco.

    Why is not more made of this shirt?

    What about the bank account – i don’t think it can be dismissed by a crime of passion so easily – it seems very odd that they simply say one was a bank and the other one was Jessica Harkness?

    One other point – how the heck did the phone number end up on the book? It was an unlisted number that must have been registered well after JH left Sydney for Melbourne. So how did someone get that number? This throws the Boxall theories into disarray if we believe what he says. Why does she & prosper have an unlisted number?? How does it end up on the back of the R.O.K.??

  86. If he is a Britisher – it makes much more sense than a Russia, Brazilian or Czech. That was my point about genetic predominance of red hair and what the guy was actually wearing and carrying. It seems more like 90/10 in fact may be 95/5 he was british rather than a “Eastern European”. He may well of been Irish and hence the name Keane.

  87. Also, do you not think the ticketing officer at the railway station or the bus conductor would have remembered someone with a strange accent? Like a Russian? This guy blended in. He even ate a pasty!

    What were the hair clips for in the suitcase btw?

  88. Why is it assumed that a global request in English speaking countries would return any positive identification when Alf Boxall in Syndey didn’t give a cr@p and neither did the rest of the country; never mind the UK or US – further how would they ever be expected to search through paper records? It’s not like it was a digitised record bank or they had the net? Seems bizzare that this was sufficient to rule out a local connection.

  89. B Deveson on February 4, 2014 at 12:15 pm said:

    Pete,
    The West Australian 19th January 1949 page 25

    SOMERTON MYSTERY Detectives’ Lines Of Inquiry ADELAIDE, Jan. 18: Detectives investigating the Somerton body mystery believe that the dead man might have been employed as a station hand and that their next clue will come from another State when interstate police have checked on the name of “Keane” or “Kean.” Their reason for following this particular line of inquiry is that the knife, scissors and stencilling brush found in a suitcase recovered from the cloak room at the Adelaide railway station could have been used by a man employed in handling sheep. The dead man might also have been employed on the steamer Cycle, which is now at Port Adelaide. This was suggested today by a person who thought the dead man might have been a person known as T. Reade, once a member of the crew. A seaman known as T. Keane was still employed on the vessel and it is thought possible that Reade, if he were the dead man, might have obtained some of Keane’s clothing.

  90. Smerdon – Where did you find it? Do you have any thoughts as to who SM might be?

  91. B Deveson on February 5, 2014 at 4:11 am said:

    In the 1950 Glenelg Commonwealth electoral roll I note that Leslie Francis Wytkin’s occupation is given as “tractor driver” of 75 Partridge Street. His wife, Edith Jessie Wytkin was at the same address. So, a change of occupation? Perhaps dismissed from his previous job?
    In the same electoral roll Robert William Fox of 30 Ramsgate Street is listed as having no occupation. Yet he was a pharmacist and chiropodist in 1948. Had he been struck off? Perhaps he sold a pharmaceutical products without a covering prescription?

  92. Anybody ever tried to link the surnames of those who lived in Moseley street with the code on the back of the rubaiyat?

  93. Hi Clive – I agree it is strange re the bank details – your information is the first I have heard apart from there being two phone numbers on the book – what is the source of the Currie Street information?

  94. Pakie’s Guest List thrown in as “Primary Source Material” just doesn’t sit well with me and it makes no sense. Without an understanding of the connection to the case; it’s meaningless. Lots of left-wing/artistic people but why the connection to either Jestyn or SM? A very little bit of information would go a long way in moving this line of inquiry forward but for some reason, it hasn’t been forthcoming. Sadly, I do believe that there is a connection; but for some reason, it’s been called off.

    : (

    “Robin”‘s in this case are very few and far between. “McMahons” or “MacMahons” idem. So the combination of the two between Jestyn and Pakie is reason enough for pause.

  95. Clive – It’s a first for me too on the Currie Street information. Could you elaborate a bit?

  96. Misca: I would imagine that if you were to find the archive that holds all of the CIS photographs taken during that period, you would find people coming and going from Pakis from all over. Russian emigres, communists, CIS sparrows, nurses, Tass correspondents, radical students, known people, and people of interest.

  97. Hi Jon R/Misca, I read a newspaper article that one of the police detectives on this case had let slip that one of the telephone numbers related to a bank on Currie Street, Adelaide. Unfortunately, I can’t recall which newspaper but, I suspect it must have been “The Advertiser”. There are now no banks on Currie St, I believe that there were two or three local banks back in the 1940’s. It’s all frustrating as the bank branch may have held an important clue-perhaps Jessie/Prosper held accounts at the branch, or was the “SM” paying child maintenance into a particular account?

  98. Petebowes on February 6, 2014 at 11:00 am said:

    BD: If a Keane was on the Cycle, and the Cycle was one of the Small Ships Co., then a look at the ship’s platoon logs might unearth something. All Small Ships kept them, and what’s left of them are archived in Canberra, physically. Finding a research assistant who understands what you are talking about is the problem,

  99. Good Stuff Clive

    Quick search for news paper articles and I found on Currie Street:
    – 20 Currie Street the Savings Bank of SA of which its building was bought by the Commonwealth Bank in 1946
    – Bank of Victoria Ltd

  100. 24 June 1950

    SUITCASE CLUE ABANDONED

    Police are certain that the finding of a suitcase in a city hotel bedroom on Wednesday night is not connected with the Somerton body mystery. A man reported yesterday that J. Carlin, whose name was found on papers in the case, could not possibly be the man whose body was found at Somerton on December 1, 1948. He had known Carlin at Katherine (NT) and his de- scription did not fit that of the Somerton body. A piece of paper bearing the words ‘Tamam Shud” from the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam was found in a trouser pocket of the Somerton body. In the suitcase were pieces of paper on which were written verses from the Rubaiyat.

  101. Despite extensive police en- quiries throughout all English speaking countries, the man’s identity is still unknown. Allan Roy Walters, who took over the managership of the John Bull Hotel, Currie street, city, on Weflnesday, told police yesterday that a former em- ploye had banded him a suit- case which had been in his bedroom. “Omar Khayyam” The employe told Mr. Wal- ters that the suitcase belonged to a man who had stayed at the hotel In 1945. The case con- tained letters, writing papers and ration cards. Papers in the case bore the name of J. Carlin. Abinga, via Marree, Central Australian Railways.

  102. Furphy on February 7, 2014 at 1:52 am said:

    It has always struck me as interesting about this case that no-one _now_ seems to know whether or not some obvious, significant questions and leads were followed up in the early years of the case.

    The mysterious bank branch is typical of that. Why was so much weight attached to Jessie’s phone number and not that of the bank? Perhaps the staff denied all knowledge of SM. But one thing bank are good at is record-keeping. What about former employees? Did anyone trawl the bank’s files for account holders who were, say, men born between 1890 and 1915? How about accounts that had suddenly gone quiet, with substantial funds left sitting in them? Or familiar surnames (Keane, Reade, Walsh, Thompsen, etc)?

  103. This may seem highly unlikely but, on the 4th line of the Code/Cipher are the letters AIAQ representing numbers? With the X in front I’m wondering if AIAQ means=3239 which was Jessie/Prospers’ number and the small C means “call”? Just a thought!

  104. Furphy:

    Couldn’t have said it better – why can’t we get access to any police files left? Surely they might have thrown out the hard evidence but the documents remain, especially if we have digitised versions of the inquiries. Feltus has most of it I suspect – but only copies so the police still have their stuff too – it’s still an open case.

  105. Prosper McTaggart Thomson (26), salesman, who on Tuesday admitted hav ing obtained a motor car valued at £45 and £25 in cash by false pretence on May 26 at Victoria Park, was bound overFix this text in his own bond of £15 to be of good be haviour for six months by Mr. H. D. Moseley, P.M. Thomson, it was stated on his previous appearance in Court had disposed of a car, which he was buying by hire-pur chase, producing a falsified certificate of title to make it appear that the car was his property.

  106. ADELAIDE LOCAL
    BEFORE JUDGE HASLAM: —
    Claim Over Car Transaction.— Judgment was reserved yesterday in a case in which Daphne Page, mar- ried, of South terrace, Adelaide, sued
    Prosper McTaggart Thomson, hire car proprietor, of Moseley street, Glenelg. for £400, alleged to have been a loan by her to him which he had not re- paid. It was alleged by Mrs. Page that the loan had been made on or about November 27 last year so that Thom- son could purchase a new car and then go to Melbourne to sell another car. Thomson denied that he had ever borrowed money from Mrs. Page. He alleged that she had asked £900 for a car, the pegged price of which was £442, and had later agreed to accept £850 for it. After the transaction he had given her a cheque for £450. on account. Mrs. Page had made out a receipt for £442. When she had pressed him, later, for the re- maining £400 of the sale, he had told her that, acting upon advice, he did not Intend to pay her more than he had. She had then told him that she would summons him andFix this text make out tbat the money at issue was a loan. Mr. R. P. Mitchell for plaintiff: Mr. R. H. Ward far defendant.

  107. that previous article was 23 July 1948

  108. 1 June 1938

    CERTIFICATE FALSIFIED. Accused Man’s Remorse. “When arrested he was in a fearful state of remorse. He wished to take his own life,” said Mr. F. Curran, pleading for a young man who had admitted a charge of false pretences in the Perth Police Court yesterday. Detective Rich ardson had told the Court that the police believed that the offence had been com mitted at the instigation of another man, but they had not evidence enough to convict him. The accused, Prosper McTaggart Thom son (26), salesman, admitted that by falsely pretending to Oliver Strang that a motor car was his property, he had obtained £25 and a car valued at £45, at Victoria Park on May 26. Mr. H. D. Moseley, PM., was on the bench and In spector Houston prosecuted. Detective Richardson said that the ac cused had come from the Eastern States. In July, 1937, he had bought a car in Melbourne and hat received with it a certificate of title from the traffic authori ties Later he sold this car and obtained another car by hire-purchase. After reaching this State he had got into finan clal difficulties and had tried to sell the second car. To do so he had altered the certificate of title he had received with the first car so that it apparently re lated to the second. If the accused were released on a bond, he would return to the Eastern States. said Mr. Curran. The police had no objection. The accused was ordered to stand down until today.Fix this text

  109. 22 July 1948

    —-the court’s might have records of his phone number

    ADELAIDE LOCALFix this text
    BEFORE JUDGE HASLAM:—
    Alleged Loan.—The hearing was further adjourned until today of a case in which Daphne Page, married, of South terrace, Adelaide, sued Pros-
    per McTaggart Thomson, hire car proprietor, of Moseley street, Glen- elg, for £400, alleged to have been a loan by her to him which be had not repaid
    Page alleged that the loan had been made on or about November 27 last year so that he could purchase a new car and then go to Melbourne to sell another car. Thomson said that in answer to an advertisement Page had ap- proached him on October 39 with a car to sell. She wanted £900 for it. On November 11 she accepted £850 as the price for the car and said that the RAA had told her that the pegged price was £442. ” He drew a cheque for £450 and gave it to Page, who told him she had made out a receipt for £442, the pegged price. Early in Decem- ber he went to Melbourne to sell a car for another man. On his return to Adelaide be found many messages from Page requesting that he would telephone her. He did not do so, but about a week later met her and told her that he could not pay her the £400 “black market balance” on the car because he had had a cheque re- turned from a bank. Page had said she wanted the money urgently, as she had bought a business. Witness “put her off.” Later, just before a summons was delivered to him, Page had telephoned and asked when he intended to pay the £400. She had spoken affably, but when he told her that he had had advice that he was not required to pay more than the pegged price of the car and did not intend to do so, she had said she would summons him and “make out that the money was a loan.” She had said that she would bring forward “all her family as witnesses.” He hung up the tele- phone receiver. He had never bor- rowed money from Page. Thomson was cross-examined at l’ength by Miss R. F. Mitchell, for Page.

  110. 27 October 1948

    BEFORE MR. L. E. CLARKE, SM:—Fix this text Drivers Charged.—Carrying pas sengers for hire in the city on August 26. while not being licensed by the City Council, cost Prosper McTaggart Thomson, of Moseley street. Glenelg. £2, with £1 19/ costs.

  111. 16 july 1951

    On July 16, at Adelaide, stolen a £600 utility from John Law- rence Lane, and obtained a £400 cheque from Prosper McTaggert Thomson by falsely pretending that the vehicle was his father’s and he was authorised to sell it. The Police Prosecutor, Inspec- tor T. O’SulIivan prosecuted.Fix this text

  112. 27 July 1951

    Reserving his defence. Douglas Ian Stokes, 34. shearer, of Glynde road. Peckham, was committed for trial on charges of having— On July 16, at Adelaide, stolen a £600 utility from John Law- rence Lane, and obtained a £400 cheque from Prosper McTaggert Thomson by falsely pretending that the vehicle was his father’s and he was authorised to sell it. The Police Prosecutor, Inspec- tor T. O’SulIivan prosecuted. Bail was allowed Stokes.

  113. 18 May 1946 – Queenie Thomson

    PLANE CRASH ENQUIRY
    Mishap On New Service
    The investigation by Civil Aviation Department officers into the crash of the Ansett Airways Ltd’s twin-engined
    Lockheed airliner, near Vir- ginia on Thursday night, was be- gun at Parafield yesterday. The department’s chief inspector of air accidents (Mr. J. Harper) will arrive from Melbourne today to open the official enquiry. The plane, which was carrying 10 passengers and a crew of two. was on the first return flight of the new direct service between Adelaide and Melbourne, which the company opened that morning. The manager of Ansett Airways { Ltd. (Mr. J. P. Ryland) arrived by plane from Melbourne yesterday.
    He inspected the wrecked plane, which has been placed under police guard. The condition of the pilot, Capt. D. Ditchburn, 38, married, of East Kew Victoria, who suffered a cut forehead and shock, was reported yesterday as being satisfactory. He is in the Salisbury Hospital. Passengers said yesterday that they had to wait about two hours before help arrived. They collected a quantity of paper from the in- side of the plane and lit a fire as a guide to the search party. Mrs. Queenie Elizabeth Thomson, of Hampton, Victoria, had to be carried across the muddy paddock by two fellow passengers, because of an injury to her right leg. She was unable to walk yesterday and was confined to her bed in a city hotel. She had obtained accommodation at the hotel because the pilot of the plane, who had booked the only room vacant, was admitted to hos- pital. “Waiting For Crash” Mrs. Thomson said yesterday that just before the crash she had felt pains in her ears as if the plane was descending very fast. “I was waiting for the crash, fully convinced that no one would get out alive,” she said. She said that the co-pilot, Alex- ander McNaughton, had told her after the crash that he heard some one say the plane was on fire. He could not get out so he smashed the window with his case. She was told by an airways official just before leaving Mel- bourne that she had been lucky to obtain a seat on the plane. Lt T A. Ivey and his wife said that the safety belts saved the lives of the passengers. “I can’t understand why we were all so lucky,” Mrs. Ivey said. “This was my first plane trip, but they won’t get me up again.” Michelle Cau, 13, another pas- senger, spent yesterday in bed re- covering from the effects of the crash. She escaped with con- tusions to the head and a bruised thigh. She attends a MelbourneFix this text school and is spending the school vacation with her mother, Mrs. C. Cau, of South Esplanade, Glenelg.
    Mr. A. McNaughton, who was the co-pilot of the airliner which -crashed on landing near Virginia

  114. 7 June 1978 —- why the connection to Ballet – photo of Jessica in ballet pose on 60 mins doco, Robin Thomson in the Australian ballet, this (probably nothing but worth pondering), somerton man with funny wedged ballet feet and strong legs for ballet etc. (“real wedge shape” in reference to torso)

    VICTORIA JESTYN PREPARES
    Victoria Jestyn, daughter of The Canberra Times ballet critic Hilary Trotter, prepares for her part as a peasant in the Australian Ballet’s production of ‘Swan Lake’ whichFix this text
    opens at the Canberra Theatre tonight.

  115. The dude on February 7, 2014 at 4:07 pm said:

    See all that stuff Prosper was up to in the used car game , black market deals Hhe borrowed money from Daphne Page to buy 1 car and go to Melbourne to sell another car”
    Falls in with the black market scam at the time of buying a new car and stealing an identical model. You then alter the number plate and the car get driven to Melbourne with the driver carrying the ownership papers from the origonal car with the clean title. I call it the “Thomson twins ” scam. Look it up on trove , was all over the place because you could register cars in Melbourne and Sydney without a physical inspection at the time. Pre computer days this scam was a gem and majorly lucrative.. New cars cost double then what they do now and one deal as described could earn a guy a years salary.
    SM had all the tools to do the job and ( tools to hotwire and brush to change the licence plate to spirit the car back accross the border) and the number of a local car dealer with form as described in Jon Rs posts.

  116. The dude on February 7, 2014 at 4:12 pm said:

    The spy stories are great guys but the fact is they are just a theory and without the “code” they are baseless. That scribble could have been in there for any number of reasons and may not have even been done by the books final owner.

  117. Smerdon on February 7, 2014 at 9:19 pm said:

    We’ll I’m sure the police would have followed that lead about cars before they dreamt up any spy theories.

  118. For your consideration: The Somerton man could well have been an undercover FBI agent. Who can solve the hand generated cipher?

  119. The Code – Has anyone tried to decipher it from right to left?

  120. The dude on February 8, 2014 at 5:00 am said:

    Are you saying that the cops on this case wouldn’t be stupid enough to miss something this obvious Smerdon???
    Seriously have you looked at the botch up job that was made of this investigation FROM DAY ONE??? They never even interviewed Prosper, didn’t take dental records and the list goes on. They burn the suitcase , they LOOSE the book!!!!!

    Sorry mate youll have to do better than that. The reason we still don’t know who this guy is is a direct result of the completely inept SA police circa 1949 and beyond mate.

  121. Furphy on February 8, 2014 at 3:51 pm said:

    The dude: have the full police files ever been released? I suspect that we have we been spared the 99% of any John Doe investigation that is dull and monotonous. Still, it would be handy to know which leads were followed and eliminated – and which were not.

    Also, stating the obvious is a nasty habit of mine, but even if Prosper T was involved in a stolen car ring, it doesn’t necessarily mean that: (1) SM was, or (2) that SM was not involved in espionage –crimes and spies have a lot in common after all, and no doubt cross paths often, without even trying.

    It has been argued elsewhere in this forum that it makes no sense for SM or his assailant/s to leave an incriminating/revealing item lying around. It does if the enemy is around the corner, closing fast and the only other option is being caught with it in your hand.

  122. SOMERTON BODY MYSTERY Police find ex-officer A former army lieutenant, sought in connec- tion with the book clue in the Somerton body mystery, was located by Sydney police, in a Sydney suburb
    today. Three and half years ago, an Adelaide woman gave the lieu- tenant a copy of the “‘Rubai- yat of Omar Khayyam,” similar to the one from which the Somerton victim tore the last words, “Tamam Shud,” meaning “The End.” It is not yet known what has become of the book he was given. Police today obtained further
    evidence to substantiate the belief that they hold the actual book from which the words were torn. Following an appeal in “The News” yesterday for a similar copy of the “Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam” to that found in the back of a car at Gleneig last November, several people came forward with the book. A comparison of the type used in the printed words “Tamam Shud” was found to be identical with those on the back of the paper found in the victim’s clothing. Yesterday police traced a telephone number pencilled on the cover to the Adelaide woman who gave a similar copy of the book to the Army lieutenant. Efforts to decipher several rows of block letters, believed to be a code, on the back of the book are continuing. A Navy “code cracker”, is tackling the task this after- noon. Indication of the public in- terest in the mystery was shown last night and again today, by 60 phone callers, who have offered copies of the book. Most of them were different editions from the one required. Det.-Sgt. Leane today re- newed an appeal to dry-clean- ing experts throughout Austra- lia to make a search of their records for the following en- tries: 1171/7; 4393/3/ 3053/1. Thie numbers were found in clothing in an unclaimed suit-Fix this text case at the, Adelaide Railway Station luggage office, and may be linked with the victim.

  123. I’ve got some questions on the following article that might help:

    1. Re Boxall’s copy “The book was
    completely intact and undamaged. There was no writing in any of the pages.” WTF? so when did the Jestyn verse 70 thing get written into the book??

    2. “On Tuesday police traced a telephone number pencilled on that book’s cover.” I am sure I’ve seen a photo of the actual lost ROK of its front cover – anyone find the pencilled phone number?

    3. From Derreck Abbotts timeline “1945 August, Jestyn gives Alf Boxall an inscribed copy of the Rubaiyat over drinks at the Clifton Gardens Hotel, Sydney. ” Yet Mrs. Boxall say in this article “Mrs. Boxall said her husband gave her the book at Christmas, 1944, and she had had it ever since.” “Boxall said he had given the book to his wife in June, 1945.” WTF again.

    Thursday 28 July 1949

    Mystery may be unsolved

    The Somerton body case is becoming more involved than ever.

    A high police official said to day that if the body were not identified soon, the mystery would probably remain un solved.

    Three and a half years ago an Adelaide woman gave a former Army lieutenant a copy of the “Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam” similar to the one . from which the Somerton vic time tore the last words “Tamam Shud,” meaning “The End.” Sydney detectives yesterday interviewed the lieutenant, Alfred Boxall, at his employ ment at Randwick bus depot. The copy of the “Rubaiyat” given to him by the Adelaide woman was shown to the police. Boxall said he had given the book to his wife in June, 1945. Boxall’s wife yesterday showed a Sydney newspaper re porter her husband’s copy of the “Rubaiyat.”

    The book was completely intact and un damaged. There was no writing in any of the pages. Mrs. Boxall said her husband gave her the book at Christmas, 1944, and she had had it ever since. A copy of the “Rubaiyat” found in the back seat of a car at Glenelg last November had a piece torn from the last page. The texture and color of the paper in that book is con sidered by police to be identi cal to the clipping of the words “Tamam Shud” found on the body. Police believe they hold the actual book from which the words were torn. On Tuesday police traced a telephone number pencilled on that book’s cover. Detective-Sgt. Leane is lead ing investigations to decipher several rows of block letters, be lidved to be a code on the back of the book.

  124. Smerdon on February 8, 2014 at 11:42 pm said:

    Correct John R. There was two books in the boxalls company 🙂

  125. B Deveson on February 9, 2014 at 12:21 am said:

    It was stated by the SA policeman reinvestigating the SM case in 2001 that all of the files had been lost. I suspect these files might have been in the Special Branch collection, and all of these files (28,000 from memory) were destroyed in the late 1970s by the Dunstan government.
    The policeman asked for anyone with any information to contact him, and I sent him details of the three files I had found in the National Archives. Unfortunately I did not look at the files when I had the chance. I suspect the files were SA police files, and were returned to the SA police. The letter to the newspaper (?The Australian) occurred soon after the article on the SM case by Janet Fife-Yeomans.
    Also, in the Fife-Yeoman’s article or in the discussion generated by the article, the spy angle was discussed, and it was mentioned that SM had eastern European dental work.

  126. The dude on February 9, 2014 at 12:59 am said:

    Fuphy people are so invested in the spy theory that it is stated as an irrefutable fact. But…. the spy angle is only a theory as is the car ring. Neither could be true but the fact is the car thief theory has a lot more going for it to my mind. It explains the tool kit, it stands to reason that he would be travelling incognito, it explains the absence of any return ticket as he appears to have arrived by train and there is potential motive.
    All the spy theorys got is a “possible” code that may or may not have even been written by the SM.

  127. Unfortunately, none of the people/entities who may have been linked to the SM man were ever properly investigated. “Jestyn” , her husband “George”, the man/woman/child/brother-in-law who found the book, the bank (whose number was also listed on the back of the book)…

    From what I’ve managed to discern, Detective Sgt. Leane didn’t even come onto the case until AFTER the book had been found. He was not part of the interview process when the book was found.

    Sounds like a big bungled up investigation to me…

    70 odd years later and still no information released from this open case?

    Why?

  128. Friday 30 November 1951 – Tony Keene

    BODY BEACH IDEAS

    Amateur detectives throughout Australia are continuing to forward weird theories on the identity of the body found three years ago tomorrow on Somerton beach. However, this week Adelaide CIB sent a report to WA police following up yet another clue. Time has failed to dampen the enthusiasm of members of the public in their efforts to decode mystery writing found on a copy of “The Rubiayat of Omar Khayam.” A scrap of paper bear- ing the words “Taman shud” (meaning “the end”), believed to have been torn from the book containing the code, was found in the victim’s clothing. This week Det.-Sgt. R. L. Leane and Det. L. Brown asked Perth police to check on a man named Tony Keene, last heard of when living in St. George’s terrace, Perth. This name ties up with the name found on clothing among unclaimed luggage at Adelaide Railway Station, which may have been deposited by the victim a few days before his body was found.

  129. This is a great article

    – Jessica’s number for Moseley st. was written in pencil on the FRONT of the ROK
    – The code was written in pencil on the BACK of the ROK (no secret lemon juice trick used just faint)

    So, the code was in pencil. It was faint. The number was in pencil and it was not faint – no need for ultraviolet, in fact they read it, called Jessica and had the Sydney CIB speak with boxal within 2 days (per articles above). So the code was written much earlier and perhaps is just not relevant. The phone number was much fresher and readable without UVL.

    – Last year (1948) a man called enquiring about the Nurse

    – How did Boxall know her address in Melbourne and why the feck would he write to her?

    – Jessica claims she gave the ROK to Boxall 3.5 years ago, making it Dec/Jan 1945/6. This is consistent with Boxall claiming to give to wife in June 1945, but inconsistent with wife claiming to have received from Boxall in Xmas 1944.

    Were there more than one ROKs – i.e. the one given by Boxall to his wife was not the one Jessica gave boxall (also had no writing in it, which was written in much later and the Jestyn sign-off was fudged in by boxall to cover up). The boxall copy ended up with SM with Jessica’s phone number on it – perhaps to help SM track her down.

    Tuesday 26 July 1949

    Body Mystery Deepens Phone number found on cover of book

    The Somerton body mystery deepened today with the. discovery of an Adelaide woman’s telephone number on the cover of a book linked with the case.

    A fragment found in the victim’s clothing, is believed to have come from the book “The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam.” Police, have discovered also that the woman gave a similar copy of the book to an Army lieutenant in Sydney about three and a half years ago, and that the lieutenant later tried to contact her in Melbourne, when she wrote back saying she was now married. Police have also discovered that the Somerton body was found within a quarter of a mile of the woman’s home. Today, police in Melbourne and Sydney are checking on missing people to see if the Army lieutenant is among them. Det.-Sgt. R. L. Leane yesterday obtained the opinion of an authority that the piece of paper bearing the words “Tamam Shud” was of the same texture and color as that of the book handed to police on Saturday The book had been thrown into the back seat of a motor car in Jetty road, Glenelg, shortly before the victim’s body was found on the beach at Somerton on December 1.

    Woman’s story

    All efforts yesterday to obtain a similar copy of the book from city book shops failed. If police could obtain a similar copy, they would be able to check on the print used in the words “Tamam Shud.” The woman whose telephone number appears in pencil on the cover of the book told police that when she was nursing at North Shore hospital in Sydney about three and a half years ago, she gave a similar copy to a lieutenant who served In the Water Transport section of the Army. Later, she said, the lieutenant wrote to her mother’s home in Melbourne. She replied to his letter, telling him she was married. Subsequently, the woman told police, she and her husband settled in Adelaide. Last year a man called at the house of a neighbor, inquiring for a nurse he once knew.

    This afternoon the woman is being shown the plaster cast of the Somerton victim, which is in a storeroom at Adelaide Museum. Acting on the possibility that the “Rubalyat” in their possession did belong to the lieutenant, police set out to decipher a number of block letters pencilled on the back of the book. Although the lettering was faint, police managed to read it by using ultra-violet light. In the belief that the lettering might be a code, a copy has been sent to decoding experts at Army Headquarters. Melbourne.
    PIOLICE are looking for any one who has an exact copy of this book “The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam.” It was pub lished in New Zealand by Whitcombe and Toombs.

  130. BOXALL or NURSE IS LYING – Watch the ABC documentary interview again and compare to this article and the ones above.

    – He didn’t get the ROK from Jessica at the pub. He got it when he was in hospital. This makes much more sense than a story about a pub meeting.

    – why would she think it identical without the para 70 inscription if she had written it for boxall?

    – she is an ex-Army nurse and gave it to Boxall in hospital (so he was injured – where is this on boxall’s army record? And where is Jessica’s army record?)

    – once again boxall says he gave it to is wife in june of ’45

    Boxall is definitely lying. What was he doing down the pub when he was supposed to be in hospital??

    A MYSTERY STILL Somerton Beach Case Clue Disappoints

    Thursday 28 July 1949

    SYDNEY, July 27: The latest clue in the “tamam shud” mystery at Somerton Beach (S.A.) broke down in Sydney today. Sydney detectives, at the request of Adelaide police, traced and interviewed a former army lieutenant whose body, it had been believed, may have been that of the man found on Somerton Beach last December.

    Information given by a former army nurse, now married and living in Adelaide, led the police to believe that the unidentified body may have been that of the lieutenant, who was formerly attached to the A.I.F. water transport unit. The ex-nurse told the police that about three years ago she had given the man, Lieut. Alfred Boxall, a copy of Omar Khay- yam’s “Rubaiyat” when he was in hospital.

    She thought that the book might have been identical with one found in a car at Glenelg (S.A.). After inquiries in the city and suburbs today, detectives traced Boxall to his home in Maroubra, a Sydney beach suburb. He was not there when the police called and they then went to Randwick bus depot, where he is employed on the maintenance staff. Boxall told the police that he had been employed at the bus depot for ten years, except during the period of his army service. “I am very much alive,” Boxall said tonight. He showed the police the copy of Omar Khay- yam’s work which had been given to him by the army nurse. Boxall said that he had given the book to his wife in June, 1945, and it had been in her possession ever since.

  131. Hi Dude, The police involvement in this case raises more questions than ever. The seemingly lack of follow ups with Jessie/Prosper after finding Alf Boxall alive & well, believing Jessie’s story that she was married, how long would it have taken to find out she was lying and why was she lying? No request in the local papers for passengers on that bus trip to come forward, why show Jessie a plaster cast after embalming-when photos taken day after his death were available? Were any of the suitcase items checked for fingerprints? The more you read about the SA police investigation or, lack of it can only point to, in my believe, to intervention by Canberra-anybody else think the same?

  132. Furphy on February 9, 2014 at 5:20 pm said:

    Clive: I have to think that CIS/ASIO and/or military intelligence knew something, even if they weren’t directly involved. And perhaps a petition to Senator George Brandis for release of the files would be more productive than the one to the SA govt for exhumation has been.

  133. On the spy angle, removing labels is trade craft. It can be noted that torn pieces of paper were used by
    Russian spies as a positive identification when meeting someone that is unknown to them. Passwords can be compromised but if your torn piece of paper matches with the person you are with it is a high probability you have it correct. Why would you dispose of a body in plain sight if not to send a message.

  134. “Rose-In-Hand” – a message perhaps…A name?

  135. Persian and Hebrew script both go right to left. Why no discussion on this possibility?

  136. o no. and good luck pete. lol positioning.

  137. xplor: two messages: the body, and ‘Tamam Shud’

  138. misca: I can see the end

  139. Was the occupier of the flat at Bath St, Glenelg ever questioned as to the man who knocked at the door asking about Jessie? Surely, it was a golden opportunity for the police to have got some kind of idea what the man looked like, clothes any bag, accent etc. Another seemingly dead end not chased up by the police and the question remains why?

  140. Pete:The Somerton man is tied to the venona project when we could read messages sent by Soviet Union intelligence agencies in Canberra. There was a need to put names and faces to the code names.
    The Somerton man never saw the book. It was held by his contact that panicked when they saw the murder. The body has been dug up twice so far. It is possible it is nothing more than a box of rocks now. Some things get declassified and others may never see the light of day.

  141. CELESTINE on February 11, 2014 at 11:40 pm said:

    The body hasn’t ever been dug up at all. If you have evidence to the contrary, who furnished you with it and for what purposes do they claim the body was exhumed?

  142. You raise a good point. How can we know today if he on top or the bottom or there at all ?
    As the Hon Dr Bob Such mp said “there is no guarantee that someone is going to rest in peace.”

  143. Kbnz on March 4, 2014 at 6:54 am said:

    I’m interested in the point made by Jon about the Ballet dancer “Victoria Jestyn”.

    Was that a stage name (perhaps of Jessica’s) or her real name?
    or
    Was Jessica a fan of hers and used her name?

    Has anyone looked at ballet troups that were in town at the time to see if the UM was part of one of them?

    Unrelated, I like the idea that the UM never saw the book.

    Also the idea of him perhaps being Scottish or Irish. On the note of red hair and genes, my hair is red but both my parents have dark hair. BUT, their parents are descended from Ireland and Scotland and moved out to Australia and NZ in the 1800s.

  144. The dude on March 5, 2014 at 4:50 am said:

    Sorry Kbnz Victoria Jestyn was born in 1938 making her around 5 years old at the time Jessica signs Alf ROK.
    Although an interesting coincidence is that Victoria Jestyn left the Australian ballet and started a ballet school in Canberra as did Robins second wife Dell so no doubt Robin was familiar with Victoria Jestyn at some point in time!! Amazing

  145. John sanders on December 25, 2016 at 5:10 am said:

    A little cheer and a little piece of good news I think. It seems that everybody was a little right and a little wrong about foxy Gerry’s Mr. Francis, the chemist. BD came close without knowing it and the ever alert Misca would run a close second with her constant probing. Its quite simple really R.W. Fox and L.F. Wytkin were in fact brothers-in-law and I’m sure that had everyone just gone on a little further with their trap searches and taken the hint in the manner that Gerry presented it, the answer was right there. So here we go: Leslie’s wife at the time Jessie Middleton, (whose father & grandfather both died tragically in separate accidents) was the daughter of Alfred Middleton & Lucy S. Fox who may have been divorced by 1930. She had 3 sisters and 2 brothers, one of whom was of course Robert William Fox the chiropodist and in my view that makes Bob & Les cock revelations or bros. In-laws. If I’m correct and in my humble assessment I’m almost sure that I am then everyone can jump in and put the rest of the jig saw pieces together so that we can start ’17 on a high. I think it will also enable Nick & Pete to get back on reasonable terms (we wouldn’t want for more) as this appears to have been the conundrum that set them off in the first instance. Merry Christmas all and try to be kind to your friends and foes for a little while at least. js

  146. John sanders on December 25, 2016 at 9:39 am said:

    One wary pace backwards if I might (before the trifle trips me up) : There doesn’t seem to be any problems with Mrs. Wytkin’s mum being Lucy Fox and her dad being Alfred, however Bob Fox the chiropractor gives his father up as Alfred Fox, opposed to Middleton which the bride gave for her maiden name and which is the surname given for her father when he died in 1930. We know that the bride of 1929? had two brothers but their names were not mentioned in my searches and apart from the death of a child, the divorce hearing in ’51 and her own death in the ’90s, she remained out of the headlines, unlike her two timing husband Les. I can’t be sure but it seems that Bob Fox was nine years older than his sister being born in 1919 which puts him at about the right age for Gerry Feltus. Do I feel a degree of doubt creeping into my cocky assertions of this morning, yes but what the heck its still Xmas and luck is with the daring.

  147. John sanders on December 25, 2016 at 2:08 pm said:

    Doing a spot of back checking with my limited tools, I was somewhat heartened to learn that the S in Lucy S Fox is an old Persian name Salman which basically translates to peace and goodwill which is how we all should feel today. As for the Fox part well that speaks for itself and of course the Jewish spelling of Fuchs (no K in this one) means much the same ie. sly and cunning or crafty. I was actually looking for a conversion to Solomonson but sadly no luck, but it does seem that the Salman Fox folk go way back and also have any number of numerals tacked on which suggests the potential for Virginia or even South Carolina blue blood coursing through their veins (DA). Delete as applicable js.

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